I move and cry.
Cry and move.
Every night when I come home from the hospital where mom is suffering from Shingles, Dementia and a broken hip, I check in with my teenage daughters, close my bedroom door, fall on my yoga mat, and let the tightly packed tears flow.
Sometimes I simply lie in child’s pose and let the voice from the latest free class on yogagirl.com cleanse my grief. I move and cry. Cry and move.
I discovered Rachel and the Yoga Girl community on Instagram about a year ago. I was drawn to her willingness to be vulnerable, lean into discomfort, and live ‘From the Heart’. Sharing publicly her triumphs and failures, courage and fears, love and losses, she reminds me daily that joy and pain do in fact co-exist.
I need that knowledge more than ever now, as I co-exist with mom’s declining health.
Mom defined her life by her ability and love of public speaking. One of her favorite stories to retell is when she was eight years old and the hard of hearing school principal coached her from the back of the auditorium. “Speak up, Norma. Enunciate!” All her life she used her voice on various platforms to speak for those who couldn’t - or more accurately - those not listened to - advocating for children, the elderly and the LGBTQ community. She didn’t have Instagram back then, but her influence was far reaching.
Last year as her words increasingly faltered from Dementia, I found myself joining a Toastmaster’s group to brush up on my own public speaking skills. As I awkwardly struggled with darting eye contact, unfamiliar arm gestures, and a squeaky pitch, I finally grasped that what I was truly striving for was a legacy for mom’s voice through my own. “Speak up, Linda. Enunciate”.
Rachel herself has come under attack for speaking up on controversial topics like racism, police brutality and cultural appropriation, but it does not stop her. She raises her chin and flashes her eyes defiantly, “I will continue despite criticism, despite judgment, even despite my own self judgment. I will continue to use my platform, my voice and my body to make room for other people’s voices to be heard.”
Inspired by Rachel’s willingness to lean into discomfort, I started my own writing business and am expanding into public speaking education for women and girls - to help them communicate their stories and truth effectively in front of an audience. Rachel Cargyle, one of Rachel’s ‘From the Heart’ podcast guests, challenges white women to recognize their privilege and actively fight systemic racism, so I am making sure I provide opportunity for women of color in my workshops to be heard.
It is an important time to tell our stories, to find strength and solidarity in our voices. Many of us though, suffer from fear of judgment, shame and old-fashioned fear of not being liked that prevents us from speaking up. I am helping women and girls face these fears, use their voices, and tell their stories to transform their lives and the world.
“Leave safety behind. Put your body on the line. Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind – even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say. Well-aimed slingshots can topple giants.”
Mom used her voice as a slingshot to topple her fair share of giants. She knew there was power in being the one with the microphone.
So take the microphone and speak. And more importantly pass the microphone to women of color, and listen. Truly listen.
Like I will listen to Mom’s stories over and over.
Move and cry.
Cry and move.
Or as another ‘From the Heart’ guest, Glennon Doyle reminds us, “First the pain, then the rising”.
Move and cry.
Cry and Move.
Even if your voice shakes.