Do Not Shrink


I see you, sis. Crouching down in your chair hoping not to be seen. Sitting quietly and timidly—probably fake texting someone so you look busy. You're not busy, you're uncomfortable. You're trying your hardest not to be awkward; not to appear out of place. Unfortunately, the look on your face gives it away.

I saw how you walked into that room, avoiding eye contact as you hurried from the door to your seat. You feel too insignificant to be there, and you worry that others will think the same. So you slip into the background trying not to cause a scene. Trying not to be seen. Because if no one sees you, they can't tell you that you don't belong there. 

Instead of walking into the room as confident as you portrayed to be when you posted that selfie two minutes prior, you shrink. You reduce your value and stay quiet. You silence your thoughts on topics you're most passionate about and play with the silverware. Or your hair. Or your phone. You're present enough to declare that you're there, but not enough to enjoy yourself. Not enough to allow yourself to be seen or heard. You become as irrelevant as you feel by contributing nothing to the moment, or the space you're in. You'd prefer to invalidate yourself before others have the chance to.

You're fearful, insecure, and uncertain. 

They may not see you, sis, but I do. I see you occupying a space you don't think you deserve. I see you sitting quietly with the belief you have nothing to offer. I see you feeling insignificant, not wanting to make your presence known, worried that others will question your relevance and wonder why you're there. Fearful that your existence will mean nothing to the people you're surrounded by.

But clearly, it means enough for you to have been invited. It means enough for you to have been sought after and welcomed. Enough for you to have been allotted a space in that room, that front row, or that board meeting. Enough to occupy space in that life, that heart, or that home. You deserve to be there because God planted you there. And it's time you get up off that wall and work the room. It's time you operate with a confidence you deserve to have; a confidence that proclaims how much you deserve to be there; one that displays how hard you fought to get there. That they need you there. Now is not the time to be timid or fearful. It's the time to be bold. And brave. To be present. Stop shrinking. Stop playing the background. Stop biting your tongue and holding your ideas. Stop hiding your personality. Your smile. Your wit. Your jokes. Stop prohibiting your true self from emerging because the room doesn't quite seem like you; because you don't seem quite like it.

I watch so many women shrink themselves in the presence of other greatness. I watch women's insecurities swallow them whole in big rooms and powerful crowds. I hear women talk so much about a love they don't deserve or an opportunity they shouldn't have. I see women, time and time again, become less than who they are, to appease the likes of those around them. To not be "too much", or "too aggressive", or "too together".   

Frankly, I am tired of it. Tired of watching great women belittle themselves to accomodate the people around them. Tired of watching amazing women critique themselves so bad that they now feel less than. Tired of watching greatness be tossed to the side because the enemy is whispering messages of inferiority and defeat. Tired of seeing young women, old women, brown women, white women—any woman—feel like they don't stand a chance in the position they're in; with the talent they've been gifted; with the calling they have. Tired of hearing 'unworthy' part from the mouths of women clenching onto bitterness from their past and burdens that don't belong to them. God makes no mistakes, and if you're in the room, the front row, or the board meeting, it's because you deserve to be there. It's because you're purposed to be there. Despite your past, your upbringing, or the judgment you cast on yourself, you are supposed to be there. 

You deserve love. You deserve that job. You deserve that pay raise. You deserve that high-rise apartment in the city. You deserve those curves. You deserve loud laughter. You deserve those connections. You deserve those accolades. You deserve everything you set out to get, and you damned sure deserve to be in that room. And that front row. And that board meeting. It's time you stop feeling empty; useless; irrelevant. Start recognizing the power that lies within. It's time you start acting like you have the right to be there. 
And it's time you stop shrinking. 

Instead, own this moment. Own that front row seat. And own your spot in that board meeting. It is yours for a reason. 

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