I’ve known about this phenomenon for some time now: the deception of appearance that’s visited on people who don’t have reason to know my chronological age. To these people I appear younger than the thirty-five-year-and-six month-old (almost seven) that I am. And it’s so interesting that when I reveal my age those who think otherwise, that I often get “complimented” for looking like I’ve been here for less time.
It’s interesting, but it’s not. I think the first lesson-of-the-world I was taught is that I’m not supposed to take up much space. That’s about physical space – the world would prefer me to be smaller. That’s about my voice – the world would prefer to keep me quiet, or quieter, lest I cause any trouble or have reason to be heard. And as I’ve spent more time taking up space on the planet, the “less” becomes about the time I’ve been here. As I age, I learn the world would prefer me to be here for less time that I’ve been.
And maybe I could lose weight. Maybe, just maybe, I could speak softly. Maybe I could not write this, and publish it, and have you read it – so my thoughts don’t take up space in the internet, or in your mind. But the one thing I cannot change is the amount of time I’ve been on the planet.
Time spent is time spent and even if I appear younger, I can’t go backwards. Time continues even if we don’t feel it. And with time comes change; even if you don’t do too much we organisms are meant to wind down our functions at a point. Whatever your opinion is on death, its inevitability is uncontroverted. So those who compliment me because I look like I’ve been here for less time than I have are essentially complimenting me for leading them to believe that I’m not as close to death as they thought.
But then, I don’t know when I’m going to die. So many things can kill us before the natural wind-down comes through. Before that point I will indeed take up space on the planet. My voice will be here whether I use it or not. And I’ve been gifted with the ability to put that “voice” in word form and carry messages forth. So what am I doing here on the planet, with my time, if I’m not using my space to its capacity?
I’m exploring all of this here because I haven’t been taking full advantage of the space I occupy, I feel. I believe I have a voice and a gift for words that I do use but could be using more. I have a vision of how my space voice could be used differently, a way that could actually help me while I help a great deal of people. I’ve been afraid of this vision though.
Many years ago I went to an event held by a very popular blogger and in attendance was another very popular blogger, who I’ll call Amy (not her real name). I had just found Amy’s blog maybe a week before the event. It was a great blog, so when I spotted Amy I approached her politely and said, “Hi, are you Amy from Amy’s Blog? I just found your blog, and it’s really great.” She affirmed she was Amy, but with a look of terror. I wish that was an exaggeration. She didn’t even thank me. She said goodbye to a person nearby and walked out of the party. I was put off by that, I’ll admit. But I have sporadically kept up with her blog and social media posts since that event because Amy puts out great content. And in the years since that encounter, my dream has been to be a blogger/writer/influencer-for-pay, kind of like Amy and many other bloggers who share their passion with words and images and inspire thousands or millions.
I intend to be a writer and influencer, sharing my passion with words and images to inspire.
I’ve started and stopped trying to realize this dream because I did not believe I could live that life. That’s the truth. Walking with the learning of “smaller is better” I’ve played it smallish. I am an attorney and a model after all. But I still doubt my voice; I still question my space. That’s the truth.
While thoughts of my playing it small have haunted me for years, I’ve felt an urgent call to action to use my voice since my 35th birthday in May. And because the Universe is kind, it has put Amy in my face in a way I couldn’t miss over the past few weeks, including a moment last week where Amy was walking through my office past my cubicle. I do not know her connection to my office, but the same Amy who ran away after I told her I liked her blog a billion years ago visited my office and walked past my cubicle last week. I’m not sure she recognized me, but she most definitely saw me, as I saw her look down at my cubicle and give me a half-smile.
And it just feels like the Universe wants me to get going. I’ve been given the space for my gift. I don’t think I can squander it anymore.
And to speak on that further: I made a friend recently who knows little bit about my writing ambitions, and after hearing about Amy, he gave me a writing prompt and a deadline to respond. If you’ve enjoyed this, thank my friend.