Song & Verse: Show me how big your brave is.

(Young) Woman. Grown Woman.

In August, I turned 38 years old. My theme for this new year is, “I’m a grown ass woman.”

Now to put that in context, I say during the first couple of years in my thirties, I came into my womanhood. The changes that transformed my life on my 30th birthday (and every year since) carried me away from girlish thoughts and behaviors. When I hit my 35th birthday, I felt like a “grown woman”. Up to that point all my vacations were crashing with friends or the cheapest hostel or motel in the vicinity. For the trip I took for my 35th birthday, I asked myself, “I’m a grown woman, why am I still vacationing like a college girl?” Not that the way one vacations is representative of who they are, but I think the mindset certainly is. I was spending all my free time trying to see people in their space, in their lives. None of them were trying to get to know me in my space or my life. And I returned from those vacations exhausted. I hadn’t devoted any time to nurturing myself.La GraceI didn’t think this birthday would be a big one for me. But let me tell ya, the last two years have kicked my butt. So much so that I’ve lost energy, enthusiam, and interest for a great many things. I’ve put away the childish things completely (people pleasing and people chasing). I’ve walked away from the dead relationships (people who suck you dry or attempt to destroy you in more creative ways) and I let go of the unproductive situations (everything else that doesn’t edify me spiritually). My thirties have been very cathartic and revolutionary. Achieving, claiming and walking in my womanhood has been a progression like anything else:  Introduction to Womanhood => Settling into Womanhood => Emanating Womanliness.

Grown **Ass** Woman

This is how big my brave is: I will be who I am.

La Grace 3I have lived my life with a heart-deep desire to be accepted, appreciated and loved for who I am. Who hasn’t? I’ve spent a lifetime getting to know people who have never been interested in knowing me… so I’ve loved a lot, but I haven’t really been loved. That’s a sad thought, but it’s also empowering. People aren’t comfortable with my blunt directness or the sincerity of my person. I have never asked anyone to modify themselves to be around me. It sounds incredibly arrogant to even think the thought, yet nearly everyone I know has told me at one point to “tone down” or “pull back”. For years, I struggled with the question:  What is an acceptable dosage of LaShawnda to share in any particular envionment?

This summer, I have learned and shared boldly this jem: A person’s inabilty to accept who I am is not my problem.

I don’t need to make excuses for the woman I am. I don’t need to subjugate the person I am to accomodate another person’s sense of who they are. If I can’t be who I am in any given interaction with another person, then they don’t need to be interacting with me. I don’t need to waste my time or my energy trying to figure them out. I can keep moving unemcumbered so I can openly greet the person(s) on my path who are ready to openly greet me in return.

I will no longer hide the fullness of my personality so others can be comfortable in their shallowness.

Today, ask yourself how big your brave is. Don’t shy away from your answer. Embrace it. Then pursue it. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave!   

SONG & VERSE: BRAVE by Sara Bareilles

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you
 
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
 
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
 
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave
 
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave
 
Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is
 
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
 
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
 
Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?
 
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
 
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
 
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave (Repeat 3x’s)
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