Dear President Trump,
First thing this morning I thought of Marianne Williamson’s quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” It popped into my head when I was pouring my tea water. In trying to sort out why, I wondered if I was giving myself a nudge to step up and start this 56th year of mine strong. It sounded good, but it seemed like I was missing the mark so I thought about the deep fear part and who it is that’s most hampered by deep fears of adequacy and power. No surprise, but I think if there was a valid way of measuring such fears, we’d find that, on average, women and girls and people of color would score higher on this fear metric than would white men.
The old white patriarchy paradigm would have us believe that we have such fears because we just don’t have what it takes to be self-confident and comfortable with our own power. The old paradigm would have each of us shaking off those insecurities one by one and individually showing ourselves to be the gorgeous butterflies we are.
But that doesn’t cut it. We’ve got to face that a major source of the deep fear women and people of color have had embedded into our psyches is that it has been f—ing dangerous to be seen as competent, adequate, and powerful, let alone brilliant. It makes us stand out; it leaves us open and vulnerable to being called “uppity,” “ball buster,” “bitch,” “poser,” to being ostracized or even killed. We are attacked to put us in our place and to send a message to others that they’d better not step out of the lanes the white patriarchy has painted for us. Essentially, the white patriarchy is affronted when any of the rest of us shine, and punishment for the affront has been meted out so harshly that we are well trained and do much of the work for you.
We’ve got to step back and reconsider the source of our fears of claiming power and brilliance and not settle for dreaming of our own individual butterfly wings. Some of us may go it alone, defy the odds and reclaim them, but until it’s safe for everyone to keep the wings they get at birth unfurled and visible all the way through, we are selling us all short.
May every little baby grow up knowing she or he or they are adequate.
May we be happy to keep reminding all the children they are powerful.
May we celebrate each one’s healthy, liberated strengths.
May every one of us know such a depth of peace that we all shine brilliantly.