Children are completely genuine. They live entirely by feeling, experiencing each second as something new and precious. There’s nothing calculated or controlled, nothing born out of expectation or fear. Anxieties and insecurities haven’t infected them yet; those are parasites we pick up along the way to adulthood, passed along as we touch the dead dreams and aspirations of those who came before us.
I have always been sensitive to the world around me. My empathy was never dulled by experience, I simply grew better at hiding it. Unfortunately, this also means I collected fears and worries, plucking them from other people as I learned what was acceptable, what was not. We all want to be talented, capable, beautiful, loved, and we pursue those adjectives with dogged determination, comparing ourselves to everyone else vying for the title. We all want to measure up.
But it’s a draining hunt for validation, and we lose the emotional energy it takes to be any one of those things. Worse yet, we lose sight of what and who we really are.
I have not spoken my truth. My adult life has been defined by ideals, standards I’ve set for myself, models posed by other people. In the last few weeks, I’ve been forced to confront the fact that I’ve been horribly dishonest with myself. There are a lot of things I am not, and will never be, and have tried so hard for so long to become.
I am not quiet, I am not complacent. I am not insincere, I am not calculated.
But there are a lot of things I am and have not embraced. There are so many things inherent in our natures that we push aside as we’re told they’re not conducive to the adult world. We live according to the fears and failings of those before us. And it exhausts me.
I am sensitive. I feel everything. I cry for people I’ve never met and animals I haven’t seen because they don’t understand the cruelty they face. My throat gets tight when I meet elderly couples who have lived their lives side by side, and I tear up reading about couples in love. I believe there’s a reason in everything but still lament the hard lessons learned. With every move I make, I feel the magnetic pull of the universe around me, the hum and buzz of frenetic energy, the overwhelming collective emotion and experience that unites us. I believe in magic, the push and pull of energy that shapes our fates, brings us closer, drives us apart.
I see beauty in dark places. I understand the awesome attraction of the sublime, the terrifying nature of ecstasy. I know that life is a cycle, that history repeats if we do not learn the lessons it offers. I see few absolutes in the world, and opposites are rarely incompatible.
I rarely carry an umbrella because I believe we’re meant to feel the rain. I’m not a good dancer but I can’t help being moved by music, physically and emotionally. I want to dance in the street and laugh until my lungs can’t take it and kiss the words from another person’s mouth and lose myself in the words it takes to appreciate a moment. I relish the freedom of interstate driving at night and the spontaneity of 24-hour diners. I think the strongest communications take place without names, that we connect at a soul level without a need to identify. I believe we are given only what we can handle, but feel that we manifest much of our lives according to our fears and desires.
I do not want to continue to manifest fear. I will not be ruled by anxiety and panic. I am learning that I am enough, that everything I need is all ready inside of me, and that can be shared but never stolen. Energy is infectious, and I want to transmit strength and optimism.
We are born with infinite potential, the ability to bend and shape ourselves into anything we want. We have wings to spread and soar, or shade and shelter–but we also clip those feathers, condemn ourselves to a flightless existence. But the thing with feathers is they can grow back. We’ve merely cut them, trimmed them into uselessness, decoration. They still exist under our skin, ready to pin through out pores, to grow back full and fantastic. With each budding plume, we regrow potential. As we leave them to unfurl, we reclaim some of the power we relinquished when we were told it wasn’t ours to have. But we are not owned by anyone, and we were born to break free. I’m beginning to allow my feathers to grow back, resisting the urge to pluck them out as they pin, trying to ignore the pain as they burst through the skin. Pain is a necessary part of growth, and I’m learning that it’s okay to reach out to others when it feels unbearable: chances are, they’ve experienced it too. But the remarkable part of the budding feathers we grow is that other’s see them. Others are inspired by our struggles and triumphs and begin to grow their feathers, too. Once, we were rare birds, nearly extinct, completely transformed by expectations–but now the world sees more and more of us. We flock, drawn towards the power and freedom of others. Do not be afraid to let yourself plume. Grow your feathers, spread your wings, and make the world colourful with your splendour. Rest assured, I’ll be doing the same thing right here.