I Used to Think

I used to be afraid to take time off.

Now I realize that the more frightening thing is what happens when I don’t.

I used to be afraid to dissent.

Then I watched RBG and learned the power of the dissenting voice.

I used to be afraid to say no to my kids.

Now I say no when I’m clear, and sit with my discomfort of displeasing them, in the name of something bigger, usually involving self-sufficiency and/or safety.

I used to be afraid everything would just crumble.

Then I found out that I could survive and keep going when it did.

I used to be afraid the work would dry up.

Now I practice coming back fully to the present moment and not letting my fear stories run amuck.

I used to think I should only share posts that were amazing.

Then I just started sharing writing as I wrote, without the amazing part.

I used to think other people were racist.

Now I know that racism lives in me, because I grew up in America with white skin.

I used to think I wanted to have a sexual experience with a woman. You know, just once.

Then I realized I was one million percent gay and my whole life flashed before my eyes like in a movie, and all the longing and searching made sense.

I used to look at what other people were doing enviously, achingly.

Then I started learning about the insides of other people’s lives, and saw that the grass is never actually greener once you get up close to it. It’s all just grass.

I used to be good.

I used to be nice.

I used to be a kid who loved eating.

Then I stopped eating. Then I learned to love eating again.

I used to be afraid of taking up room.

Now I see that that shrinking and narcissism live on the same spectrum, and I don’t wish to inhabit either extreme.

I used to believe you had to have a degree or certification in something in order for it to be legitimate.

Then I hung my first shingle and not a single person asked me about my credentials.

I used to need everyone to like me.

Now that is not a priority, though I still struggle with it sometimes and worry about being enough.

I used to think I had to be endlessly positive and bright in order to be my “best.”

Then I learned that the people who love me love me even when I’m feeling depressed, lost, doubtful, angry, confused, or sad.

I used to be a lot of things.

Now I am also a lot of things.

I could not be this me without having moved through every single one of those moments.

Nothing is wasted.

Everything counts.

We’re here to grow.

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