Over the past few weeks I have been struggling with a feeling. To be honest, I noticed it’s presence a few months ago. I acknowledged it but I didn't lean in to it. That’s not like me, I lean in to feelings for a living....but this one felt familiar in that way that makes me hold my jaw too tightly and keep constant tension in my shoulders. This is the feeling that led me once to a complete and utter reckoning and self revolution. This feeling is the one I find the most uncomfortable because I know what it leads to and I also know why it’s here and I’m scared.
This feeling is restlessness. For about the first 25 years of my life I felt restless. I didn’t have a word to describe it but when I had a quiet moment I felt like I wanted to jump out of my own skin. It’s like there was a clock ticking in my ear and each tick was mocking me and saying “when are you going to be her?”. I had no idea what that meant and I had no idea how to be “her” so I kept myself busy. Less quiet moments to hear that ticking noise and feel that ticking feeling.
I had my first awakening in my late 20’s. I had spent the beginning of my life trying show up as the most likable and acceptable version of myself possible. I shifted and bent constantly in to what I thought would gain me this acceptance. It’s impossible to be confident in this state because even when you do gain the acceptance it only feels like you nailed the right behavior. Like an actress auditioning for a role. In this state, no one really accepts YOU, just the shape you’ve put yourself in. I had lost who I was because I spent all my time trying to be the right shape. It’s an impossible task that women are taught to attempt. Martyr yourself, be likable, please others, fit the mold.
“When are you going to be her?”. I started figuring out what this question I was asking myself meant while I was fighting through this time. Her was me. When are you going to be YOU? I fought, learned, fell and rebuilt myself by asking myself the question: Who am I? The real me, not the approval seeking me. Her became the nickname for the authentic me.
During that hard but beautiful time in my life I realized that restlessness was my intuition’s way of alerting me to the fact that I was out of alignment with “her”. Now it felt like a phone ringing that I knew I had to answer but maybe I’d let it go to voicemail for now. The phone started ringing from another room, it was far enough away that I could pretend not to hear it. But then the world went and conspired against my phone ignoring and locked me in my house, changed my schedule and entire way of working as well as my children’s and forced me to listen to the ring of that god damn phone without an escape. It made going outside to help other people and distract myself from the phone life threatening......literally.
So I sat in my house and listened to the phone ring. It grew louder and closer and the ticking noise in my ears grew harder and harder to ignore. I’d wake myself up in the middle of the night because my legs where moving so fast. Like I was trying to run away from the ringing and ticking and the words I would wake up hearing.....when are you going to be her? Not this again....didn’t I already do this work?
I tried to convince myself that the voice, the ringing, the ticking was wrong. I had already done this work. I was doing my purpose work, I was being myself, I was the authentic me. I was her. But the restlessness only grew worse. It was time to see what was out of alignment. It was time to see where I wasn’t being myself. I had to at least know. I had to find the root of the restlessness. I told myself that I could just find out what the problem was, I didn’t have to do anything about it. I gathered my bravery and I leaned in.
Here’s what I learned. The problem is not that I’m not being myself, it’s that I’m not showing up in my true form. I’m showing up as water and I’m not water, I’m fire. I’m fire and I’m impersonating water. Let me explain.
Water has this magical ability to fit itself in to any container. It’s fluid and changes shape, flow and direction based on it’s environment. Put water in a round glass and it’s round. Put water in a square tub and it’s square. Hurl water over a cliff and it’s a powerful waterfall, put water in a slow stream and it floats peacefully by. I love water. I aspired to be like water.
Being highly intuitive and empathic means that I know what you want. I know what’s comfortable for you and I know the way you prefer your energy and information packaged. I also study human behavior so I know how you operate. I know what motivates you and I know what stifles you. I know your fears and what drives you within a matter of seconds after meeting you. I realized that I was using these skills to try and mold myself in to the best container for each person I met. I also would quite often try to fit the container of “best for most people” when in group settings or on social media. That’s what water does, it fits the container it’s in, it adjusts to it’s environment.
I wasn’t not being myself, I was just trying to pour myself in to the container that was easiest for you to receive me in. This would be fine if I was water. I watch water people do this all the time and admire it. Water people are peacemakers, they are comforters and they are prophets. They are the people that other’s want to soak in, let go in and release their troubles too. I am not a water person. I am a fire person.
