This is to the girls we once were….to the Girls that we are: To a community of women seeking to create, make, explore, love, hope, dream, inspire, teach, worship, prayer and nurture.
This is an open letter of sorts, an impassioned plea if you were, to any woman, or man, who has been told that they were or have felt that they are, too much.
I know sometimes you wonder. In the quiet moments; in the dark; in the tear stained moments. You’ve told me about that sinking feeling and that longing that you just can’t quite explain.
You may feel confused. I know you look around and wonder what’s wrong with you. You’ve told me you struggle and you’re just not sure where you fit.
You find yourself wondering with a tinge of melancholy, you wonder whether you have too much baggage, come with too many stories, too many ideas, too many hopes, and wild, crazy dreams. You find yourself feeling like you are too much.
But I have something to tell you and I need you to listen well.
You are not too much.
You are NOT too much.
You are not TOO much.
You see, I too believed that lie for far far too long.
The girls we once were, small, and innocent, hoped in all things. Then at some moment, for some of us far far too young, that innocence was entirely shattered. We started to believe the niggles about being more than people could handle.
I know what it is like to be shushed by family, quietened by strangers, told by people I was too intense, told by people i encountered that I was intimidating, was too animated, too passionate. The bewildered look in people’s eyes when they wondered if your crazy dreams and hopes were all just a bit too idealistic. That feeling of being rejected each time you were a little too exuberant. The accusations of being intense or taking it too seriously when you showed a little, just a little, of how passionate you can be about life and the people and issues that matter to you. The moments where you asked a guy you just met a couple of questions, showing a base level of genuine curiousity, to feel as though you then needed to defend yourself against accusations of showing too much interest.
You know too what it is to told in word and judgment — in careful helpful tones — that you are too much.
You know what it is to be told that you can’t be handled. So do I. I know that I was made to feel that if I wanted a husband, then I should, well, calm down a little, and not be so smart, so much of a traveler, not so much of a dreamer… not so ambitious.
But who needs to be tamed?
I’m not some wild beast to be controlled — this is an 18th and 19th century narrative that understandably prompted what we now refer to as first wave feminism. And so it should have.
You are passionate, enthused, emotion-filled! This is good. Embrace this; develop it. Be refined; be vulnerable; be polished; be raw.
You don’t need someone to handle you — or to want to.
Be who you are, my dear!
You know the real secret? You are too much for people who don’t get that you are beautiful, wonderful, passionate and imperfectly perfect!
Good, honourable men do exist! I didn’t think I would get married, because I always thought I was too much and I knew that wasn’t right. But men do exist without such fragile egos that they think they need to handle you.
RM often says that he’s not sure he’d want my brain because there is always so much going on in there. But he loves it. He relishes my passion –the flow of ideas I occassionally need to temper because they are overwhelming even for me — the expansiveness of my vision.
Find your tribe, sister. Find the women, by birth or choice, who will love you into bloom. These are the women with whom you can have a mutual friendship, and with whom you can share your heart – your true heart.
One of the sweetest things about joining with others is the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to see the dreams of others realised. Rejoice together, cry together, jump for ever-loving joy together, mourn together, pray together, create together, eat together, drink together.
And oh, what a gift!
How beautiful is the day when you can be as you are!
And you will be. You can be even now.
If you can’t be who you are, then begin in any small way that you can to change your circumstances that so you can be.
But know this: As you are now – you are beautiful and wonderfully made.
You are a passionate and sweet daughter. You are a sister, whether you were born with any or not.
You can nurture, make, dream, create, build, tear down obstacles, climb under, over, and break right through.
God made you that way.
Don’t let anyone beat you down or force you or trick you or convince you through their on insecurities that you are too much of a good thing.
Image: “You is Important”, a multimedia image by Anna Blanch Rabe.
Do not copy or use without permission.
This post is part of The Girls We Once Were linkup with my Story Sisters from Story Sessions. It marks International Women’s Day.
Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. She currently works for an Anglican church in Newcastle, Australia in a community care & engagement role. Her opinions and comments in this piece should be attributed to her alone and do not necessary reflect the opinion of the parish, or the Anglican diocese in which she is employed. You can follow her adventures on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. More of her photography can be viewed here. For more Theology:Naked take a look at Quotidian Home or her previous website, Goannatree.