“Women are still in emotional bondage as long as we need to worry that we might have to make a choice between being heard and being loved.”

Marianne Williamson, A Woman’s Worth

I spoke my truth recently. Like really spoke my truth. Not just a pretty polished version of the truth, but an absolute outpouring of heart that, here is my total truth as I know it. Pretty truths about what it feels like to love, hard truths about fears of abandonment and real truths about something not feeling quite right.

And the very ugly truth that somewhere deep down is a piece of me that fears they are unlovable and who feels kicked to the curb like a piece of refuse, because of experiences with people in my life who in essence seemed like they did just that, as they tried to work out their own issues of abandonment, rejection, inner demons, and lack of integration within themselves. Messy processes that can often result in collateral damage in the form of our fragile hearts.

It was a lot of truth, but there it was, the truth as I knew it.

It took a bit of courage to get it all out, but mostly it was an act of desperation from a girl who has been standing in the room since she was seven years old realizing that the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. and who felt her voice would be punished if she spoke, so she silenced it. She sat silent for years until one day she finally tired of staying silent. She opened her mouth and the truth poured out.

It may have looked like an act of courage, but really it was another act of desperation for she felt she must speak or she would surely die. So she spoke. And she didn’t stop. Silent no more, she promised herself she would do her best to always use her voice.

So, I used my voice and spoke my truth and found they were truths that went unacknowledged and unheard, as a door was shut firmly in my face and walls went up so fast I couldn’t find the person I once knew behind them. I guess in that moment I unwittingly chose truth over love, and though the rational part of myself knows that kind of reaction speaks a great deal about another’s emotional availability, the emotional part of myself simply sat bewildered and befuddled crying on a bench in the middle of the west village in New York City, wondering what to do with the shattered pieces of my heart collecting like ashes at my feet.

I swear something broke deep down inside of myself in that moment, and I have yet to find exactly what I need to bring healing and transformation to that ash laden landscape. And so I remain simply in process.

Truth can be a hard thing for women to speak to the people in our lives. There is great fear attached to how another person may react. Fear of hurting somebody’s feelings. Fear of rocking the boat.  Fear of being told we are crazy. Fear of being diminished or minimized by the listener who may not receive that truth and may instead turn it back around on them. Fear of being told we are too sensitive or overreacting. Fear that somebody will reject us and push us away firmly shutting the door in our face.

I wonder sometimes how many women are walking around with chronic aches in their hearts and catches in their throats, from suppressing the words they secretly yearn to say. How many women are living in emotional bondage oppressed by the weight of the untold stories they bear inside.

This much I do know, no matter how much we feel we love the people in our lives, if we cannot be our full self for fear of rejection and abandonment then how strong can that love be?  If we must fear that someone will shut us out if we expose who we really are, then is that someone a safe person to have in our life who is going to nurture and help grow the whole of who we are?  If we are stuck in situations that do not bring us to wholeness, are they really worth it?

How much love can really exist when freedom to be one full self is lacking?

The thing about love is that it is not an external that we need to receive in order to feel it. The love we need truly is already inside of us. It starts with a relationship with self. Love is an inside job. When we find that source inside of ourselves and start giving it away, we will find that love grows exponentially.

Yet so many people in our intimacy disordered society hold tight to whatever scraps of love they can find and carefully mete out small measurements to another person for fear they will either use it all up and find that it is a resource that cannot be replenished, or for fear that it will ignite into a wildfire burning up all in it’s path and rearranging their carefully planned structures if it is not carefully controlled.

We fear being consumed by love when we would be better off fearing what would happen if we do not allow love to consume us.

I have loved recklessly in ways I didn’t even know I was capable of loving. I’ve let the wildfire blaze out of control rearranging the structures in my path. And I know that beneath the layer of ashes from this last round lays a deep seeded truth in my heart.

I am capable of extraordinary love.

The kind of love that lights up the sky. The kind of love that takes on new flavor and nuance when directed towards another, but the kind of love that isn’t dependent on another. It just is. Love is.

And as long as I remain committed to loving myself in the best way I know how- by using my voice to speak my truth, by living authentically, by practicing extreme compassion on me- that love will continue to blaze inside of me like a wildfire rearranging all that is in my path regardless of who comes in and out of my life.

In effect I did not in fact choose truth over love. I chose truth over a relationship. Speaking my truth was an act of love to myself. It was an act of honoring the very core of who I am, of lovingly tending my garden and trying to set things to right inside my garden. It may have resulted in a great deal of weeding and while that weeded spot currently lays bare and frozen over in a winter in my heart, I have faith that it is simply being prepared for when spring comes and new things will be planted.

In the meantime I will keep speaking my truth as an act of love for myself and lovingly tending to my internal garden until the frost thaws and the flowers come. Because though I feel like the pieces of my heart slipped through my fingers as I sat crying on that park bench in the West Village, I know that this hurt will heal and that my heart isn’t anywhere close to being shattered. How could it when I spoke and honored my truth. An act of love toward myself, which means my heart remains intact

For to lose one’s voice in this world… now that is the true meaning of a shattered heart.