When I was little, I used to take the cat into the bathroom with me, so I could hold it on my lap while I sat on the toilet, to feel its soft belly on my bare thighs. Naked, safe, innocent. And yet, in telling you this, I feel a little shame for how it will be interpreted. I yearn for that safe/naked/innocent feeling with my art, and yet how can I expect that when I want to explore imagery that is taboo, or uncomfortable?
But in this way, I am a leader. I'm often the first to share (perhaps overshare) in conversations and in therapeutic groups. Often, I do not feel received when I do this, and that is okay. Always, someone will pull me aside later to say how much they appreciate my ability to speak my truth, that it made it feel safer for them to.
My willingness to question, to be in a liminal space, to not know, to wallow in the grey, it is often misinterpreted as ignorance, or a request for advice. And advise me people do, stumbling into my mental space with off key pragmatism, when all I really want is to know that I am not alone.
In many social spaces I am alone. The batty goofball, if I talk - so I usually don't. My intelligence, expertise, and experience are dismissed or unseen, because one thing I have not yet learned is when it is okay to be sure, to stand in what I know, to stop exploring certain questions and just go with a best answer for a while.
I need to risk presenting myself as someone who has something to offer instead of giggling. I need to stop tolerating it when I am interrupted or talked over when I speak from a place of strength. And I need to learn to speak from that place of strength instead of only speaking from my willingness to be vulnerable.