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Shine my love! (Whatever the bullies say)

You are allowed to shine. Yes you! For whatever reason you might be reading this I hope you take a moment to look at in which mays you may have told yourself that your´re not allowed to be seen or heard. Or maybe, you have told yourself that if you DO shine in your own unique way, somehow you´ll be abandoned or disliked.

This has so been the case for me for many years of my life. And I can´t tell you how much that have kept me from saying, writing or sharing things from my heart. How sad is that?

I´ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately and it particularly came up when I watched my first recording of my first "musical talk" about mental health. What really saddened me was how MEAN I was to myself in my head, like the worst critic you would ever face. I had comments about EVERYTHING from how I looked to my music and what I was talking about. And I thought - what will the world think of me? And actually mostly, what will all the women think of me. Will they say bad things about me because I might come across as self confident because of sharing this? Even though I am obviously sadly not as confident as I "should" be?

I don´t know what saddened me the most, the horrible voice in my head or the great fear of other women talking trash about me. But I asked for courage to step out of this fear, and as always when you ask - you receive. The most beautiful gift came...

Nadja, a lovely soulsister, suddenly invited me to an amazing free festival arranged by - and guess what we talked about among other topics? Feelings around jealousy and sisterhood. And wow...

It is the most empowering thing, to talk about your fears, your shame, your own jealousy, with others. Because mostly, we ALL share the same feelings. It´s all there. And that´s ok. When I say it aloud it kind of looses a little bit of its power. It's just words. Chatter in my head. At times it also comes from something traumatic we´ve once experienced which might want to come to the surface.

And today a childhood memory suddenly came to my mind which really helped me understand partly why I´ve been so extremely afraid of other women disliking me.

I was twelve years old. It was an extremely chaotic time in my life because my mom had cancer and I was convinced she was going to die. (She didn´t but it took years before she was "well".) At the same time, a wonderful thing was also happening, I got a part in my first musical and I was actually at that young age earning money being on a stage. I loved every second of it.

BUT - this lead to attention. Teachers and people in school started noticing me, I remember my teacher putting up an article about the musical on the school window where my name was seen. What happened next?

My 3 best friends started to slowly push me out of our safe container of friendship that we had had for many years. They didn´t do it with a bang, like telling to my face that they didn´t want to be with me. They did it like most girls do, with small subtle hints and ways. I remember one of them telling me in confidence that the other two had planned to embarrass me infront of the whole class for a group project we were doing. (That´s the only girl of the 3 who also years later apologized.)

Of course I was heartbroken. I didn´t want to go to school. I remembering crying and telling my mom, saying she must not tell anyone (especially not the girls) because I was so afraid it would get even worse. (Later on, I found out - she DID call one of the girls and told her that she didn´t have to be friends with me, but that she should at least leave me alone). Maybe that worked a little, I actually don´t remember. Cause the fear of losing mom was also so overwhelming at the time that I developed severe mental health issues. I just remember I couldn´t wait til it was time to switch schools so I could start over with other friends.

This hasn´t been a suppressed memory, I have thought about it at times but never really until now felt what a HUGE impact that had on me. And it wasn´t until today that I understood that panic feeling I usually get after posting a picture of me or something I´ve done. Of course, I panic because I think taking up space and maybe even get admired will make me end up alone.

Now, I know or at least hope that´s not true. But realizing this and writing about it makes it feel a little bit easier. I don´t want this fear to control me anymore. And I wish to have a ton of strong, beautiful women surrounding and supporting me. (Which I do already!!) I also wish to be the most encouraging friend I can be!

This became a longer post than expected, but who cares. My heart usually have a lot of things to say, haha. If you´ve come this far I hope you feel inspired to shine a little bit more, and maybe tell a woman you admire (and maybe secretly also feel a bit envy of) that she is an inspiration.

MUCH love/ Josefin


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