I saw the Greatest Showman with my honey - we were mid-fight (cause we're normal humans) - and I fell in love. I didn't fully express my love with my partner until we were clear of that evening's "episode," but the movie gave a megaphone to the voice inside me that is usually at a low whisper, quietly reminding, "you can do anything."
I'm not used to the encouraging voice being louder than the one I safely label as, "realist." Realist Devin makes sure that all the other Devins don't get too carried away with things that may not happen. Realist Devin makes sure that she chooses songs that she feels comfortable with when singing around others. Realist Devin doesn't share her opinions out of fear of being "wrong." Realist Devin takes calculated risks. You could argue that she's trying to protect me, but (on my clearest days) I can see that in the process she mostly ends up hindering.
There is no way to know how something is going to turn out - the only way of ensuring it doesn't work, is by not doing. What a way to spend my energy - waging bets on what could or should happen in any given scenario.
A week or so before seeing the film, my coach asked me to choose a power song - something that would remind me of how awesome I am, and of all the good that surrounds me. The film's anthem "This is Me," hit home in a thousand different ways - reflecting on the struggle I had with my herpes diagnosis; my ever-present doubts about my voice; and my deep desire to truly and fully know me. I sang this song non-stop at the top of my lungs in our apartment (I hope the neighbors enjoyed it as much as I did) until one day I realized that I couldn't clearly categorize the emotions I was feeling around it. I felt sad and excited; anxious and rejuvenated; depressed and happy; ashamed and motivated --
This song simultaneously inspires and cripples me.
There are so many things that I want to do right. now. - write more (blogs and songs); sing more (in front of people, yikes!); speak out more about shame, courage, and resilience. All can be thrown into the category of, "putting myself out there more."
When I got to a place of acceptance with my herpes diagnosis, I think I thought the rest of life would be relatively manageable - living out loud would now just come naturally. False. I feel like I'm rewiring my brain against the shoulds that I've so long accepted as truths - this is not easy work. I often treat myself with less kindness and understanding than I've given to strangers; less support, less grace. Wanting to be at the finish line having exhausted my potential, instead of gathering tools to take with me on this never-ending, always changing, journey. What would life look like if I encouraged myself the way I encourage others?
I don't know. But here I am, writing my first blog post in I don't know how many months, squashing the voice that's been saying, "It's been too long. You can't all of a sudden start living out loud again. How will you explain your lack of action?"
With humanity. That's how I explain it. With humanity.