Last week while sitting in traffic during my daily hour and a half commute home from work, I was totally zoned out. You know that feeling when you aren't totally there. You can see the things happening around you but you don't feel like you're in control of anything, not even your own body?
Well, I was in that state. It was dead silence in my car except the humming of the engine and the ever-present rattling somewhere in my dash.
I remember thinking, "Wake up." And then I started saying it out loud. "Wake up. Wake up!" At first, I thought I was just telling myself to wake up and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. But then I started yelling it and shaking the steering wheel, "Wake up! Wake up!"- real crazy lady shit here, I know.
I realized I was telling myself to wake up as if I were asleep. As if the life I was currently living was just a dream. Like any second I would wake up in a gorgeous plush bed with light shining through big beautiful windows that were propped open to let the ocean breeze and the sound of crashing waves carry into my bedroom.
That obviously was not the case. But why not?? It's totally possible to live that life. Why can't that be my reality?
I thought about all the events and life choices that led me to exactly where I am right now. Some good, some bad, some things that have stuck with me and may be with me forever.
But one thing nagged at me the hardest and it was the fact that I've always felt like I needed to dim my light.
I remember getting in trouble for having too much energy. & I remember wanting to be front and center in choir singing solos or playing the lead role in school plays. I was so sure that's where I was meant to be because I always auditioned (with so much confidence) but I was always rejected.
Forced to stand at the back of the choir, forced to work as stagehands instead of even having an "extras" role.
Although I kept trying, I think eventually the world just wore me down and I got sick of it. I stopped trying to be front and center. I stopped trying to share my gifts because obviously they weren't good enough or the world just didn't care.
I let the world dim my light.
Sitting in my car that night I asked myself what I would tell little, 5-year old Madi, the Madi who hadn't grown up yet. & This is what I came up with. I think it's something a lot of us need to hear:
Don't let society tear you down when you know there's so much more than what meets the eye. Don't let all those rejections carry over to who you grow in to. Don't let social norms and people around you keep you small. Don't let them dim your light.
But let me warn you, it will start slowly and you won't even realize it's happening. Like when you're at a bar with live music and they start playing a song you love and every fiber of your being wants to run up to the front of that stage and sing and dance but YOU DON'T. Because you're afraid to be judged because the people you're with aren't doing that - your light dims a little more.
And when you're at work and you're not yourself because you're afraid people will judge you or they won't understand you or you're doing a job you're not fulfilled in because it's the responsible thing to do...your light dims a little more each day until you're one of those adults that you saw as a child and wondered why they were so angry and bitter.
Please don't let that be you, because it starts so slowly and you don't realize it's happening until one day you wake up and YOU are that bitter, grumpy adult who never chased their dreams - who let the world dim their light.
Please, please, don't let that be you. Fight it.
Do things that light you up. Chase your curiosities. Do the things that excite you even if they're scary. Take risks that look crazy to others but deep down you know that it’s the right thing to do.
Seek out people who have a deep knowing and understanding of how immense and magical the universe really is and run to them. Run to the people who are just as curious about this world as you are.
You are strong and smart and capable. You can figure shit out! Whatever you truly want, you can have. Don't let anyone else stop you.
You have a beautiful soul and you're powerful and intune. Let others see your energy because guess what, there are others like you. You just have to be brave enough to find them.
So what do you need to sit down and tell 5-year old you? What did she need to hear the most when she was young? What events need to be explained to her so that maybe the memory of them won't hurt so badly? What curiosities were squashed once she grew up?
I know it's hard and scary and sad and we have a tendency to just brush it under the rug because "that stuff happened a long time ago, it doesn't matter anymore." But it does. It's made you who you are today and it needs to be explored.
Thank you so much for reading. I only hope that in my vulnerability, you give yourself permission to do the same. We're all human with emotions that shouldn't be bottled up.
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