I was raised by the Jealous Queen. My very survival meant hiding my light because if she felt threatened or jealous, the punishment for my creativity and joy was the poison apple.
Now it’s that time of the year when we make lists of self improvement projects for the next twelve months, but this year instead of setting one of those goals, 3-5 times a week of something hard designed to make me more lovable, I’m pedaling backwards into my shadow, bringing the child who longed to shine into the light.
This year I commit to loving my friends and family full tilt boogie. No holding back. I’m yours. I love you. Time is short. Life is precious.
I commit to saying what I mean instead of hiding behind humor or irony.
I commit to honoring my ancestors and carrying a piece of their grief for them. With them. I want to honor all that was lost, remembering the ones whose names I never knew.
I want to make peace with the signs of aging. I want to show my daughter that shining is an inside job.
I want to flat out know what my gifts are and learn to accept compliments with grace. If you aren’t sure what your gifts are, imagine what your best friends would say they loved about you at your funeral.
I want to risk expressing my creativity without comparing myself to other writers, dancers, piano players. I want to risk being vulnerable, to have needs and desires, hurts and losses.
I commit to love, willing to have my heart broken, to hold dear this world that is in flames, to show up and say, count me in. Sometimes silly and sometimes wrong but sometimes very right, I want to be willing to be seen for who I am, imperfect, funny, loyal. A writer, a rescuer of birds with broken wings, a dancer no longer young, the piano player who sometimes misses a note, the me unlike any other, imperfect but willing, imperfect but open to love, to friendship, to sorrow and to joy. Asking for comfort when the world has broken me. Willing to show up and be useful, be the errand runner, be the comforter, be the cook who makes the soup and delivers it to a friend in need.
Shining when I take care of myself, rest when I’m tired, eat when I’m hungry, saying no a hundred times no to the people who would devour me whole and suck on the bones. Saying not today maybe not ever, saying my needs count, what I need and what I want matter.
Shining says yes I have the right to be this flagrantly, unapologetically juicy, to celebrate life when I am sad and lost as well as when I am found and certain. Shining when I say yes and step out from behind the shadow of the eclipse. Reclaiming my life with both hands. Redeeming my right to shine.