My eyes glaze over briefly while my pen suspends in the air. I’m filling out school forms for Shaman Boy and need to decide which email address to use for the school directory that is sent out to all the parents. I have three emails and each have a decidedly different feel. Which to use? And why does it matter?
Beneath a seemingly trivial email address lies how much I want to reveal about who I am.
Choice number one. My Comcast account “allmylove” which has been ridiculed by extended family members as being too touchy-weird-feely. Setting up this address eons ago was my way of stating to the world “I’m sending out my love” (even if over the years it has become the one I use for purchases and therefore is filled with junk mail).
Number two: firstname.lastname@example.org. Short, sweet and to the point. Rather professional and ambiguous, connected to a life coaching website. Definitely the safest choice.
And then behind door number three: email@example.com.
I internally debate. Shaman Boy’s school is an open, progressive, bilingual Montessori school likely to harbor people who are curious – or at least sympathetic – to me being a Shaman Girl. Then again maybe no one will notice or care. But what if kids or parents ostracize Shaman Boy for having a shaman as a mother? The voices in my head turn over the options, worrying through each one.
I get lost in my reverie. This simple choice reflects a deep desire – and fear – for me. I want nothing more than to be able to be authentically who I am, in all aspects of my life, with nothing to hide. I want to be able to show my spiritual self without fear of being labeled cuckoo. And yet I often feel like I’m standing off to the side, at the edge of a party, unsure if I’ll be fully embraced or invited in.
I start to wonder how any individual from an out-of-the-mainstream-group feels. Weighing whether or not to come out to your family. Deciding as a moderate Christian-Muslim-Democrat-Republican to speak up against less tolerant factions. Breastfeeding in public. Not drinking/eating gluten or sugar at a party. Protecting yourself or others from catty comments. Or how about being a Shaman Girl in a church/town/family that frowns upon “voices in your head” or “intuition”?
I have the good fortune of having my zany family support me, in a town that is rather open-minded. When I read about hate-mongers, hear or experience judgmental neighbors or loved ones, I feel that wispy fear take my breath away. I know how much courage it takes to accept myself, speak my truth, and let go of needing the approval of anyone else. Fellow Shaman Girls, I know it’s a radical act of self-love for you to do the same. I am right there with you.
I’m also here, embracing the part of myself that is afraid of the judgment. I’m here, opening my heart to others that don’t have the same beliefs that I do. It would be easy to point my finger at them and say “you’re wrong, you’re not as evolved as I am, you’re…” but I’d much rather stay open and find some kernel of understanding between us. Stay compassionate. Be loving and kind in places and with people where it is not the easiest to be loving or kind.
Because at the end of the day, I believe that we are all one. We all have similar hopes, fears, and dreams – we might just have very different ideas about how to go about confronting what we fear and creating what we most desire. But we can’t let our fears win.
We just have to keep loving the fear, loving ourselves as we are, until we love ourselves into who we wish to be. We make the choice to speak our truth in a relationship or go for our dream job over any of our fears and all these choices add up. We choose love, especially loving ourselves as we are, over and over again. Love is the most powerful force in the world. It is.
I take a deep breath and firmly press my pen into the paper. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m making the leap, stepping up into the spotlight, saying I believe that the spiritual and the everyday can be blended together.
I’m making a choice that symbolizes what I believe. Even if it’s found on one itty bitty line, nestled into a small school’s directory in Bubbleville.
Loving you, just as YOU are,