Of late, I’ve started to ask a lot of whys. Why do some things happen to some people, and not to others? Why do diseases kill some people, while others survive? Why are some people born into huge wealth, and others desperate poverty? Why was I born into the peaceful circumstances I was, and others into war and desolation?
There are no answers.
Its certainly nothing to do with anyone’s inherent worthiness. It’s random. Meaningless. Just a roll of the dice, right?
Unless of course, we choose to give it meaning. And that’s where I’m at right now. Wanting to give meaning to the things that have happened in my life, for good and for bad. To give meaning to the fortunes and the disappointments, the gains and the losses, the easy and the hard. It all has meaning if I’m willing to give it meaning. And these days, what I’m saying, is that I am.
For the longest time, I’ve given very little meaning to my brain and the way it works. I’ve given very little meaning to the fact that I found school fairly easy, and that taking exams didn’t tax me unduly, and that the traditional school system worked for me. It wasn’t easy, but it was absolutely possible for me to attain the grades that gave me access to Cambridge University and an English degree. A degree which required me (often kicking and screaming) to write, write and write some more. Every week another essay, another chance to practice using words, explain ideas, and share my thoughts. Over and over and over again. Even when I didn’t really understand what I was writing about (anyone who’s ever studied Middle English will know what I’m talking about).
In fact, not only did I give little meaning to it, but as my childlike hopefulness morphed into teenage angst and grown-up self-doubt, I became quietly ashamed of my abilities. Apolgetic. Unable to fully celebrate a part of who I was, and am. I feared being judged by my peers for thinking I was ‘better’ than those whose brains worked differently to mine. Or even worse, I feared that I might be considered ‘different’.
I don’t really know if ‘they’ were judging me, truth be told. In all likelihood, I was judging myself more harshly than anyone else ever did. But this sense of shame, my acute ‘imposter syndrome’ had a long term consequence. I’ve never fully owned my own intelligence. In a misguided attempt to make myself more ‘accessible’, I’ve always played it down. I’ve explained away my academic achievements as just ‘useful for job applications’, put them down to a weird twist of luck, or parental support, anything other than acknowledging that my intelligence belonged to me.
But it was, and it still is a part of who I am. As is the colour of my hair, and the shape of my face, my love of ideas, and writing, and words, and language is part of who I am too. And sure I worked hard, and sure I’ve had some serious opportunities to practice, and a ton of support where others may have had none. But for whatever reason, however fair, or unfair, it was the way I was made.It’s a big part of what I have to manifest in the world. And today I’m choosing to find some meaning in that.
More than that, today I’m choosing to celebrate it.
I have a brain that works fast. I have a brain that loves words, and ideas, and more than anything else, loves articulating them. Often at speed. Which helps me out when I’m writing, or talking or thinking. And I’m starting to realise that if I stop apologising for my brain and my education and all that it has given me, a new road opens up before me.
It’s not about being puffed up, self important, and ‘better than’, neither is it about shrinking down, apologising, and protecting myself from imaginary attack. This is about standing up boldly as I am. Celebrating the abilities, talents and skills I have to bring to the table. And even better, I’m more likely to notice and celebrate those that others have to bring.
As the infinitely wise Marianne Williamson says: “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
So here I am. Shining. Care to join me?
Which light do you need to shine more brightly in the world?
Let’s all stop apologising. Let’s show the world where we’re awesome.
Let your light shine people.
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Did this resonate with you? Are you interested in applying the perspectives here to your own life? Work with me, and we can really get into it. I love talking about this stuff even more than I love writing about it (and that’s a lot).