Lately I have been dumbfounded. Completely and utterly inspired by women I have the privilege of calling my friends. They face daunting adversity and instead of becoming a causality of their circumstances, they’ve become beautiful lionesses, strong and courageous. It got me thinking, are we (myself included) working towards becoming the person we were born to be? Yes, it’s a spiritual question, but one that begs investigating no less.
For the majority of my life, I didn’t pursue my passion nor develop a laser-focused life plan. I’ll admit, there wasn’t a lot of intentional living going on. I don’t know if it truly matters since life has a way of making other plans whether you want it to or not. But I did what I was told, worked hard, loved harder and as we say a lot in my household, all’s well that ends well!
I developed emotional layers throughout my life and for this purpose, I’ll label these layers ‘clothes’. Being the clothes horse I am, I have a lot of clothes to choose from and used to layer up accordingly. Yet, when you’re backed into a corner or experience a life event, you have no choice but to become a truer version of yourself. You’re stripped, so to speak.
A life event happens and boom, it strips you of all pretense and leaves you naked. When you’re naked at first (this is a metaphor, people!) it’s alarming. Maybe you’re embarrassed, maybe you feel vulnerable and quick to judge yourself. It can be incredibly easy to point out the blemishes, scars, quirks that make you, well, you. But after you sit with your naked self, you become more comfortable with the idea. It’s not so bad after all. You begin to feel emboldened, accepting and free. It gets easier and easier to be naked until you’re ready to go live in a nudist colony. You begin to seek out and find others that are stripped down, authentic, real.
Our brain might tell us to put our emotional layers back on again to protect against the elements but our hearts, bless them, tells us we’re better off without them. These protective layers are too heavy, too cumbersome to bear. Besides, once we have a taste of freedom, we realize they are unnecessary. Over time, it feels better to be naked, does it not? Even queen Erykah Badu duly pointed out in the song Bag Lady, ‘you can’t hurry up ‘cause you have too much stuff.’ When we’re carrying emotional layers, junk from the past, anxiety about the future, these will eventually weigh us down. So much so, it will begin to negatively affect every aspect of our lives. But when we’re striped of all the ‘stuff’, we’re so much lighter.
These women, these lionesses I know, have shown up. They have been stripped, but are becoming more comfortable with the freedom it’s given them. Life circumstances can be brutal. Situations can punch us in the gut, leave us speechless, and at times, make us feel like we have nothing else to give. But these beauties, they have found who they are, and have accepted that they are indeed, stunning. Scars and all.