September 10, 2023
September is one of my favorite months! Summer heat may linger, but hope is on the horizon. A change of seasons is coming! It feels close and that is enough to bring some relief. It starts with cooler mornings which we’ve had in recent days and enjoyed with an early walk.
When Art and I stepped out this morning, we saw our new neighbor working in her yard. We walked over to greet her and introduced ourselves. She commented that we were the first people she had met since moving in a few weeks ago. She immediately apologized for being “caught without makeup.” This always strikes me funny and odd. I replied, “Oh, I don’t wear makeup most of the time.” I’m guessing she is around age 80, which brings a quality much deeper and richer than anything makeup can deliver. She apologized again when I asked for her name, realizing she hadn’t told us. “It’s Tommie. I was supposed to be a boy.” We chatted for a few minutes before going on our walk, and she seemed to appreciate the friendly gesture.
Growing older has helped me to drop many insecurities and old habits. I feel more comfortable in my skin and less attached to what other people think. I’ve become more aware of how I show up in the world and in my relationships. I also catch myself when I start to apologize and ask myself if it is necessary. Am I apologizing for something I said or did that was hurtful, or for just being me? It is an important distinction. I usually stop myself before the words come out, realizing I am okay and there is no reason to apologize.
I think as women we are conditioned to apologize at every turn. It is a learned habit that we need to break. Perhaps it stems from feeling like we are not good enough or don’t belong where we are. Not worthy. There are hidden and overt messages we have been served all our lives that support this belief. For example, marketing messages and images tell us that we need all kinds of things to be worthy – money, material possessions, beautiful skin and hair, stylish clothing, and social status, to name a few. We also get disempowering messages from work and family. I’ve learned to question my self-doubt whenever it arises and remind myself that I belong here and I am loved. I am enough.
I’ve been thinking about Tommie and how she actually apologized for herself. Her parents wanted her to be a boy and gave her the name they had chosen for a son. She got the message that she wasn’t enough, and it shows in her words and body language.
My aunt Laurel was the third girl in my mom’s family, and she always knew her dad had wanted her to be a boy. She grew up doing most of the physical labor around the house and fulfilling her father’s idea of what a son should do. She took on that role and became physically and mentally strong. I don’t remember her being apologetic. Somehow, she found away to metabolize that message into a courageous and hearty life.
Whenever I am feeling less than, I try to create space for wholeness to emerge. It is always present, but we forget. I get still and listen, meditate, write. When I give my inner wisdom a voice, I hear only love. I feel it, I know it. I remember it is what I am. This brings true freedom. It opens the way for Love to show up in and through me, and perhaps remind others that they, too, are enough.
Love wants, wishes, and wills nothing less than your unconditional happiness, harmony, Wholeness. Commit to discovering, acknowledging, appreciating, owning, and honoring your personal gifts. - Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance
Rise & Shine,
Elisa J. Juarez