On June 2nd, I was one of the speakers for Unveiled Beauty: Cultivating YOU!, the empowering event series created for women, by women. Its mission is to create intimate spaces for women to gather and embrace life’s journey through storytelling, knowledge and sisterhood. Several months before this event, I received the invitation to speak from Lisa Harris, owner of the Unveiled Beauty platform. I felt honored to be included among the amazing women gracing the stage and excited to speak on my journey. At first I didn’t know which story to tell since so many experiences have led me to become the woman I am today. Lisa told me I would have only 15 minutes to deliver my speech and I knew it would need to be powerful.
I began my five-month journey that day, contemplating exactly which story I should tell. I knew I was facing a couple of challenges. I must admit I can be very detailed in my stories and people sometimes lose the real meaning of what I'm trying to say. Furthermore, I often don’t like talking about myself and telling my story has always been difficult. I saw this speech as an opportunity for me to push my boundaries and be vulnerable in revealing my truth. I dove in deep and focused on articulating my story. As time progressed, my speech started to take shape, and I was proud of my ability to distill my journey into such a short time frame. I named my speech “Reclaim Your Power”, not quite realizing how appropriate this title would prove to be.
June 2nd arrived. I was one of three women giving a speech that evening and the event was the last of the season. The room was full, with a hundred women awaiting my story. As I approached the microphone, I was almost overwhelmed by how far I had come to stand there in front of them. I remembered all those moments in my past when I had given away my power and felt voiceless. Tonight would be different. I set aside my doubts and began to speak. My audience gave me their full attention, and as I spoke I grew more and more confident in my voice. I couldn’t believe I had overcome so much and lived to tell this tale. Before I knew it, my time was up and the speech that I worked on for so long was complete.
I shifted! In speaking about reclaiming my power, I had done just that. My journey to the stage was a reflective and transformative experience. I realized that through all my struggles, all that mattered was the wisdom I gained and the lessons that I learned along the way. The habitual behavioral patterns I spoke about started when I was a child and followed me into adulthood. This connection became crystal clear to me during the time I was writing my speech. This process cleared up my “why”, and allowed me to connect with my past, present and future in a different way.
I learned that there is power in storytelling. I realized that I am not alone in my experience and voicing my story is important. Not telling my story robs another person of the chance to hear it and relate to it. For many years, I felt that my experiences were not worth talking about, and that was just how it is. Over time, I gave away my power to things that didn’t serve me, and somewhere along the way I lost my voice. Nobody can give you power. No one else can tell your story. It is up to you to reclaim your power and forge your path. I stand in my power today to tell you that while this process is difficult, it’s well worth the effort. Your voice matters. Listen to it.
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