I Am Who Am
She stood at her full stature. She took a deep, deep breath. “I am who am!” she noted. “I am who am,” she cried. Her eyes shone as the star light. Her face beamed as the moon. “O yes, I do believe it. O now I know it’s true.”Where did she get that confidence? What made her feel so sure? She smiled a knowing smile and thought of all she’d been through. She thought of all she knew.They’d tried to tell her differently. They’d often knocked her down. They did not want her fullness. They did not want her gifts.
How dare she claim such stature? What gave her such a nerve? She was a woman, that was all. She should not aim so high. “Get in your place,” they shouted. “Stand clear out of the way.” “Get in your place,” they shouted. “Stop standing in our way.”At first she wasn’t certain. At first she thought they knew. Without a word she took her place and followed them through life. The path was narrow, the steps were small, the opportunities were few. “Stay in your place,” they muttered. “Stand clear out of our way.”Her life went by, her feet were sore, her eyes could hardly see. “What is this thing I’m doing?” she asked herself one day. “Why am I so distracted? I’m never really there.” A voice inside her answered, “We’ve lost all hope. We’ve given up. We’re living in despair.”She stopped dead still. She stood upright. She barely even breathed. “Despair is not what I had hoped for. Despair was not my dream. I do not understand what happened. Is this my lot in life? What is this place I’ve been assigned? Is it my only place?The voice inside choked up with tears, and sobbing as it spoke, declared: “There’s nothing else to say. The place we have is very small. The things we do we hate. Our life is hard, our feet are sore, how much longer can we wait?”She’d lived for years with eyes cast down. With eyes that did not see. Her heart was dulled, her ears were plugged. She’d neither seen, nor felt, nor heard. Still startled into breathlessness, still standing tall and still, she looked inside and saw despair. She listened and she heard.Time passed. She’d still not moved. She’d still not even breathed. With eyes cast inward and ears attuned, she wallowed in despair. Its stifling smell, its blackened hue, its noise devoid of sound. For years she died within its grasp, immersed in death’s despair.“Awareness killed me,” she cried out. “To know it is to die. I am despairing in my heart. I am despairing in my soul. My life was ruined once I knew. To know is just to die.”For years she stayed in nothingness, devoid of any hope. For years she was this nothingness, blocked out and dead inside. Then over time a tiny voice again began to speak. “I need to tell you something else. We chose to die in our despair. This nothingness has wiped us out. We’re caught up in the void. I told you so you’d finally know, but knowing is not to die.”A flicker stirred within her. A tiny little light. She tried to look in at it and slowly she could see. And what she saw she memorized and studied long and hard. Within despair there was a light, if only she would look. Despair was hers, but so was hope. She did not need to die. Whatever lived within her soul was not to fear or dread. She was all that she was, not simply dark or dead.She heard the voice of quiet truth begin to rise and sing. The song within informed her voice. She sang with honest song. It brought her peace, it brought her strength. Its beauty brought her joy. “I am not meant to be one thing. I am not meant to lie. I am not meant to be one thing, and when I am, I die.”The inner voice was smiling. She smiled inside and out. She took her place beside herself. She towered in her height. “I am who am,” she noted. “I am who am,” she cried. Her eyes shone bright as star light. Her face beamed as the moon. “O now I do believe it. O now I know it’s true. This who I am is who I am in many different forms. These forms are me, these forms are mine, and all of them are me. When I despair I have the right. The need and right are mine. But lest I lie, I must recall, I am much more, this I.”“I am who am,” she noted. “I am who am,” she cried. “I am my many, many sides and all of them are me. I cannot take one tiny place. I cannot be relegated to just one. Where I belong is where I am, standing where I choose to be.”She stood at her full stature. She took a deep, deep breath. “I am who am,” she noted. “I am who am,” she cried. Her eyes shone as the starlight. Her face beamed as the moon. “O yes, I do believe it. O now I know it’s true.”“I am who am,” she noted. “I am who am,” she cried.
“I Am Who Am”In reflecting on this tale, I would ask you to consider the evolution from blind conformity to informed choice that occurs in it, and to consider the impact desire has on allowing the woman to move from the despair of blind obedience to the joy of claiming her full stature.Please also ponder the power of the underlying decay that self-deception brings. Not only are we lied to, but we believe the lies and end up lying to ourselves. The miracle of an “awakening” merits deep consideration as we reflect on how an oppressed woman is moved to touch the truth of her alienation: “A flicker stirred within her. A tiny little light. She tried to look in at it and slowly she could see.”I have yet to discover what finally creates the spark that lights up a darkened inner world. To me it comes miraculously. The liberation journey is deliberate but the liberating process has many unexplainable enlightening moments, without which liberation can not exist. It is not solely a cognitive act or a cognitive state. Rather it is an awesome intimacy of imagination, emotion and thought, of body and of spirit, of mind, and yes, of soul.
WOMAN of ACTION – Michele Toomey
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