I am Learning how to be Myself.


I hear my heart beating.

The armor comes down—it falls away like strips of old, yellow wallpaper, dissolving readily in the turquoise seas of my tears.

I am learning how to be myself.

I am learning to be honest, to be real, to be genuine—instead of covering it all with a smile and going along with the songs of what I think other people want me to be.

I learning to set boundaries and say no.

I am learning to follow my needs, to hear my wants, and name my desires. 

I am learning how to be myself.

It’s scary. There are moments where I’d prefer to just run away—but I can’t. Not anymore. 

Because lately, my heart is edging her way closer to the surface of my skin. Lately, everything peels away. Some things stay and enlarge. Some things grow. Some things go. I let it happen. Because I cannot stop it. Because it is the way. 

I smell eucalyptus and pine—my lungs open wide. Old grief spills. I feel. I feel so deeply. I feel, all the time. I feel so much.

Sometimes, it seems I am too tender for this world.

But I learning how to be myself.

I am learning that I belong. Here. On the ground. In the world.

I belong.

It’s tempting, still, to hide in layers of mud and muck and shame—instead of letting the diamonds I’ve found shine through with the radiance of the sun. 

But the moments of connection, when I am really myself—

Nothing can compare to that freedom.

It is the widest, sweetest expanse, like a meadow in late Summer.

Steady, certain, blooming, warm, wild, and bursting with possibilities. 

I am still learning that I have a self to be.

It once seemed that trauma took everything from me.

Not anymore.

I get braver.

I get more vulnerable.

I get softer, all the time, as I spiral inward, towards those ancient pools of truth.

I am learning how to by myself.

I learning to own my story—the abuse, the beauty, the triumph, the pain—all of it, in a way, is glorious. Because it has swirled and added complexity to my soul, spirit, and life. And so much compassion to my heart.

I am learning to stand up tall and have a sturdy spine, to move my body how it wants to move. 

I learning to speak with my voice—to let my breath fill my lungs with truth—and exhale it in words and poetry.

Now the tears really fall.

Because now, the understanding that I am good enough flows through my veins, to flesh and bone, to the core of my being.

That I belong here.

Yes, me, this terribly sensitive thing. With this tender heart that cannot--that refuses to be--be contained in my body—it spills for miles.

All I have longed for is to sip from this cup of authenticity. To arrive here, at this. 

I am learning how to be myself.

And it is hard. And it is scary. I sit on the edge of that fear.

But it is so sweet. Even though the precipice is sharp, I trust it. 

Because I know that I belong here. 

I am not too weird. Too sensitive. To feminine. To emotional.

I am at home in these deep currents of truth and emotion.

I am at home in the oceans that thrive in the wildest caverns of our souls.

And that is valuable. 

It’s funny—this is what I learn, at the ripe age of 29:




And I love me, even more, without my armor.

I love you, without your armor, too. The way your eyes sparkle with the nakedness of your soul. The way the light bounces off your truth, illuminating both smiles and tears. 

Because this—this is what we are meant to do.

To connect, in this way. To be this real, to risk it all and push gently though the thickets of our fears. 

Meeting in these moments of complete and utter vulnerability—this is where new life blooms. It’s where the cracks of the old wounds split with the fresh green stems of dandelions that blaze like the sun.

Meet me here.

I am learning to be myself.

Maybe you are learning to be yourself, too.

What a tender dance it is.





We hear our hearts beating. 

The armor comes down. 


Photo: Unsplash//David Kennedy