My Mari’s always been the quiet one.
Not the shy one, really.
The kind of kid who’ll sit back, survey the land, and make a very sound, very rational, very mature decision about whether she wants to be bothered with the other kid’s mess. More than likely, she doesn’t get involved. And I’m okay with this.
But I find that in her quest to be the surveyor/play the rear, she often goes unheard… won’t raise her hand, won’t answer questions (even when she knows the answers), won’t speak up. It’s more comfortable for her, you see, to just… be… quiet.
She’s been like this since she was lil’ ol’. I remember when she first started big girl school–kindergarten; I’d dress her in these super cutie outfits and put fancy barrettes in her hair and tell her she was beautiful and pump her up all the way from our garage to her school… “you’re fantastic, baby girl–the smartest little girl I know.” She’d climb out of the car with a wide grin on her moon pie face and I’d kiss those beautiful brown cheeks, tell her I loved her, and implore her to “be fabulous, because who are you not to be?”
I was reminded of this just this weekend when I attended Odyssey Network, an annual conference of high-powered black women who come together every year to network, bond, and have an amazing week of sisterhood; one of the keynote speakers quoted the passage from which I borrowed liberally to inspire my baby; it’s from inspirational writer Marianne Williamson’s “A Return to Love,” but was catapulted to fame when Nelson Mandela quoted it in his 1994 inaugural address.
Use it to inspire your babies, too… maybe even yourself.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.