I was having lunch with a friend today and she was telling me that recently she had hit this point in her life where she was more aware, more confident, and as she was searching for the right word, she uttered this incredible phrase, "I'm just ready to be unapologetically me." In that moment those words struck me as powerful and true, but as lunch continued and as the day went on, I kept reflecting back to those words "Unapologetically Me." What does that mean? It resonated within me so deeply.
3 years ago on September 16th my dad passed away. It wasn't unexpected but the Doctor's had told us that he'd have another 6-12 months and well, a month later it was his time to go. His passing wasn't just hard. It has been at times down right torturous. I had never experienced a loss of this kind before and while grief and loss is different for each person, losing a parent is something so unreal, so hard to explain... I remember the first 3 months I somewhat ceased to exist. All I could do was go to work, feed myself (drive through meals because cooking or socializing at a restaurant was 100% not going to happen), and shower. Some days I didn't even brush my teeth. I know that was gross but hey, I'm here to be authentic. After the 3 month mark, I started to come out of my house more and could also occasionally be social but not much. It took a year before I didn't cry each and every time I thought or talked about him. It took a year before this pressure around my heart and chest started to dissipate but not completely leave. At a year I remember consciously choosing to "put some of this grief away" because I felt like I couldn't possibly handle another moment feeling this way, and a year of my life had flown by and was gone. I had a lot of beauty and connection in that year, but I missed a lot of things too. So, for the last 2 years, I have been grieving in pockets of time so that I could still give myself time and space to grieve, but to also become more of a functional human being again.
Now, here is the thing that people don't tell you about grief. It often comes with a whole side dish of guilt. And not the normal guilt of, "If only I could have said goodbye one last time or I love you..." I"m talking about the guilt for still being alive. The guilt for having choices and opportunities to live when your loved one who has passed doesn't. The guilt for enjoying ice cream when they can't, the guilt for smiling and laughing when they aren't here to share it with you, and the guilt for simply just being here when they aren't. Now, I don't want you to think that I've been miserable these last few years and not living my life. On the contrary, I have had incredible moments of building an amazing business, meeting some incredible people, and getting married to my love! I have enjoyed all of these wonderful moments and so many more while at the same time also having moments of grief and guilt. For the longest time I couldn't articulate the guilt, I couldn't understand it and so I avoided it. But recently I started seeing it more clearly and today when my friend uttered those words, "Unapologetically Me..." It was like a light bulb going off.
I realized that I had been apologizing to my Dad subconsciously for living my life and being happy. Wow! Some truth tears fell and they come again now as I write this...Here is the crazy thing. My Dad would 100% not want me to apologize for living. In fact, my Dad was often really good at pushing me to be better and to take chances, even in ways that maybe weren't always so nice. As the truth tears came faster and as these revelations hit me, I realized that it isn't only in grief that we allow guilt to apologize for living, it is wrapped up in so many of the roles that we play and the expectations that others have placed on us.
Why on earth should we ever feel guilty for being who we are and living our life as we see fit? But it happens all the time with gender, race, sexual orientation, culturally, and so many more... So much sadness...So many people who are holding back their beautiful selves out of guilt, fear, shame... It has to STOP!
"Unapologetically Me" IS GRABBING LIFE BY THE FREAKING HORNS AND STANDING FULLY IN YOUR AUTHENTIC GLORY OF EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU WHO YOU ARE AND LIVING THE CRAP OUT OF LIFE IN ALL OF YOUR RAW AND POWERFUL BEAUTY!!!
Why are we waiting? Think of what were missing and what the world is missing because we're apologizing for who we are. How different would life look life if we stopped apologizing for who we are and we instead stepped up to the glory of being "Unapologetically Me?"
There is only one way to find out my beautiful amazing human beings...See you all there! ;) xoxo
Tabitha enjoys living in Tucson, Arizona with her husband Jared, and her adorable doggies Shadow & Scooby. Stay tuned for Tabitha's upcoming book Serendipity in which she takes us through her time in Africa.