My biggest lesson from 2017 is that I MATTER. From my thoughts, to my feelings, to my career, to my love life, to my friendships, to my family…I MATTER. That’s definitely not say that nobody else does, but merely that it okay to be selfish about my needs before fulfilling the needs of others. I have a voice and I matter. If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I’ve often struggled with feeling like I was enough or that I was heard. It’s crazy to me that every time that I realize that I’m feeling inadequate, I am reminded of a conversation I had literally 20 years ago with my sons dad. I was venting to him about not being heard by my mom and how I felt like I could do nothing or say anything right. That no matter what I did to express myself I always felt like it was the wrong thing to say, so I would just shut down and stop talking. He told me that I often do that with him. That I sit quietly staring into space and when he asks “What”s wrong?”, I always say “Nothing”, even though my facial expression changes dramatically when I’m bottling my thoughts. All I could do was sit in silence, and cry, because I knew he was telling the truth. And then he said it…“You’re a coward. Use your voice and say what the fuck you feel and stop being a coward!”
I can admit, the 16 year old in my almost hung up on him, but it registered. And after focusing less on being called a coward, I focused more on the definition: a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things. He had me there. While I love a good argument, I am oddly uncomfortable with doing unpleasant things…like speaking my mind. Why is it that speaking my mind has become unpleasant? For lack of a better reason, it’s simply being misunderstood, or having your words be taken out of context. I hate when I make a statement, and then someone asks me to explain. *insert rolling of the eyes* I can’t imagine the situations that I could have avoided if I simply spoken up instead of being concerned with how it would be interpreted. And not every opinion has to turn into an argument, but I guess I was always afraid that it would go left at a time when I didn’t want to be countered with “Explain“.
So as my mother would say in her condescending I told you so voice: “What did you learn?” – I learned that I matter and that I refuse to allow another year of my life pass me by being a coward to myself. To some this whole coward thing could be taken lightly because while there is a lot that I don’t say, when I do speak up I’m very direct, blunt and straight forward. Which in turn comes off as abrasive or mistaken as mean. But I can’t be afraid to speak up anymore, regardless of how anyone else feels about it. I have to live in my own truth in order to move forward the right way. Sorry not sorry…because I MATTER.