There comes a day when you stop letting the outside world trick you into thinking there is only one way to life, security, happiness, and success.
A lovely friend of mine, a neurologist in Cambridge, described the city perfectly to me once:
“Cambridge: where everyone thinks they’re a ‘renegade.'”
I had only been in Boston for a few months, so I hadn’t yet gotten an impression of the people or the culture. However, I liked this idea, and I certainly loved Cambridge.
Although I used to wish I had taken a traditional path (or at least a “laid out” one) I realize now through listening to others that it wouldn’t have been right for me. I have spent the past 11 years trying to “fit” the mold; city to city, job to job, relationship to relationship. It was a struggle trying to fit this square peg in a round hole.
I had simply assumed by speaking with her, the grounded and successful woman she is, that she must have had an easier path than mine. That things came naturally to her. That she followed her heart when making her career choice. However, upon knowing her better, I learned that it wasn’t her choice to become a doctor; it was her father’s.
I met this woman April of 2017, and she played an instrumental role helping me learn I am enough. She said to me, over and over, that I am fine just as I am.
I didn’t realize what she meant until now.
As my life came together, fell apart, and came back together time and time again back in the summer of 2017, my friend (who I just visited in NYC) also reminded me of how strong I am. Although I felt hopeless at times, she saw the light in me. She recognized my strengths. She helped me see my own light; and in turn, I have been able to do the same for her.
It’s interesting how we can get down on ourselves so easily, yet we are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.
Now, let’s go back to the idea of a “renegade.”
This made me laugh.
However, much of our society blindly follows the unwritten rules the “patriarchy” laid out years ago, without question.
I can’t imagine living an existence where I don’t question these rules.
As I began to step into my authentic self, I stood up to “the man.” I have ignored their sexist comments. I have ignored people telling me I can’t do things. I have been independent.
Perhaps this does make me a “renegade.”
Over the years I thought about what society wanted me to do; or at least, what those around me expected. I thought that if I got an advanced degree, a certain job, or had impressive credentials, I would please others.
But why did I care about pleasing the patriarchy?
I wasn’t pleasing myself.
As I have let the ideas of what other people “expect” from me, I realize that I wasn’t doing anyone any good. I wasn’t happy in relationships or jobs where I couldn’t be myself. I wasn’t succeeding in roles that didn’t align with my talents. I felt anxiety in environments I forced myself to be in.
As my spiritual practice and confidence grows, the more I realize that manmade rules are simply tricks to give others power.
We have all the power we need within ourselves.
The more fearlessly honest I am, the more gifts have appeared in my life. I’ve been published in places I never dreamed to see my work, I’ve received heartfelt letters from readers who didn’t know who else to turn to, and I’ve gotten the opportunity (and blessing) to find inner peace, joy, and empowerment through my authenticity.
I used to water down my personality to “fit in.” That didn’t serve anyone. Today, I refuse to play a role in society; I will live my truth.
I came to this earth for a reason; and that reason wasn’t to follow the patriarchy, let someone scare me into doing things their way, or let others take my power.
My reason was to help others realize they, too, can fearlessly spread their wings and fly.
So, that is what I will continue to do. ✨