As daughters of the 60’s, we came from a long line of women well trained to not bother anyone.
We wanted to make a difference in the world.
So we decided to do it all.
We decided to make a big difference, without bothering anyone.
We saw that being a woman bothered people.
It certainly wasn’t a way to be valued.
We were too emotional, too intuitive
They wanted logic, reason, science, proof, results
HA! Results, We said, You want results? We can give you THOSE.
Stand back, son! I’ve got this one handled.
And we set to work.
We produced results.
We did everything our mothers did at home, of course.
And we moved into the workplace and managed that too.
We managed the office, we managed organizations, we managed the soccer team, we managed it all.
And we did it all without bothering anyone.
We pretended it didn’t bother us, either.
It part of the badge to be OK, always, under all conditions.
We became endlessly adaptable. We’ll go along, we said.
We’ll put up with not making as much money,
We’ll pretend we’re not as smart, not as capable,
We’ll do our part to keep us all comfortable in this cultural story we’ve got going.
We’ll take it a step further, and put each other down if one of us gets a little too close to claiming her own brilliance, vibrancy, deservingness. We’ll laugh off the blond jokes…shoot, we’ll even tell them.
Who is the hell does she think she is? We said with superiority.
We sacrificed everything.
We sacrificed our own feelings so no one else had to feel theirs.
We sacrificed our dreams, putting everyone else first.
We sacrificed our children’s self-worth, by not teaching them the important things, like
How beautiful they are, and how very deserving they are of being loved.
We didn’t teach them how very capable they are of feeling.
By letting them feel things.
We weakened them, by protecting them from feeling things.
We stood by while the earth herself was sacrificed.
It’s not OK to care too much. It’s not OK to be passionate.
Don’t be ridiculous.
It bothers people.
We became ashamed of our softness, so we didn’t talk among ourselves about how much it hurt.
Because we didn’t talk about it, we didn’t help each other understand that it is not us, but the story itself that is ridiculous.
Now here we are, the elders.
Whether or not we are actual grandmothers, we are all coming of age into the wise woman, the grandmother.
We can slow down and see the whole picture.
And we can see that there’s another way to tell this story.
A way that leaves us empowered and whole.
Here’s our real story:
We are beautiful, powerful beings.
We have always been the keepers of feelings, intuition and wisdom.
We wanted to matter, and to make a difference.
Because of what was valued in our culture, and wanting to be valued, we spent our lives helping to keep those feelings locked away.
It seemed like a good strategy at the time. It was clearly the best way to be effective and influential, the best way to be able to matter.
This was not done to us.
This was our choice.
We are the ones who chose to pretend to forget who we are and what we want.
And that’s OK. It is so patently unfair to judge ourselves now, for that decision. Our power lies in moving on and reclaiming our true story.
Yes, it is true that many of us can’t say anymore what we’re passionate about.
We don’t really know what we want.
And many of us judge ourselves for that.
Our freedom and effectiveness lie in letting go of that judgment.
Not knowing what we want now is simply the natural outcome of our choices. Choices we made for a perfectly good reason. We wanted to matter. That’s OK.
After all, we didn’t just forgot. We chose to not remember. We chose to not feel too much. And we did a good job of that, the way we do a good job of everything.
So now let’s not go down the crazy street of making ourselves wrong.
Let’s just make a new choice.
It’s OK. It’s a new day.
We have a new understanding.
Now as grandmothers, we can sit together and remember what we chose to forget.
We chose to forget that we matter.
We matter. We just do. We don’t have to earn anything, prove anything or being anything other than exactly what we are. We all matter, not more than anyone else, not less than. Just the same amount.
We can now remember the deep wisdom that unless we matter to ourselves, our existence is a house of cards that is built on a lie. It has no foundation. We have nothing to teach.
When we hold the power of how much we matter, we become the rock upon which we can build anything.
Together we can shift this pattern.
We can make new choices:
We can stop sacrificing ourselves
We can remember that we cannot love others without loving ourselves. We can choose to matter to ourselves.
We can stop managing everyone’s experience.
We can stop trying not to bother people. We can let other people have their own responses when we speak our own truth. Whether they accept us or reject us, at least the interaction will be based on the truth of who we really are, what we really think, and what we really want.
We can have the hard conversations.
We can choose to let our voices matter, and we can speak up for what matters.
We can let go of our shame.
We can stop measuring up to an impossible standard we don’t even want. We can stop comparing ourselves and competing for the badge of who can do the best job sacrificing, who can be the most perfect and who can keep the most balls in the air.
We can throw out that old badge of honor that says:
I am supposed to be OK with all this. I am supposed to be strong. I am supposed to be able to do it all myself. Heaven forbid I look weak or needy.
When we let go of all that self-protection, we can do the scariest thing of all.
We can connect.
We can reach out to each other in love. We can let ourselves appreciate others and feel appreciated in return. We can be a valuable part of something meaningful and beautiful, something bigger than ourselves.
We can share our fears so we help each other feel safe enough to go for our dreams.
We can stand together and support each other in our own fear and trembling as we do this.
We can be willing to matter even when it bothers people.
We can get real.
And when we do, we will see that the joke is on us.
We were afraid of being real…when real is what is magnetic. We all want to be around people who are real. The more real we all are, the happier we all are, the more connected we all are and the grander this adventure of life is.