I was born a fire person and have felt fire inside my soul since I can remember. Fire flows through my veins. I was designed to be fire. Fire people are alchemists. We transform things. We burn down and destroy what no longer works. From the flames of our fires you can transform. The burning is scary and uncomfortable but the rise from the ashes as the beautiful phoenix is the greatest gift. I live for watching people rise, I live for watching you become the phoenix. As I type this tears are pouring from my eyes as I think of all the phoenix’s that I’ve had the honor to watch fly up triumphantly.
Fires are funny. People love sitting around a fire, they take comfort in it but they can’t really fully relax around it. They know it has the potential to destroy. People need fire, they need transformation to cook food, to keep warm, to create, to change, to live better lives. But people are afraid of fire. It’s bright and shiny and loud and attention grabbing and it has this way of refusing to be controlled. Fire is wild. Being near fire makes people feel their wild.
I am fire pretending to be water. I want to be water. I want to show up in the container that is safest for you to receive me in. I want to take whatever shape you ask me to. I want to be a comfort, a safe space, a peacemaker. I feel safer showing up as water. The water me gets more approval. But showing up as water is causing the fire that lives inside my soul to burn me.
I tell myself that I’m showing up as water for you. It’s easier for you to hear my message if I’m water. I can reach more people with my movement if I’m water. But these are lies I’m telling myself. The truth is that it feels safer to show up as water. Showing up as fire is scary.
Showing up as fire means that controlling my own energy and how you receive it has to be let go of and I’m scared. Control is my response to fear and I’m afraid to hurt people. I’m afraid to disappoint people, and I’m afraid that you won't like my wild, bright, loud energy as it is. I’m afraid that my container-less fire will not be something you connect to, but instead something you run from. I’m afraid that showing up as the fire will not allow me to contribute to as many people. If I can’t shape shift in to your safe container will you still hear me, see me, connect to me?
Contributing to my fear is the fact that I was raised in and live in a world and culture that above all things fears the fire women. Fire men are praised and celebrated, fire women are one of the least accepted member of society I can think of. Women are supposed to be even tempered, agreeable, pleasing to men, mediocre, controlled, modest and martyrs. Fire women are the opposite of all of those things. We are emotional volcanos who erupt often, mediocrity feels like a prison, modesty a cage and martyrdom a poison. We seek constant transformation to the next level, we let our wild emotions serve as guideposts, we are opinionated and loud and unpredictable. We want greatness and riches and freedom.
For all of those reasons I am afraid to show up in my true form, fire. But I cannot keep pouring myself in containers I was not designed to be in. I was made this way for a reason. I am designed to transform. Transform people’s lives and people’s ways of thinking. I’m designed to burn down and destroy old systems that are keeping people from their beautiful transformations, I am here to help the phoenix’s rise. The world lacks fire women and I can’t keep contributing to that lack. I need to show up as the fire women I am.
I don’t know what this might look like. Maybe showing up as fire will not be all that noticeable. Maybe it will be a subtle, gentle shift. Or maybe it will be jarring and shocking, I have no idea. But I know that my fire calls me to take action and to speak out. I can’t just rescue people from drowning any more, I have to start fighting the systems that are throwing them in the water in the first place. To do that I need my fire.
I need to speak up and out and to not just show you the way to transformation but to fight against the systems that have made you forget that you were designed to transform. The one’s that keep you from leaping toward that version of yourself that you ache to be. The one’s that don’t let you thrive. Only fire can fight that.
Fiery me might be too much for you. She’s not carefully controlled, she’s thoughtful and intentional but she’s going to offend some people. Offending people is not my desired outcome...ever, but people who are not ready for the fire tend to lash out in fear at it. They want the fire put out so they can go back to safety and comfort and stagnancy and denial. You’re going to have to watch them attempt to put my fire out. It might be hard to watch.
So if fire women scare you, now is the time to jump ship. Loud, messy, wild, emotional, warrior fire is emerging. I’m ok with you leaving. I’m choosing the people who need me to fight for them over popularity and approval. I’m choosing the people who need fire over the people who aren’t ready for it. I’m choosing the other fire women who are showing up who need more helpers. I’m choosing giving you what you need from me over showing up in the easiest way for you to accept me.
I’m a choosing to be her.