The week began with hopeful thoughts and plans about my journey as a writer and my career. What I learned midweek stopped me in my tracks and hurt me to my core. Things that “rattle your cage” to the extent that your insides quiver don’t generally give a jolt of energy to move a person forward or spark a wondrous thought that inspires innovation and creativity. Those kinds of things pierce my soul and puncture a lung on the way to the destination, leaving me breathless visualizing the slideshow of every related behavior or event involving the person(s) exacting the injury upon me. Reflective writing has allowed me to recognize that only the people or groups I care deeply about have the ability to hurt me and inflict soul-puncturing wounds. Additionally, I have learned that injuries, physical or emotional, inflicted upon my kids can survey my being and find that weak spot in my armor. I am not quite sure though if it’s the object that penetrates the armor that delivers the debilitating action or the shock that I really didn’t have my guard up and I left myself vulnerable – again.
After surviving turning the BIG 3-0 and the syndrome of freedom at 40, at almost 50, I am proud that I was able to take the not-so-entertaining movie playing in my head this week and pause it long enough to enjoy time with my family, laughs with a few friends, and make some life changing decisions at work. I was able to control the speed of the movie reel and therefore control my inner conflict. I managed to build a dam-like barrier to stave off the inner conflict that welled up inside of me. I consciously separated my inner conflict from life at work and life with my family.
At almost 50, I have the freedom of choice. I get to decide that types of behaviors that are welcomed in my space. Moreover, I determine with whom I share my space and what quality of air I allow to inhabit my lungs and my brain.
At almost 50, I have the freedom to choose when I want to manage life and when to manage the challenge(s).
At almost 50, I can choose to let real transparent people live in my space and to decrease the time spent with the fake and the phony.
Thankfully, I have learned that even the tiniest soul-piercing wounds open up a space that unleashes a roaring wave of emotion if you don’t use the dam to gauge the emotions you allow to flow into your head and heart at any given moment. I am reminded of the ability of God to open up “a window” of Heaven and pour out many blessings. Whether I am being flooded with blessings or being rushed by a flood of information that challenges my spirit, at almost 50, I recognize that I control the operation of the levy.
At almost 50, there is a contagious encouragement that feeds each moment of the rest of my life when I begin the practice of deciding who and what types of energies deserve to live in the spaces where I live and breathe.
At almost 50, there is some empowerment that comes with the decision to own my right and responsibility to be the primary regulator of the control panel of the levy that holds back the eager waters while and until I make time or feel like allowing the chaos into my space.
At almost 50, there is enlightenment for others when they learn that I have stepped outside the shadows to use my voice to speak about my passion, to speak in a way that protects the people and things I hold dear, to speak about my strengths unapologetically and to speak up for myself and others similarly situated in a way that commands respect and change.
At almost 50, I have learned that life in the shadows did produce a belief by some that I found comfort in the shade of any tree or shadow.
At almost 50, I have learned that in my childhood I didn’t always choose which shadows shaded my life.
At almost 50, I see that, in my adult life, the choices I made to be a shadow dweller were my own. I also realize that there are some circumstances and situations that breed people who satisfy their souls by shading the lives of others.
At almost 50, I see that the decision to confront shade throwers and systemic practices in any setting causes discomfort much like the discomfort I felt when I decided to live in the shadows of others. Both decisions promoted ideas about my level of intelligence, compassion, and permanence in the role as well as perceptions that my decision made me figuratively blind, deaf, and mute about the boldness of the shade throwers who decided I enjoyed the “benefit” of their “protection.”
At almost 50, it is time to say that the shade throwers have aways been mistaken if they believed they were protecting me. As a shadow dweller, I protected others and quietly went about the business of service for the cause(s) of the person(s) in whose shadow I lived. Now, I shake my head that people have gotten it twisted and actually believe that my existence did not serve an invaluable role in their ability to flourish and grow. It seems that everyone in life will not recognize or appreciate my service in the shadows or how that service grounded their roots and stabilized them making their environment more comfortable and consistent.
At almost 50, I am nervously excited about telling shade throwers (past, present, and future) that I am a “fearfully and wonderfully made” woman with creative and intelligent thoughts and abilities capable of expansion and development outside of any limited, dark space. I am a genetic sampling of the genius of a woman not built by a person and not designed to verbalize a scripted monotonous dialogue filled with cliches and passionless banter.
At almost 50, I am more willing to risk standing outside the shade of a box built by others who have demonstrated they are not capable of hearing my heart because they don’t care to hear my voice.
At almost 50, I am content that I can define my likes and dislikes.
At almost 50, I must courageously own my passion and my voice and present them in a way that honors the gift given me as a shadow dweller.
At almost 50, I am forced to spend the rest of my life vocalizing the visions, the growth, and the maturity birthed in me as a sister in the shadow of dreams, hopes, haters, family, expectations, movements, and missions.
At almost 50, it’s hard to be anything other than real or for me to share my space with those who thrive in controlling my voice and shading me to hide the truth of my message and passion to encourage, empower, and enlighten my audiences.