Speaking Up (When You’re Not Perfect and Never Will Be)

Photo by Júnior Ferreira on Unsplash

There’s a stigma in the New Age community that if you’re not performing at your peak, if you’re not healthy both physically and mentally (especially mentally), and if you are struggling for income, or struggling with, well, anything, then your voice isn’t ready to be heard.

I’ve believed that stigma for a long time.

And before you’re ready to go off bashing the New Age movement, consider this: I grew up in the Christian Evangelical movement, and Charismatic movement, and Fundamentalist movement (or, regression?), and in all of the above, your voice would only be heard if you’d reached some measure of success in your life. And those who did begin to speak were held to such high standards that they could no longer struggle in life without censure.

And before you’re ready to start bashing Christianity, consider this: in the world we live in, if anyone speaks on any topic, no matter how educated or self-educated they are, without a degree, they are open to intense criticism. And if you don’t have 10,000 YouTube subscribers and 20,000 Twitter followers, who are you? Why are you talking? Why should we listen? Because if you had those followers, we’d know you’d achieved some measure of success and were worthy of us listening. Otherwise…you’re just like us. And we aren’t successful, so we know we’re not worthy of being heard. We’re ordinary. We’re unspecial. We look to people who speak to large audiences like they have the answers, because they’ve achieved something we have not.

Yet. And maybe we will. Or maybe we never will. Maybe it’s not our dream to be a billionaire and tour the world on a multi-million-dollar book tour. And it doesn’t have to be. Maybe it’s our dream to work within our community. To do good to our friends. Love our families. Does that mean we shouldn’t have a voice? Our own, unique voice, and be heard?

I’m someone who struggles deeply with my health, living with a chronic illness, and mental health issues related to that. I’m queer, non-binary, autistic, and have trouble relating to and with society. I do not have it together. I don’t even remotely have it all together.

But I have so, so much life inside of me I want to bring to the world. And I’m doing it, little by little, through my writing and art, wherever I can, however I can, wherever I’m heard.

I share in a round-about way. I share the deep things in my life through the eyes of my characters, through the lens of my art. Because I’ve been told, and I’ve believed, that if I’m disabled, if I’m not healthy, if I’m not always able to think as clearly — and definitely not able to think “normally”— as mostly everyone else out there, that I can’t speak my truth in plain words.

This is wrong. And that is my truth.

And here is where I turn off my social filters, the masking mechanisms used to conform in a neurotypical world, because my truth is deeper than that:

My truth is that sometimes the brightest insights come from those who are living their trials. Those who endure.

It’s a different perspective. A different truth.

You’ll see deeper things through the eyes of those who are living deaths and dying in life. And still living.

You’ll see your own self reflected there. Imperfect. Beautiful. Important.

You’ll see you have value. Ordinary you. Because look, this person does, too. And they don’t have it all together.

Who does, really? Seriously. Who has all the answers?

Look beyond the illusion of perfection. Disregard the utopian veil. See the people beneath it. The humanity. Diversity. A thousand different colors of real.

You’ll be richer for it, and that is the greater wealth.

And richer, as well, when you let your own voice be heard.

Turning on my filters again for this last point:

What is the definition of performing at your peak? Will your peak ever be the same as someone else’s? What if you, doing the best you can despite your challenges, adulting like a champ and getting the crap through, are already performing at your peak? And you’re doing it all the time. You are amazing. You are winning at being you, which is the only bar you can ever measure yourself to.

No one else can top that.

You are so successful with what you’ve been given. You have pushed the boundaries of where you are at and keep moving beyond them. You are blazing new trails in being you.

You have a voice, and it’s an important voice. You have as much success, and as much voice, as anyone. You have a lifetime to offer and you deserve to be heard.