I don’t know exactly when I learned it, or why, but I remember, as a schoolgirl, knowing clearly and unmistakably that I had to temper my Self, tone down my light, lower my voice, hold myself back. I could let loose a little bit in some classes where the teacher shared my enthusiasm for stories, or where she held a vice-like grip on the students so no one dared breathe out of turn. But even then, there would be a price to pay, later, in the hallway or on the school bus.
I was too proud, too obstinate, too focused on the unfairness of it all to shut myself off completely; and my Self was too present to accept that. Instead, I took on my own version of a tough girl mask and turned every hurtful comment and each rejection into a barb that turned away from me and back to its speaker. It took deep courage and strength to keep that face of bravado, that patina of self-approval, but I did.
At the same time that I was monitoring how much of my essence I could expose at my school, I was also looking around at the people who I thought of as my peers, the kids who were in the “advanced” classes, and knew that I didn’t really belong with them. They, unlike me, were naturally good at every thing, whereas I was just pretending —that was what I was good at. And even that was not enough. I couldn’t even pretend my way into the advanced science and math classes. I was just not good enough. So I hid my shame behind my squared shoulders and my head held high.
That all happened long, long ago, in such a different time and place, I thought I grew out of it all as soon as I stepped out into the wider world and found so many places, so many people where I fit with ease. But… those energies of fear and shame, of feeling too bright, and also not good enough… they left their mark somewhere in my energetic anatomy because I ran into them again today, while working on another matter, apparently completely unrelated. But related enough to bring them up!
I am full of gratitude for my trusted energy tools, which teach me to recognize and work with these old energies. I celebrate the realization that I can invite them to continue to reside in me, or I can accept the gifts they bring, and dispel them with one swift, soft, metaphorical: Boo!