– If I scream, they sure will hear me? Right?!? …
I used to think that I was forever stuck in the fight for my voice to be heard. That I would never be able to let my guard down …
It was a cold winter’s morning, with the fire in my psychologist’s practice offering me comfort, while I was crying tears that did not only belong to me, it felt, but to every woman who had come before me. I had had enough. Enough of the struggle, enough of wearing an armor, enough of constantly having to fight for what I knew was right, enough of being a woman in this society. I was tired of doing life in this world that only seemed to take note when I was loud and relentless. I knew that things could not continue like this, I could not continue like this, but at the same time I had absolutely no idea how to step out of a cycle that seemed to be as old as age.
I grew up in a quaint little village in the Austrian mountains, surrounded by hard-working and mostly lovely people, who tend to look out for one another. The natural scenery is outstanding, and possibilities seem endless, except, I realized quickly, if you are a girl. Then, while being given what seems like non-restricted access to education and the world of employment, you are also constantly reminded of your place. Of the things you are expected to do and what better not to. Asking too many questions being regarded as one of the top better-nots, as is having a voice that likes to be heard. So, what do you do in a world where no one hears you? Right, you become loud. You actively take a stand. Fight for what you believe in, your passions and those you love. I did not stop. I could not afford to stop. Not. For. One. Minute. I wanted to create opportunities and be part of change, often taking one step forward and three steps back, ending up in more power struggles than I can count. It was exhausting.
Somewhere in between this and being a mother of three beautiful humans, I realized that I needed to start looking out for myself. To put myself first and cut out those relationships I felt were intoxicating and drawing way too much energy. In retrospect, I am aware that it was less about caring for myself and more about figuring out how to put up healthy boundaries – which was, in fact, a necessary phase to go through – that would not always make me feel like I am on the losing end. What was perhaps a rather desperate attempt of caring for myself, made me look (and often feel) harsh and I started to notice there was little room for negotiation or compromise. The fight had just shifted to another compartment, but basically, it was still the same thing. It was loud, it was emotionally draining, and it had very little to do with who I was or how I wanted to feel. Then, through the experience of being a part of the Bodysex sisterhood, I discovered what honest, vulnerable and, most importantly, ego-free connection looked like and figured out a couple of things for my day-to-day life.
I learned that finding oneself is a very quiet process. One in which the focus is never external, but always on what is inside of you. I learned that letting my armor down does not mean I am weak, but, in fact, states the exact opposite. Strength and bravery is what I see when people show up authentically and as no one other than themselves. I learned that true power comes with the purest and most difficult love I had ever experienced: the love for myself.
After a very inspirational Alicia Key’s video message (she is magic and yes, I may be biased, because she is my ultimate celebrity crush), I started to place myself in front of a mirror, naked, and practiced looking at all of me with love, instead of judgement, for five minutes and more. It was and still is the hardest thing to do, but also the one activity that keeps me grounded in my love for myself. I am amazing. I am capable. I am beautiful. My voice lives inside the quiet power that my body represents when it is truly seen. When it is loved in the most undemanding and gentlest manner. Perhaps, it was in these moments that my actual voice, no more than a soft whisper at first, was born.
Do not get me wrong, I still fight for the things I stand for, and sometimes a burning passion takes over and carries me into a fiery, fierce, often loud, sometimes angry place, that has me jumping right in the middle of things, but I cool off quickly. Those emotions no longer consume me. I have learned that my voice, just like the rest of me, does not have to be anything. I get to be who I have become through the beauty of touch. And in it all, my voice, carried by the magnificence of my body and still often no more than a whisper, carries a quiet power that says it all.