Just last week I was consulting with my friend Crissy Connor about social media and getting the word out about who I am/what I do and she said straight to my face "Heidi, you strike me as a person who doesn't care at all about what other people think."
Right then I felt a tiny ping in my throat because she and I don't really know each other well, and I was a little surprised that she had this assessment of me (why was I surprised?!)...but I was both delighted and curious to examine my own shyness around sharing MORE of myself with the world--after all, if people think I don't care, why not go for it?
I mean, I know my exterior may give off an "idgaf" impression because my physical expression is unconventional, but the truth is even though I may not care what people think about me--I care immensely and deeply about people and the state of the world.
If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook you know I say and share things I am passionate about like anti-racism and freeing marginalised peoples and bodies from oppression and preserving the Earth and so much more because yes, I believe the political is absolutely personal and we have a lot of work to do. I talk about the issues that matter to me and the difference I want to make in the world for my children and my children's children.
We each have a perspective. There is no other you. There is no other me. SPEAK UP. Especially if you are a highly sensitive person like me and especially if you are terrified. Because your voice matters.
As I get older I find myself becoming more vocal about the things that matter to me because this may be the only time I get to sing this particular song or share that one poem. SO SING IT. SHARE IT ALREADY. Imperfectly.
Another piece of the story:
About a week before my convo with Crissy, I was at a party with my love. He is an immigrant from Rwanda, and in the years that I was a wild and free college student in Northern Wisconsin, his country was in the midst of a horrific civil war. He came to the states a few years after the war for college himself, but he had already experienced the atrocities and horrors of genocide upclose and personal. One of the most striking qualities he has is his ability to speak a powerful truth that could shake a room--gently and softly.
This was a party of his friends and colleagues, and I was sipping on some scotch that went down a little too smoothly and loosened up my tongue a bit, shall we say. So I spoke freely and openly and may have been just a bit outspoken and audacious. Moreso than usual in the company of strangers!
In the morning I was embarrassed and worried that maybe I had offended some of his friends with my brazen perspective on a few things...and after wringing of hands and bemoaning "oh my goodness, I said that?" he looked up at me from the food he was cutting and said firmly exasperated "Heidi, WHEN are you going to start being UNAPOLOGETIC about WHO YOU ARE?"
(I think that was the sexiest thing anyone has ever said to me.)
But seriously--the people who are your people, the people who love you and are rooting for you, will have your back no matter what. They want you to be your biggest, brightest self! Having your back also means telling you when you have made mistakes, conversing with you and helping you learn to do better, helping you to grow in the places where you need it, and loving you through it all.
So keep being the only you, sharing your perspective with the world and being open enough to continue evolving and also listening so that you can make your corner of the world shine like only you can.