For all the women I know who are told they are “too much”, ‘too loud”, “too smart” too anything, I had a big insight this week for us all. Our excess in whatever it is that others find offensive, is not excess, it is abundance.
I have memories of a number of occasions being told I was too much of one thing or another. I had a son who in his youth said I wasn’t dressed well enough, too untidy, to pick him up from kindy, not like the other middle class mothers dolled up for the pick-up. I had a husband who would tell me I was dressed too seductively if I wore a low cut dress, and I was too intense, too smart for my own good and other such comments that were in the privacy behind closed doors. I had a work colleague as a young social worker who told me I was too insistent on justice and needed to loosen up a bit, a boss who said I was too committed to the work … I could do on. Well now I want to turn all that around. Maybe I was casual and relaxed going to kindy, at ease with my sexuality, just and kind, passionate and confident to find solutions, maybe I lived from abundance and not scarcity?
It has taken me to be in my sixth decade to make a start to get this monkey off my back. I was accused, and there is no other word for it than that, by my husband for getting through in a day three times as much as anyone else and it was tiring him out just watching. I calmly suggested he look away, smoothed the pillow and stopped talking to him about at least two thirds of what I was doing out of his sight. It seemed like an act of compassion. Friends defined me as a polymath instead of having too much energy, and foes demanded I not go on too fast ahead of them instead of respecting me as a worthy opponent. I fell under a naming and shaming spell. No prince to kiss and wake me up, no fairy godmother to wave a wand, no lamp to be rubbed, no exotic creature must have its head removed, not all down to me to break this spell and cast myself into a future world where abundance of energy, insight, imagination, justice, and love are adornments to my Self.
I want a world where we can all go beyond our potential, bursting at the seams owning our power. There are all kinds of power – spiritual power, intellectual power, sexual power, creative power, cultural power. There is power you bestow on others and power you give away. There is power you do not even know you have sometimes, like the power of the collective when you get into the ballot box or stand in a rock concert crowd. There is the power you hold inside of you where your voice is totally your own and no one can even hear it except you. This kind of power is often frothing in the throat, trying to get out and getting choked on by anxiety, fear, gaslighting or cowardice. What threshold of power would you cross if you actually opened your mouth, opened your arms or even your eyes a little wider? Would you get to the next level? What transformation is beckoning that untamed part of you out into the wild? These are the questions that have been exercising me this week since I met and celebrated with Amal Alhuwayshil (thank you SheEO for having our orbits cross).
I have an abundant world view, as my default, so how come I was not applying that to myself? I have not always been rewarded or had mutuality alongside of that generosity. Over the years, I have learnt to give and receive and do not see these elements as necessarily mutual or transactional – they can be completely separate acts – more like karma than a ledger. This is an explainer of meeting the moment with Amal this week, and her invitation to go deep into what my Act 3 might look like through an abundancy lens. And what I saw was cornucopia of respect, opportunities to be bolder, wiser, more visible, to mind myself more, to step onto a throne in an orange shirt on a stage with loving fans yelling for more. Modesty transformed into generous and abundance gestures of benevolence, and humility transformed into pride in my achievements. Instead of cheering everyone else on, making enough space to cheer on myself too. So watch out world, there are more moments to meet and like sap rising in spring, after being damaged in a winter storm, I feel my energy returning.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.