Jummah Reflection: Own Your Shit.
Jummah Mubarak, Shabbat Shalom & TGIF.
Yesterday at the Texas Conference for Women, I listened to Viola Davis deliver one of the most inspiring and beautiful talks I’ve ever heard. I wish every single person I know could have been in that room, because Ms. Davis gave us some incredible wisdom. The best I can do is try to convey the essence of what she told us to you this morning using this uninspiring medium – but I ask you to please consider these words, to pause and reflect on them and take them to heart:
Your power comes from your experiences, good *and* bad. The struggles you’ve faced, the flaws you desperately try to hide, and the demons that keep you awake? All of these give you a unique channel for the power that is available to any of us at any time when we choose to tap into it.
When we deny our full selves, we shut ourselves off from that power. The channel is no longer clear. When we focus only on what we want the world to see — our perfect personas — we are operating with partial power. When we let shame rule us, we live a half life.
That’s not to say that we don’t want to constantly be improving and facing our demons and working through our shit. But we are wasting precious energy denying those parts of ourselves and pretending they don’t exist. We are also creating a culture of shame and denial that is not a true reflection of reality, because guess what?
WE ALL HAVE SHIT. And anyone who says differently is a liar. Anyone who says differently is trying to use shame and fear to keep you from owning your power.
When you show up, show up with. your. shit. Name it, acknowledge it, set it on the table and say, “This is part of what I’m bringing with me and it’s given me a perspective you need to hear.”
One of the reasons social media has caused us to falter a society is because it gives us the ability to edit our SELVES, and deny who we really are. Sometimes we do this because we think it’s expected and it’s what other people want from us. But most of the time, we’re doing it because we don’t want to acknowledge who we really are.
Online, we can engage with other people only on the terms that make us feel ok about ourselves. This medium removes the sticky, awkward, painful, weird, and uncomfortable parts of human interaction. It removes the screaming at your kids, the unshaved armpits and cellulite, the missed deadlines, credit card debt, sexual inadequacies, binge-eating, dependencies, lusts and insecurities; letting us focus only on whatever little tribes we create to make the most of what we do like about ourselves. This is the opposite of empowering.
I want you to own your shit. I want you to show up online and offline with your mental health issues, your abuses (committed or survived), your envy, greed and addiction. Name it, own it, publicly work through it and refuse to be shamed into being half of what you really are.
YOU are allowed to be yourself in every space your inhabit. Even in online spaces. When you recognize the value of your whole self, you’ll recognize it in others, too.
And that is what will transform the world, insha’Allah.
I am thinking of all my beautiful Jewish & Muslim sisters at the Fourth Annual Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom Conference this weekend. Praying they all make the most of this opportunity to see one another FULLY as human. <3