You’re gonna hear me roar

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Ever have one of those moments of clarity where you realize something about the way you are and it’s a fairly devastating realization? I had one of those recently.

I’ve been a coward.

It’s true. And it’s been this way for a long time. People think I’m brave because it’s easy for me to do things that fill them with fear. But what might be hard for someone else necessarily doesn’t require bravery of me.  I have been more of a coward than anyone realizes but I’ve hid it well. When faced with a situation that required bravery, I’ve disappeared into my cowardice more times than you can imagine.

I can get up on stage and perform or speak and that doesn’t require me to be brave in the way it would for many people, but you put me in a situation where I want to or need to express myself in an area that is personal to me, and I find myself paralyzed by my fear.

Ultimately I have betrayed myself countless times. I have not accepted what I feel, what I want to say or my experience as a valid expression. I have self-censored my emotions and desires. I have judged them as inappropriate, inconvenient or unnecessary. I have been afraid to speak what I really think—in most situations. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of what expressing what I feel will say about me, or what it will mean. Afraid of other people’s opinions and judgments and assumptions. Afraid of the unknown. When I am suppressing my emotions or my expression in some way, I sort of “check out” of whatever I am experiencing. I’m not present. It’s impossible to be, because the me who shows up at these times is not really me, it’s the version of me that I want to be or that I want other people to see. It’s fake. It’s not real.

Now, in the spirit of self-compassion, I recognize that this is has been a safety mechanism for me. I learned at an early age that repressing my thoughts and emotions, desires and wants was a way to avoid pain and humiliation. Adaptation and compliance were a necessary mechanism for my survival as a child, but it hasn’t served me well as an adult—certainly not as a business owner.

It’s taken me some time to process this, and wrap my head around the ramifications this has caused in my life. Recognizing this long-standing betrayal of myself, experiencing the range of emotions that came with that recognition and ultimately forgiving myself has been a journey of its own that would likely require several blog posts to articulate.

While I can’t change my past, how I show up in the future is in my control.

I’m designing a new future and I started by making some new promises. I believe that making new promises to myself and keeping them, will result in me trusting myself more. This life-long rejection and betrayal of myself has resulted in a high level of distrust for myself on some important levels. It’s caused a lot of inner conflict.

So these are my new promises. And in order to operate authentically and in alignment, I will take advantage of opportunities where I can fulfill these new promises to myself.

  • I will allow myself to feel what I feel without judgment. I will stop rejecting and suppressing my emotions. I will allow them to surface. I will be kind to them. I will stop trying to make them go away. I will accept them as a part of me.
  • I will be courageous in expressing myself. When I find myself in situations where expressing myself in some way fills me with fear, I will summon my courage to express myself in spite of the fear I feel.
  • I will be present in my experiences and an active participant–even when doing so will require me to be vulnerable. In those times, I will make the choice to stay present instead of hiding behind a fake persona.

I’m all done with betraying myself. I’m finished being a coward.

At the same time I recognize that I am changing a life-long pattern here and much compassion and love for myself will be needed. As much as I would like to see an immediate 180 degree change—because that’s the kind of person I am—what is more realistic are small steps of progress towards an ultimate goal. Over time, these small steps will reinforce a new way of being. So I will accept my process as well–the initial timidity, the stages, the experimentation. I will allow myself to take small steps and be compassionate with myself when I am not as brave as I would like to ultimately be.

I will be satisfied with nothing less than progress and at the same time, I will celebrate every step of progress.

Around the time I was having this realization and making these new promises to myself Katy Perry’s new song “Roar” started playing on the radio. I’m not a huge Katy Perry fan generally, but something about this song really resonated for me. It paints an inspiring picture of the woman that I am becoming and contrasts that with the woman that I have been. It’s become the soundtrack for this change in my life. From a pleasing, compliant woman to the woman that will be expressed, that will be heard and is capable of roaring! Look out world! :)

Then I saw the music video and, well…that just gave me goose bumps.

This song is so recent it’s only available via youtube which you can check out here or here.

I would love to hear from you. Do you find yourself in a similar place? Where do you find the courage needed to step past your fears?

Lyrics:

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything

You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake your ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

[Chorus]

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter,
dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and
You’re gonna hear me ROAR!
Louder, louder than a lion
Cause I am a champion and
You’re gonna hear me ROAR!
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar

Now I’m floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero

You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake your ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

[Chorus]

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter,
dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and
You’re gonna hear me ROAR!
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and
You’re gonna hear me ROAR!
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
you’re gonna hear me ROAR!

Roar-or, roar-or, roar-or!

[Chorus]

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter,
dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and
You’re gonna hear me ROAR!
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and
You’re gonna hear me ROAR!
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar

 

Comments: 2

  1. Julie Jakopic September 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm Reply

    Congratulations. I think this is an ongoing evolution for me and my clients as well. A process of peeling back layer after layer. Reminds me of another song too – Sarah Barielles, Brave, “one of these days you can let the light in,Show me how big your brave is,Say what you wanna say, And let the words fall outt”

  2. Rachel Amanda September 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm Reply

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing all of this in such a raw and open way. It resonates deeply for me too. The idea of bravery being different for each of us. I get up on stage and speak – and I thrive there. I get up on stage and bellydance, and I am energized by it. I’ve moved across the country…twice. I’ve drawn boundaries with family that for a while ended relationships and then let them regrow beautifully and within boundaries I was comfortable with. And it’s been easy, from the bravery standpoint. You make me think about where I have been afraid, hiding out, and not being the fullest expression of my Self. I’m taking that reflection away and will see what emerges.

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