By Kim Schultz
Last week I attended an event, and after dinner I left to drive home only to find some women outside discussing how they were going to walk to their cars in the dark. After giving the women some directions, I started to walk forward into the darkness when an ever so gentle tender voice emerged from behind me saying “I’m scared”.
The vulnerability in her voice absolutely melted me but after feeling that, instantly ‘the hard Kimberley bush girl’ kicked in and I had to stop myself saying “are you serious?!!”, as in the past I would have walked in the dark with snakes, cookie monsters and all. I became aware of that hardness kicking in from the realisation that my thoughts and the feeling of toughness in my body did not match that sweet tender vulnerable voice. I stopped myself from walking in the dark, found my handy ‘APP’ torch on my phone and guided the way to the car park for me and the other women.
A week later I was lying in bed feeling fragile and was enjoying cuddles with my doggie when next minute I heard this voice from within me so clearly, like it was yesterday, saying “I’m scared”. Feeling those words spoken again with such tenderness I cried and cried until I felt I had just shed 20 layers of hardness away. I did not realise how hard I had made myself to not allow myself to feel scared about anything around others.
After crying I had a clear memory of my childhood; of when I was around 5 years old being forced to use the outside loo. It was dark and there was no outside light which was so scary as spiders lived in there! I would cry as I was so frightened to go outside alone – mum would growl ‘be happy’ that I didn’t have to walk all the way over there in the dark where it used to be and to be thankful it was closer!
It was so clear how I was spoken to, like something was wrong with me, to get on with it and stop being silly. I made sure to not show I was scared again and didn’t even realise I was hardening my gentle little body in the process. I cried deeply, feeling the impact it has had on me to not allow myself to feel scared, and the hardness I used to cover it with.
I remember when one of my friends would stay on the farm with us when I was a child. She would wake me up in the night for me to go to the loo with her. I would be so annoyed because it was like “if I can go out there on my own, well so can she!”. It hurts me now to feel how much I had hardened as we could have held hands and walked outside together, feeling scared.
I am feeling so much sadness realising that I have gone through life like this, but it is such a celebration that now I no longer have to harden to hide that I am scared, from myself and others. WOW!! What a huge celebration to now feel that it is OK to allow myself to feel scared and to express that, without hardening to push through whatever situation. This has given me an incredible freedom – and permission to just be me.
THANK YOU so much to another beautiful tender woman for not hiding that she was scared to walk out in the dark. Having another woman expressing her vulnerability with so much freedom and honesty has cracked me open in more ways than one.
What I have learned: it is so important to express our fragility, our vulnerability, our natural tenderness, to reflect to another that it is ok to feel this way and not to hold the ideal/belief that this is being seen as weak.