You Do Not Have To Be Good

I was reminded of this poem by Mary Oliver recently. The entire poem is pretty amazing but every time I read these lines, it’s as if something in my soul just exhales.

Mary Oliver quoteI think, as women, we spend an awful lot of our time wishing away the things our heart and soul truly desire or worse yet numbing them away. We think we “shouldn’t” want the things we want because well it’s not “right”; thereby, giving someone else permission to decide what is or is not right for us. Our hopes and dreams are based on the expectations of others and not on what’s happening in our hearts. And quite frankly, I’m tired of it.

For too long I lived my life trying to be what people said I should be. I stuffed dreams and desires because they were not what was expected of me and somewhere along the way I lost sight of the me I was meant to be. I apologized for not being what “they” said I should be. I repented for not loving the things they said I should love or for loving the things I was not supposed to love. But then it got exhausting. It got exhausting trying to be what everyone else said I should be when I just wanted to be who I am.

I want to love what I love, without apology. I want to let this soft animal of my body just be what it is. I want to meet my body and my heart and my soul with kindness and grace. I want to do the things that feel right and pure and holy for me.

I want to embrace the sacred and the mystery of the Divine. I don’t want to have all the answers, instead I want to grow more comfortable with the questions. More than anything I want to stop living someone else’s version of my life and rise into the story I was born to live.

I wonder what it would look like if more of us women chose to be so brave. To let go of the expectations of others and just be who we are, without apology. To stand up and say this is who I am! This is the work I believe I am meant to offer the world! This is me claiming my voice…my story!

This is my heart’s desire, to see women rise up from under the weight of shame because the narrative in our heart doesn’t fit the one we are “supposed” to be writing. To get out from under the power of voices that tell us we are not enough and our story doesn’t matter. To rise above the preconceived notions about who we can become and what we can do because of our gender or our race or our economic status. To stand up against the forces that would demand that we play some part that makes “them” more comfortable.

I’m done watching us allow society and well meaning family and friends decide the outcome of our story. It’s time for us to take back our power. It’s time for us to own our stories and our voices. It’s time for us to remind the world that we are WOMAN!


What voices are you fighting to quiet in your heart? What expectations are you desperate to let go? I would love to hear more of your journey in the comments below.


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