Showing Up

Photograph of the cover of How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong

I’ve been reflecting a lot this weekend on how I show up and who I show up for.

I started rereading How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community by Mia Birdsong, a book that was gifted to me during an earlier part of the pandemic by my dear Sister-Friend, Ruchi, and that I had read then, but in a different space and place.

In coming to it this weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about chosen family and the ways I show up for community and how I allow community to show up for me. This has been particularly in my heart in the wake of the ClubQ shootings and as we approach the 10th anniversary of Sandy Hook.

I think about my LGBTQIA siblings; I think about my own brother and my nephews and their town; and I think a lot about how to show up, using my platform, positions of power, and proximity as ways to hold space, reach out, speak out, or do work unseen, all grounded in love and community and centering those who are suffering most.

I have also been thinking about how I show up, given that this has been an incredibly busy and challenging time for me, and will be, for the next few weeks, a time in which I need to be fully present, as much as possible, while holding space my own continued grief, for the trauma and loss of people that I hold dear, and while also helping my sister with an unexpected move and my daughter with unexpected and lingering unemployment.

All of this leads me to the realization that I cannot show up (fully, authentically, truly) for others when I am not showing up for myself.

This is funny to me, in some ways, because my whole life has been about compartmentalization, and showing up for others in spite of a profound lack of connection to my own heart and longings. But showing up in that way has left me at a loss, exhausted, and in many ways broken.

I have been on a journey to reconnect with myself, and in finding myself, to find my community.

I have been on a journey to reconnect with my community, and in finding my community, to find myself.

In this moment on this journey, I know that I can only do what I can do right now, that this is the best I can do. The limits of the grace I can show to others, and the space I can hold for them, and the ways I can show up, is bound in the ways that I show up for myself and in the ways that I call upon and connect with community in ways that allow them to show up for me.

I am trying to let go of the guilt of not doing more.

I am trying to remember that I am enough.

I am trying to feel with each breath that those I love know that I am always with them, and that our love for one another is not contingent on what I can or cannot do in a moment, because we journey together over a lifetime.

I am trying to hold on to love and rest as resistance.

There will be other opportunities to show up if I cannot show up today.

But I need to be around to show up for them.

I have been reminded in the ways that those I love have shown up for me recently that my life matters deeply, that needing to rest is human, and that I do not need to keep running. I can simply be, and the next right thing will come to me. I can simply be, in all of the complexity that being may bring, and feel the love of those around me.

That love, and that being, will bring forth my love, and my authentic voice, which will speak in its time.

There is nothing to prove to anyone.

Those who need to know have always known or will come to know, and those who do not understand cannot be convinced. Those who feel my heart are connected in ways that need not be seen or known.

I just need to work on trust, trusting myself, trusting those I love, trusting community, trusting that in whatever time I have left, what is mine to do will be done.

I am showing up as best I can, for myself, and for those I love.

And that is enough.

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