Age 29, from I Am Yours

Age 29, taken just before leaving New York, to start anew.

For years, I had said “Yes” to any job. Any man. Any and every social invitation. Constantly pinballing between jobs, relationships, expectations, any project started on my own was swept to the periphery, soon abandoned. I hardly ate, slept, or had the energy to connect a full thought; my entire day was devoted to racing between the demands of others, racing to catch my breath, racing to simply make it to the next day.

I had no ownership over my voice. Therefore, I had no ownership in my life.

The very notion of having ownership in my world felt shameful. Unladylike. Selfish. Out of my hands.

Who was I to claim any stake in my life, let alone this world? How dare I consider having a voice, let alone dare to use it?

Then one morning, the simplest, truest truth dawned like a little orb of a sun rising: I am a person. I have every right and claim and stake in this world for I am a person. My voice is a small, new sun gaining light, for it deserves to gaze and grace the living day.

I didn’t have a clue how to reinvent my life, find my true tribe, or create a path I could be proud of. Those things felt so daunting and although they are among the most important nourishments in a human life, we aren’t taught how to find them. So I did something simpler. I wrote three lists. A list of my core values: freedom, service, love, integrity, compassion, loyalty, excellence. A list of the habits and practices that would be part of my ideal day. And a list of the qualities that when I die, I will want my life to have stood for.

To soften the fear that rebirth is an enormous endeavor, I told myself all I would focus on were the words on those pages. Day after day, my one task was to honor those words through different practices. Doing so would manifest the larger whole.

It did. It continues to.

Rebirth begins and blooms one piece followed by another. Own your voice. Stake your claim on this planet for you are a singular, incandescent orb of light. Snuggle into the unique aria your voice. Listen to its needs, hopes, desires. Allow it to guide you as you create a world that reflects and honors your truth. Whenever fear and dragons shadow your path, listen even deeper. Your voice will light your way through every darkness.

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