When I was a young girl, I discovered my natural talent of singing. I spent most of middle school and high school singing in a variety of ways: opera, chamber, choral, Gospel, etc. It came easy to me and I had the ability to mimic other sounds. In college I discovered I also had the skill of song writing. When there were no notes on the page, I could create beautiful songs from the heart. In 1997 I recorded a demo album and it included my own original song. It's very beautiful and the song is very meaningful to me and close friend of mine. I continued to sing song write until I had children and then music took a back seat.
Nearly 20 years later, I found myself in a recording studio again creating new music but this time I wasn't perfect. It was raw, it was broken, and it was me. Finding my voice made me uncomfortable, it exposed passion and desires for more. Finding my voice meant owning my story and delving into loss and pain. In the end finding my voice resulted in my creation of this website. It was a platform for me to rise out of the ashes and tell my story. It pushed me to discover a sound that was new and unfamiliar, and yet offered me a new freedom of expression.
There are many avenues of expression that come easily to me, primarily teaching, music, and writing, but there is one area I am held back in, my body. When I see dancers, I begin to cry because I long to find that level of freedom in my body. I have read many books on body image and spent thousands of dollars over the last 25 years looking for the perfect diet, weight loss plans, and personal trainers. I kept looking for the best way to make myself fit into the image I thought was lovable and accepted. In many ways I spent years mimicking other people's success. At some point in my life I began to believe that who I was wasn't enough and began to listen to the voices of those who really didn't matter. This morning I realized I need to shut out the voices that don't matter and find my own voice.
I'm an avid reader. I love a good romance novel or a self-help book that speaks to me. I'm currently reading a book by Summer Innanen called Body Image Remix: Embrace Your Body and Unleash the Fierce, Confident Woman Within. I really like the way the book is short, sassy, and to the point. She offers ways to face the voices that keep someone hidden in their body. "Thinness is not going to be the catalyst to your self-love. This change needs to come from within, and you get there by changing your mindset." I completely agreed whole heartedly with this quote but I felt stuck in my body, afraid to own my desires for it, and thoroughly confused on where to start. Fear not, Summer has journaling questions, but I'll let you find them throughout the book, this time however, I would find some answers from a young woman I work with at my part time job.
Mackenzie is a gorgeous, young woman who is currently studying nutrition in college. We get to work together a few shifts a week and I had the opportunity to ask her for some direction on embracing my body and health. She was so thoughtful and compassionate and with every question I asked, she'd redirect me back to my own goals, my own desires, and my own choices. As the conversation continued, I kept finding myself hearing my own voice when I tutor students. "Find your strengths and build from there." Mackenzie challenged me to consider that my goals are not outcome based, they are lifetime based. If I was going to find success in my life, I'd need to consider what I was willing to do everyday.
This morning when I woke up, I started my day thinking about Mackenzie's insight and found as I drowned out the voices and expectations of others, I suddenly had my own opinions, likes, and strengths. I found myself being able to see how I could carve out time for walks in the morning. I created a list of foods I enjoy that are good for me not just weight loss. I took time to consider what exercises I enjoy that make me feel healthy, strong, and confident. I suddenly only heard what mattered to me and no one else. There were no expectations, only the present. When I took everyone else out of the equation, I could suddenly hear my own voice.
I'm not sure what areas you might be working through right now, but I am confident when you take the time to allow your voice to cut through the sounds of others, you will find new freedom, new purpose, and the hope to rise again.