This is a big day. It is the last Friday before the SOAR! Scholarship Deadline. I know a lot of you have yet to turn in your video. You and I know that this weekend, tomorrow and Sunday, are your days to get it done—maybe Monday but that is SERIOUSLY pushing it.
Have the voices become louder as you’ve come closer to the deadline? The voices that say, “You aren’t worth of this scholarship. You don’t deserve it.” Or maybe they say, “Look at all those Video Entries so far. What makes you think you are that creative. What makes you think you can do this?” Don’t you hate those voices?
I must confess that even though I’m not an applicant, I have had my own voices to battle. The SOAR! Scholarship is my own leap of faith. ‘Can we pull something this big together? Will it grow into what I envision? Will women respond? Will they hear my heart?’ They are all the doubts that you run through, just a different scenario. And yes, they have become more and more loud as this deadline has approached. Yesterday morning I got up extra early to get a head start on my day. I did my workout and before leaving the gym, I decided to sit upstairs and write my morning pages.
I heard someone behind me messing with one of the elliptical machines. I turned around and saw this man standing there, he was looking at me, and so I turned around and kept writing—choosing to ignore him. In that split second I had a weird feeling, but I was at the gym of all places. And then I heard the sound of someone urinating. I turned around, and he had opened up his pants, exposing everything to me, and was looking right at me as he peed all over the equipment. Insane, right? Disgusting…violating.
I went downstairs, told the front desk. They confronted the man. He didn’t act senile or overly medicated. He wasn’t a homeless guy who had wandered in. Instead, he was a member. And he was angry and offended by what he was being accused of. They came back to me and said that there wasn’t much they could do but have me fill out a report for their records. Since a staff member had not witnessed the incident, it was my word against his. He was allowed to keep exercising. …I had been here before. This felt to familiar. How was I not supposed to feel like they believed him since they were letting him stay?
I’ve been through the sexual assault court system enough to know that if nothing else, we can report the incident to the police so there is a record. The staff called the police, and I waited in the office for over an hour. There are these big glass windows in the office where you can look out on the basketball courts and upper level. The track is on the upper level. There he was–walking the track. Doing his exercise instead of being asked to leave. I had been here before.
In that next hour, I went through a myriad of flashbacks. Almost twenty years ago, I was raped by a student on campus. I had reported it to the police, but lack of evidence kicked the case out of court. He was allowed to enroll back into classes. As he stalked me for nine months, the college continued to say, “There were no other witnesses. There is nothing we can do.”
As I was waiting for the police, one of the gym employees came in at his defense. She told me that this man had been a gym member for years. She had never seen or heard of him being inappropriate. His medication, if he was taking any, was probably getting the better of him. She walked away without asking me once how I was.
I had been here before. This felt to familiar.
The man left when he was done working out. The gym said they didn’t know if they could discontinue his membership. Hard to prove what happened—even though there was urine all over the equipment. The police finally showed up. The officer talked to me outside. I told him what happened, and he looked at me and said, “I believe you.” Those three words almost undid me. I told them I would testify. They took my information, and I left.
I left the scene, but I had not left that familiar place. That place where all my power seems to disappear. Brian met me. I looked at him and said, “Why did I sit upstairs by myself? I should have known better.” With passion in his eyes, he said, “No Me Ra. That is not the voice of truth. You’ve spent to many years battling that voice to let it have a say now. This was not your fault. You didn’t invite this.”
He was right. That voice of unworthiness had crept right in and was now speaking for me. How fast it happens.
I came home, laid down on the bed, and Blaze came and snuggled with me. I had all these great plans for the day. Plans to help promote SOAR! even more—with a dozen different ideas. I felt like yesterday was our biggest viral day to promote SOAR! before Monday. And now the day was lost to something like this.
The house was quiet. The kids were at rock climbing club. I lit a candle. It was a red candle that my business coaches gave me last Spring. They told me to light it when I needed to remind myself of the light in the darkness—the power of that single light that is gentle, but ever present—that single light that is in me. The power of Feminine Wisdom.
I felt like I had lost the day. But in the quiet of this moment, as I write to you, I know that this isn’t true. There is a light inside of me that cannot be put out. I know this because of all the trauma I have had to endure, the light still shines. I still love at the end of the day. I still laugh. And I still believe that we are all worth more than we could ever know.
I get to write to all of you that are struggling with the voices, the old, familiar, ugly voices. And I get to say, you and I are worth more than what life has thrown at us. You and I are worth more than we could ever imagine. We are capable of more than we ever imagined. We are meant for MORE than we have dared to dream. I believe this with all my heart.
But here is another truth I have found. As I stretch my wings. As I get into position to fly—to take my next leap—a little higher, a little scarier. The voices come alive and things start to happen around me—things that make me scared to jump—to not fly—to never soar. When those things start to happen, when the voices seem to be screaming at me from every direction, when I feel like I have been here before–that this place is all to familiar—I know that I am on the cusp of flying. A shift is about to happen. And all the powers that have come against me know they are powerless. All I need to do is leap.
You can try to close out the voices—just block them out, but I have found that they are still audible until after the leap has happened. I can’t wait for those voices to shut up—or I’ll never leap. I guarantee that if you wait for those voices to shut up, you will NEVER make your video entry for SOAR! And we both don’t want that.
So close your eyes. Picture me standing with you on the ledge. Picture me surrounded by all my familiar places and horrible voices, and I’ll picture you surrounded by all your familiar places and horrible voices. Together, we know how hard this is. How much courage this jump takes. And together, we will leap.
With full confidence in you and myself, I send you all my love and faith this weekend. And I will be looking for your SOAR! Video Entry.