I'm not sure where I thought I'd "be" at this stage of my life. Sure, I had a certain set of expectations for myself, but I never knew what I wanted badly enough to create one of those 'life timelines' that keeps women feeling old and flawed. You know..."great job by 26, married by 28, first kid by 30..." I'm thankful for this, because I've pressured myself in enough other ways to make life plenty challenging without the heart beat of a definitive timeline screaming, "YOU ARE RUNNING LATE".
That being said, I spent 31 doubting and questioning myself more than normal...and I have to say, not much feels worse than constant self-discriminating thoughts and hate filled self talk. Ugh.
I've become the woman that beats herself up for every past mistake, every french fry, every missed workout, failed product launch, bad hair day, and mediocre sex session...
And this is just the short list! The very short list.
My doubts have grown from small innocent seedlings to intruding ancient cedars in what feels no time. Is it even possible to learn to hate yourself SO MUCH in just one year? Or am I mistaken? Have these self doubts always lingered and only recently been magnified with age? With bigger failures? With motherhood? With the new cellulite of said motherhood?
Either way, this past year, I found these thoughts debilitating on many occasions. Tiring. Hurtful. Persistent. Chaotic. Uncontrollable. Scary. Painful. Frustrating. Impossible.
And there were many days and instances that I didn't attempt something, or "go for it" - not because my soul didn't want to - but because my mind said I wasn't capable, or worthy, or strong enough.
Or loved, determined, or pretty enough...
Or generous, educated, or rich enough...
Or successful, or funny, or fluent enough...
Oh 31. So many "not enoughs". So many stories. So many endings that were stolen by the demon hands of self-doubt and total lack of self confidence.
I was not always this way, full of doubt and shame. So what happened that turned my once biggest fan into my toughest critic?
I realized how loud this voice had gotten when I learned that other people could hear it too. I was at a party when a friend said, "you're the most beautiful pregnant woman, you're literally glowing - and the shame is, you can't even see it."
I can't even remember who this friend was because all I can hear is the message, and everything it secretly (or not so secretly) represents.
When did I become so blind to my own beauty? How long ago did I start feeling this ugly?
Writing these thoughts down makes me feel sad. Sad for my soul and all she's endured to get me here - how could I speak so poorly to the thing that's gotten me through so much darkness? Sad for my body and all she's climbed to stay strong, to grow two beautiful babies, to age with her health and grace intact. Sad for my mind, that I have let her get so lost...and maybe most vulnerably, sad for my family.
Sad for my daughters who deserve a mother who speaks to herself with only love.
So today is the day, and 32 is the year, that I choose to rewrite this story for myself. For my daughters. For the women I lead, for my nieces, my husband, my peers, my brothers, and all the strangers of the world who need me to lead by example of what it means to love oneself fully....despite, and including, the entirety of my past.
It is this year that I will walk bravely towards that place within myself and find safety in love.
There will be no devastation there. No judgement or constant criticism. There will no hate messages scribbled on the walls, no cracked mirrors to sabotage my reflection. There will be no sea of critics waiting to tear my dreams apart with their doubt, no shame perched on the shelves, no need for confirmation, no self deprecation, and certainly no lack of self worth, self acceptance, inner peace, and joy.
I don't have a map to get there - to that place. I don't know the exact roads to take, hills to climb, or path to forge to wind up at the door that says, "WELCOME! You've arrived at your safe place where only self love exists!"
No, I don't have the directions to that place.
But I do have tools. And I have determination. I have a desire to not only find my way to that place, but to live there entirely for all of my days. To act from this place, to think from this place, and to love from this place.
Because there, at that place within myself that knows I am made of pure love - I can be the loving, creative, light, generous, inspiring, wild hearted, contagious, successful, sensual, compassionate woman I was born to be. I can change the world from this place.
And that not only sounds safe to me, but it sounds pretty fucking exciting too!
So, here I am, it's my birthday, and I feel a rebirth of something new within me. With deep inhales and lengthened exhales, I am ready to forge the path ahead with a strong back and a soft heart, to make my way into the wilderness (thank you Brene Brown).
Here, Robyn Catherine Elizabeth Savage, is to loving all of you. The unknowns, the too painful to remembers, the rivers of grief, the mistakes that inspired growth, and every flaw, wrinkle, and failure that makes you a remarkable human being...
One worth celebrating!
To your womanhood and new devotion to loving yourself first, Happy Birthday!
Your inner Self, xo