We are enough
Ok, friends, I confess, I have voices in my head. While this may or may not shock you, and you may feel tempted to leave this post – this blog – forever, please hang with me here for just a little longer…
These current voices in my head differ from the ones I had as an 8-year-old tomboy playing “house” or “concert” with Barbie and Ken and their entourage OR building an immense G.I. Joe fort to protect against the onslaught of Cobra and his reign of terror. I used to take on a lot of roles and voices in those days (ahem, another example: playing LIFE and Monopoly by myself), and praise God for the gift of the imagination – especially the very colorful and mildly frightening kind this only child had…
[Alas, those kind of voices are fodder for thought and deeper examination at another time.]
Do you know the voices that I’m talking about now? The ones that this 34-and-a-half-year-old has been hearing much of throughout her teen, young adult, and adult life — the spectrum of voices that claw and gnaw for my attention? These are the voices that call into question who I am — am I pretty enough? feminine enough? attractive enough? fit enough? smart enough? kind enough? good enough? Plain and simply, am I enough? These voices, which have only grown louder and more ubiquitous through our media-driven and image-obsessed world, are the ones that even call into question the very aspects of myself for which I’m most thankful — the ones that make me ME. These voices, when I listen, can be exactly what make my own REAL voice dissolve.
As a teacher of squirmy, squirrelly, impressionable, and self-conscious middle schoolers, I am also keenly aware of how the voices around us not only affect me but also the children in my care. At such tender ages, our youth seem to become more and more fixated on who they are “supposed” to be and what they are “supposed” to look like rather than on igniting that fascinating, frightening journey towards who they really are – who they are becoming. Do they really know or want to know who they are or are they more concerned with the image they want to project — the image they think others will accept?
With these cacophonous voices ringing in our ears, our hearts, and our heads, each day can become a battle to reclaim one’s own voice, and the victory can be real. Over this summer, thanks to dear friends and family, a retreat and group therapy, book friends like Brené Brown and Barbara Brown Taylor, and various circumstances that have made me fall flat on my face (literally and figuratively) and into what really matters, I have asked God to help quiet those voices and help me listen to what is real. I never thought I’d be one to tune into those voices, but alas, news flash, we are ALL human and can ALL fall prey. That also means that we are ALL human enough to rise up again and change the station. For me, God is the one who helps me get on my feet again — who reminds me of who I am — but I’m also grateful that some mainstream folk out there in our culture are making different statements and offering new voices.
Thanks to Ann Voskamp’s weekend multivitamin from her website A Holy Experience, I learned of Colbie Caillat’s new song called “Try.” Not only is the song fabulous, but also her music video preaches a new message — a new voice, and I hope women and men, young and old, will watch and listen and feel empowered to be exactly who they are without having to TRY to fit a mold that is not theirs to begin with.
LISTEN to this voice and feel yours emerge – just as it is:
With love, my friends.