Love Your Life, Own Your Roar
by Katie DiBenedetto
Lately I’ve been reading lots of amazing writing by strong, powerful women sharing stories of how they got to where they are today. They left toxic relationships, found their voice, discovered themselves, ignited their passion.
Interestingly, I don’t relate to any of this.
Which got me thinking: When did I “find” MY roar? When did I first use it? Have I ever lost it? How has my roar served me up to this point? Where did I get it?
And I realized I must have had it from day one, because it’s always been.
I am a quick mover and I don’t need a lot of time to stew in anything. I’ve always had healthy boundaries, put myself first and never made anyone else’s emotional stability my responsibility. I’m not into judgment or guilt or jealousy. I never conformed, hardened, or shut down. I don’t care too much what people think, generally make my own way in the world, and have never made too big a deal out of it.
It didn’t occur to me that I was doing anything “outside of the norm” until I started to notice how other people did things and what a hard time they were always having. They’re generally overcommitted, under supported, and have a hard time reaching out for help or identifying what they need in the first place.
In fifth grade I started faking stomachaches so I could go home from school early. I thought school was a complete waste of time and I could learn and work more efficiently on my own. Eventually, the adults agreed to homeschooling.
When my mom kicked me out of the house at 16, it was devastating. But I had my dad to help me, I got a cute apartment, found a fun job, and knew everything was going to be ok.
I enrolled in college once, went for a few weeks and then promptly dropped all my classes knowing I would not get where I wanted to go on that path. I never felt the need to explain that to anyone.
When I quit my secure, corporate job to attend births as a doula, I just did it. I didn’t make pro/con lists or save some arbitrary amount of money “just in case” or worry about “failure” or wait for “the right timing.” We can’t predict anything. Things are always changing. Failure doesn’t exist in my book. Things either work out, or they don’t. If they don’t, it wasn’t meant to be and it’s on to the next idea. There is no right timing. If you’re inspired, the time is now.
When I got divorced, I just did. I didn’t consult anyone or ask permission or feel badly. It was hard and it hurt and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, but I never doubted that there was more amazing life to live on the other side.
Pregnancy came out of left field, but as the test read positive I already knew what was best for me. That was all that mattered. I didn’t worry what my friends or family would think. They weren’t the ones who were pregnant so it really wasn’t up to them.
When I moved to Seattle and then was promptly repelled by the city, I just went back to Phoenix. I didn’t need to stay in Seattle for six months to prove that I tried. I had nothing to prove and I didn’t feel like I had failed. I knew Seattle wasn’t the place for me. I had a renewed love for Arizona and was excited to start over back home.
A few years ago I stopped shaving my legs. It wasn’t a “statement” or a fuck beauty standards/men/society thing. I just didn’t want to do it anymore so I didn’t. I had a girl ask me how to tell her boyfriend that she wasn’t going to shave anymore. She wasn’t sure she could even do it because of how he would react and what people in general would think of her.
What people will think dictates the lives of most people. That shit runs deep, particularly for women. No wonder most of us have lost our roar.
But it’s never too late to claim your life; the moral of the story here being to just go for it. You’ll never feel ready. If you wait until you feel ready you’ll never do it. Just do it. Put yourself out there, open your heart, take a “risk,” believe everything is going to be ok even if you feel like you’re lying at first. You could train or learn or shadow or prep or practice or plan, but when the shit goes down it’s basically never going to be how you think it’s going to be. So just go for it. Figure it out as you go. Commit to always learning, growing, and changing. Do your best. Be yourself.
Love your life. Own your roar.
Katie DiBenedetto writes blogs and books, photographs human placentas, records podcasts, and designs websites. She lives with her adorable boyfriend (and often Airbnb guests) in downtown Phoenix where they make the best kombucha in the world. She can often be found eating mayonnaise out of the jar, soaking in a bath in the middle of the day, binge drinking Earl Grey, and reading Savage Love.
Sometimes all at the same time.