Last night, I told the truth. I have been battling it for a long time, but didn't realize it. And I have been holding everyone else responsible for it but me.
I have been thinking about it since beginning to devour the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle (I'm not quite finished yet).
I have always had a big personality; a bright light. I knew it from the time I was really small.
But I also remember as a young girl, knowing that I could sit on the kitchen ledge by the cookies at my grandma's house and listen to the adults, but I was not allowed to speak. I was never acknowledged. Girls in particular, were not allowed to have an opinion. I noticed that the men in the family always talked the loudest and so they were always 'heard'. Their opinions mattered more. It was best to be quiet and unnoticed.
It was good to shrink.
I sang really loudly in music class; I had a strong voice. I also found out really early that if you could make people laugh, you always had friends. My music teacher didn't appreciate my sense of humour. My dad had a close friend who owned a T-shirt shop. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I was given a shirt that said "Hot Stuff" on the front in sparkly letters (It WAS the 70s). My music teacher decided to tear a strip off me when I made some friends laugh. She said to me, "Hot Stuff! That's exactly what you think you are isn't it? Well you're NOT!" I never wore that shirt again and I never sang loudly again in music class.
I shrank. It was better to be small.
The memories came to me last night, after complaining to my beloved, Dan, that he doesn't let me speak when we're with other people. And this instance only on a video call! It wasn't the first time I tried to put this on him.
But I've been trying to work through things, my own issues, the things that are mine. Then I went over it in my mind. I thought about the reflection of myself I could see on that video screen. I looked like I was physically trying to fold in half.
My truth was, I was CHOOSING to shrink.
I was choosing to make myself more accommodating. This has happened in every long term relationship I have ever had, and in every situation where I felt threatened or insignificant, or NOT ENOUGH. And then I would blame the other person for 'making' me shrink.
Once all the memories started flooding back of when I made myself accommodating and small, the scariest part of all, was that I had to talk to Dan about it.
How could I tell him I wanted to fill up the space? How could I tell him I NEEDED to own my place in the world? Would he get it?
Happy to say he totally got it. And better, he said he never wanted me to feel like I had to shrink and that he ALWAYS wants me to fill up my space. And we talked about how he could help me do that.
And then we each talked about painful childhood memories we both had. And we felt them together.
And then we let them go.
Now we each have space to fill up, and also space to fill up together.
I'm grateful for this time.