The "I" in We"

(I actually made a voice recording of this - so I could give you my voice - but FB won’t let me upload mp4 files so…I transcribed it [and maybe, sorta “fixed/re-arranged” a few things]. It’s in fragment/poetry style so you can get a better sense of how it sounded when I said it.)

I’ve been thinking about so many things and I just wanted to share some of them with you.

Because, I know I’ve been absent for a long time in terms of showing up in videos or where you can actually hear my voice instead of reading it. 

But,I’ve also been sharing my voice in writing in a way I have never done before and it has been amazing, and terrifying, and wonderful.   

So I think I’ll keep going. 

I promised to show up and just say what’s on my mind from day to day so here it goes. 

Mary Oliver just passed and there’s been this outpouring of love and affection for her. I plunged into a binge of re-reading her poems, reading ones I’d never encountered before, and I shared the podcast of her interview with Krista Tippett from a few years ago that On Being re-aired. And one thing in particular Mary said stood out to me. 


It was about using the first person - “I” -  in her poems. 

And it resonated.

Because I’ve finally allowed myself to write in first person. 

And I am making an effort, 

when I speak to you, 

to speak as much as possible in first person,  

about me 

instead of we, and us, and they, and them 

which feels very scary to me 

confronting 

And 

I’ve been avoiding it for a really long time. 

Of taking ownership of what I say. 

For fear of attack. 

For fear of sounding self-aggrandizing. 

For fear of it being seen as selfish 

or self-absorbed 

or any number of things. 

I’m sure you can come up with your own lists. 

But I realized I had to.

I had to start using “I”

“I think this”

"I feel this”

“I”

Because I do

#1

And 2


If I am to be of any use in this world to others

I must own who I am 

And I must be able to speak 

From exactly where I am 

However that shifts

and swerves 

and moves 

and bends 

and expands 

and contracts


And no matter what anyone has to say about it. 

I need to be speaking from “I”

“I am”

“I feel”

“I think”

“I thought”

“I wonder”

“I”

And I need to write with I’s for the same reason 

that Mary Oliver said she ended up writing with 

“I”s 

As a gift.  

So that those who read what I write

Become the “I”

The reader/speaker becomes 

“I” 

They can make it their own. 

It becomes your own story. 

And of course, clearly, for those who don’t resonate…

they won’t…

you won’t…

it makes no difference…

…or maybe it will

To try out an “I” 

that is not your own. 

And for those who do resonate 

who do know what I’m speaking of

Who see, even though 

the situation may be different

The particulars are mine

But you see yourself

in what I have written

And you are allowed to say 

I feel this way”

I am hiding”

I am loving” 

I am all of these things too”

That “I” is really generous

And so even though it terrifies me

(and I realized why it terrifies me as I was having a conversation with one of my coaches the other day

Is that everything I have been doing with BIO, 

with shamanism, 

with Reiki, 

with ALL of it

Getting to these core stories

These core beliefs that hold me back from showing up in the ways I long to

In the ways that at least part of me has always believed I am capable of

Is this underlying feeling  that 

I

Am lacking

I

Am not enough

I

Am unable

I

I


Me

myself

am 

inadequate

That underneath all of it

No matter which story it is

Lies this feeling

This feeling that stops me from 

Picking up the pen 

and the paints

From typing 

From turning on and pushing play on a Facebook Live

This,

No matter how far I’ve come 

it is not enough 

no matter how much I do 

it is not enough 

no matter what there will always be someone screaming 

“FRAUD!” 

and that person will be me.

Ahhh-oh

And I know I am not alone in this.

Because if nothing else, 

this past two years has taught me that

EVERY TIME 

I hear a woman speak her story, 

EVERY TIME

I speak mine 

I see

The tear in the eye

The light 

The intake of breath

The exhale that says 

Yes

Yes, I know

And the actual

“Yes. I know” 

“I feel you” 

“I’ve been there”

The hugs

The tears

The smiles

The rages

I know

I am not alone

I know 

I am capable 

I know

I am enough 

I know 

I am everything I need

And there’s the importance of that “I”


****

Related thoughts:

Part of the reason I think the #MeToo movement has been so powerful 

Was millions of women giving their I’s

“I had this happen to me” 

“I had this happen to me”

“I had this happen to me”

And the cacophony 

The swelling

So many people

Because one did

Another did

And another did

And another did

By owning their stories

Everyone else owned theirs

And a sisterhood was created

An understanding

A movement

A tidal wave

Change

Of recognizing how HUGE this issue is

And how we are connected

In our pain, in our trauma

But also

In our recovery

And also 

in our Power

And also

When we let it out

When we allow our voices to be heard

Our truthful authentic voices,

The actual emotions,

What we are feeling and sensing, 

How it is now

How it was then

We give permission to others to do the same

So that it can finally

Finally

<Exhale>

Be released

Not forgotten

Released

So that we can move forward

So that we know where we actually are

The outlines of our problems are filled in a little bit

And also

The beginnings of the way to shift and change and start the conversations 

That will

Someday

* If we maintain that openness *

Lead to another way. 

And I am all about another way.