The power of what you know

Most writers live with a certain angst. It’s the reason we walk around with weird expressions on our faces, trying to force thoughts onto a page with all the right descriptors but a total lack of direction on where those thoughts might lead us.

We are the butterfly chasers and know how stupid it looks at first, until we capture those collective winged thoughts and put them in a contained space, a glass atrium of meaning.

Meaning is what my soul craves.

There’s nothing more powerful than a woman who is sure of something, or more rare.

But we are tortured by our own self-doubt. We draw our knees in close, shrug up our shoulders and defer to the more articulate one, the one with the book, the one with all the rules. We wait around to say something until the opportunity passes and everyone goes home and we’re stuck with regrets.

The power lies in what you know

That is the truth you pass up each time you keep quiet, and defer politely because you are too scared to say what you mean. Meaning escapes us with flat and vague phrases like “I kind of want to” and “I will definitely, maybe consider it” (I overheard that one this week).

These are not truth. How many times have we wasted our breath saying things we don’t really mean? Maybe what you need to say is hard, but it won’t get any clearer by couching it in vague language. I don’t mean to get all Lois Lowry on you, but “precision of language!” minus the emotional vacancy part which I admit, I sometimes have a hard time with.

I know how reaching for common ground is a human thing, a social thing that helps establish a trust connection with another person.

What I equally know, more intimately than my own insecurities, closer than my own skin, is the truth. I know it lives in me and I know when I need to say it.

If I am embarrassed of the truth, if I try to hide it, dress it up with words that don’t mean anything at all, I have failed. There are worlds of insight within us that others are craving, tiny planets of revelation that orbit in the closed circuits of our minds. We undermine ourselves to call those thoughts “average.” There is nothing average about you.

Women are self-incriminating almost without thinking. In conversation we downplay our strengths, defer compliments and become immediately self-critical. At first glance, this behavior can appear humble. It’s not. It’s just insecure.

Our value is not in our lack of vices.

As a woman raised in the church, that truth has taken awhile to sink in. I am not defined by the darkspace of what I avoid, but by light. Light is filling, it’s bright and gentle and it takes up a room without apologizing for it. It also turns up the heat and exposes what’s real and what’s not, just like you do.

By speaking the truth, I don’t mean going around and wagging your judgmental finger in everyone’s face, though I am guilty of the crime.

Just stop apologizing for what you know and say what you mean. That will speak volumes against the backdrop of insecurity that so many women are floundering in.

Don’t live and die without opening your mouth because you are too afraid of what people think. Five reasons to start speaking the truth today:

1. Speak the truth to counteract future regrets.

2. Speak the truth to see who your real friends are.

3. Speak the truth because it’s who you are.

4. Speak the truth to remind yourself of what is real.

5. Speak the truth because someone else needs it.

And when you have, you will start learning the difference between when you need to speak, and when you need to listen. That skill is an art form.