I'm a great believer of the silver lining, that all will be well, that we create our lives, acceptance, making lemonade out of lemons, embracing challenges, being grateful, looking at the bright side, laughing at mishaps, going with the flow, appreciating what I have that so many don't have......
Somewhere along the journey, this desire to flow with life and to be grateful became ensnarled with something sinister. Something that twisted its way around my soul.
Accepting what I cannot change, became accepting the status quo. Somehow, in my desire to not be ungrateful for my privildeged Western life, to be thankful I wasn't abused as a child, to appreciate all my opportunities and freedoms, perhaps even with influences from a predominantly Christian culture that tells me I should be Thankful and Grateful.... somehow I accepted less and less and less.
Even me. Yes. Strong me, occassionally formidable me, life-embracing me.
And every time I accepted less for myself, I became less. My soul seemed to shrink. The less I allowed for myself, the less I, subconsciously, valued myself. And it became a viscious circle. Accept less, become less. Become less, accept less.
I allowed myself to become a garden plant. One that required a gardener to water and feed it. I had been a wind walker, a cheeky breeze, a shiver of storm. I soothed brows and stirred up excitement. Now I wilted.
I have strived my entire life for one thing - authenticity. An authentic life, however that was translated. And yet, I have been drowning in inauthenticity, although I have also been clawing my way out. But clawing is not flying.
My current keen thoughtfulness on this has sensed others' stories. I see so many who have settled, in various areas of life, for so much less. For safety, because they don't believe they deserve more, they don't believe there is more, they have forgotten how to give themselves more.....
There is an undercurrent of..... I don't know.... not happiness. Yes, not unhappiness exactly, although there are moments of that, but mostly really just, not happiness.
But there is worse than this. I have seen those who have discarded their own plant pot and reached for the moon be ridiculed.
Who does she think she is?
His expectations are too high!
You just have to settle in this life.
You can't just have everything you want!
But you're wasting your talents!
You have to make the best of things.
This is fear. Fear that we may have to admit that we have settled ourselves. Fear that in doing so we are forced face-to-face with our own Not Happiness.... and may have to do something about it. Or simply, fear that the facade cracks and instead of a numb existence, or stoic denial, we will shed tears, scream, tremble, make waves. Fear of admitting a mistake, fear of change. So many scents of fear.
And although I see it in both men and women, women seem to excel at accepting less. It is a great violence in our societies that even strong, confident, intelligent women fall into this trap.
Jenell mentioned in a recent comment how settling is different to compromise. The former passive, the latter active. Oh yes indeed. One is an embittering resignation, the other is a peaceful acceptance.
We allow others to water us. Our brilliance becomes a reflection of someone else's needs, or wishes for us.
So we bob up and down in the same spot in the middle of the stagnant lake. Because it's safe. Or because we have forgotten that we are strong and natural swimmers, and that we can move elsewhere.
I swam out from the middle.
I'm about knee-deep in a gushing river, feeling the soil between my toes giving way.
I'm raising my long hair to the winds, like a sail, feeling the force unsteady me, raise me.
It's frightening, it's anything but safe. But I'm feeling my soul re-awaken.