the thing about being who are

I was once afraid of people saying, “Who does she think she is?” Now I stand and say, “This is who I am.” –Oprah

I absolutely love this! It is THE story of my life in a basic little line. It is the evolution from girl to woman simply put. It is a truism for any evolving woman. It is the #struggle. It is the TRIUMPH!

Standing and saying those words to the world is the most freeing and liberating feeling I’ve ever experienced. “This is who I am.”

Owning and LOVING myself for everything that I am and am not, oh MY GOD… It’s why I write. It’s why I share. It’s what I hope to inspire women to do for themselves: To discover how beautiful they are, and how much more beautiful they are because of their victories in life. To know that there is no victory without #struggle. And to understand that the #struggle makes us smarter, sharper, more capable, wiser, better.

And most importantly, that we are all so connected, so similar, so linked in our journeys.

We have more in common than we dare to consider, because we’re too busy focusing on the things that separate us. If we would only open our eyes, our mind, and hearts. We are surrounded by beauty. Power. Intelligence. Strength. Experience. Wisdom. Knowledge. Truth. Compassion. And most of all, Love.

Regardless of where we’ve individually come from, we are all built the same. We are cut from the same cloth and carry a common thread that fuses us all together.

And if the truth be told, we are similar NOT in SPITE of our differences, BUT BECAUSE of them.

“This is who I am,” when said with conviction, can be the most powerful statement of one’s life.

Recently, a girlfriend of mine enlightened me:

I was speaking of my past indiscretions and how they truly could have ruined my name. I also shared how perfectly aware I am of how awful the scenario must have looked to outsiders. Her response was so matter of fact. She said, “Yeah, but you don’t leave any room for judgment, Brandie. You carry no lingering shame, and so it doesn’t allow people to dwell on it either. You’re like, yeah that happened… this is what I learned… let’s move on, shall we?.”

I’d never thought of it like that. I’d never considered where I might be had I never owned up to, confessed, and released the guilt of my poor decisions. I might still be living in the aftermath of something that happened years ago.

I imagine there are people that way. Stuck in the same guilt. The same blame. The same shame of years passed. They’ve never broken free of that. They don’t know how.


Forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself.

No, really, forgive yourself for not being perfect…

I could stop right here and have a good cry, because from the moment my mistake happened I carried a burden so heavy. And I carried it all alone. It weighed and weighed on me until I had to release it, or be consumed by it. IT. WAS. HARD. to forgive myself. Honestly, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. To make my mind stop reminding me of what a horrible thing I’d done.

Even worse? I couldn’t accept God’s forgiveness, either.

I knew that He would forgive me, but it’s like I just couldn’t accept His offer. I’d think, “No, God, You’re too generous. I know you’re saying I can have it, but I just can’t. I can’t accept this from You. Thanks, but I… I just don’t deserve it.”

Pause. Feeling the tears burn now.

That’s a hard place to be. I get it. I get how you get stuck there. But you have to decide that you’re not going to allow your imperfections, your mistakes, your past… to define who you are ultimately going to be. You’re going to be incredible. You’re going to be extraordinary. You’re going to be someone’s amazing wife, mother, friend, nurturer, teacher, or whatever it is you’re going to be…

I had to start believing that more than I believed I was unforgivable.

Once I forgave myself, and accepted God’s forgiveness things really began to makes sense to me.

The acceptance piece was huge. HUGE!

I not only accepted my imperfections, but also acknowledged them as the most ordinary part of me. That acknowledgment freed my mind of unwanted thoughts of people’s criticisms towards me. I once again understood my worth. I thought to myself, “I mean, if God still loves me, clearly, I am of distinguished value.”

My confidence increased. My compassion grew more Christ-like. My awareness of self matured.

And then.

I knew and declared,

“This is WHO I am.”

And. No lie…

As opposed to making people turn away…

Those words drew more people to me than I ever imagined. I was suddenly made acutely aware of how akin we all are. My openness allowed others to feel safe enough to do the same. I realized just how much we need each other.

I am amazed daily at how all things work together for our good. Completely amazed.

If only we could all begin to accept it all: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the in-between.

If we could stop worrying about people saying, “Who does she think she is…”

We would all be living, freely as EXACTLY WHO we are!


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© 2018 by Brandie Freely