When I was 16, I worked a part-time job in a small breakfast and lunch restaurant for 5 weeks, saving every single penny of what I earned to be able to purchase my guitar. I kept all this money in a small band-aid tin until I had enough to go shopping. It was such an exciting day. Two friends drove me to the store and advised me which guitar I should buy. I still picture that day. Not only did I have enough to pay cash for that guitar, I also could buy a capo!!!
As I learned to play, I discovered my anthem. A simple little song called “If I Had Wings” sung by the wonderful folk trio Peter Paul and Mary. (Okay, now I am dating myself – yes it was in the 1960’s)
“If I had wings, no one would ask me should I fly. The bird sings and no one asks her why. I can see in myself, wings as I feel them. If you see something else, keep your thoughts to yourself. I’ll fly free then.”
Each time I played and sang this, I was claiming my uniqueness, my self, knowing I was different, liking it and yet, struggling with it. It is hard to feel like you don’t fit in. Playing this song I told myself over and over that it was okay to be me. Someday, somewhere, I would “fit in”.
And thus my quest to know me, to accept me, to love me began. I knew I didn’t belong in my hometown and when I returned from college, it was only a month before I moved into my own place and within three years, I moved out completely.
I challenged my family with my choice of life partner, having a child first and then getting married, and marrying an African-American man. There were family members who found that this focused on their own prejudices that they had to work out. My mom didn’t speak to me for two years until she sorted things out. We never pressed anyone to accept us on either side. This was our relationship, our life, and we would live it in an honest, loving way. It’s been 42 years and we are still together.
I chose to work in a social services world while my other family members all chose corporate. I opted to become entrepreneurial, like my dad, but again, unlike my siblings. I lived, and still live, in a rich multicultural world, unlike the rest. I explored injustice on so many levels, coming to an appreciation of the struggles so many face by virtue of being different from the mainstream.
“Yesterday’s eyes see their colors fading away. They see their sun turning to grey. You can’t share in a dream you don’t believe in. If you say that you see and pretend to be me, You won’t be then.”
Over the last few years, I’ve looked inward, deeper than before, to truly understand my uniqueness. I needed to examine my stories, my personal folklore, if you will. I had to open the hurts and set them free. Living yourself does come with hurts that you choose to ignore and move on from. Eventually, though, they need to be reckoned with and I found developing an oracle practice was an immeasurable help, bringing perspective and thought-provoking insight into me. So many mornings I’d pull a card, read the guidebook and go “huh”. The psychology of the messages of the cards was enlightening.
The next major turning point of my journey was discovering Human Design, and the delving into it deeply, studying it and ultimately becoming certified. I finally had all the puzzle pieces of myself in one place. This is who I am designed to be. I had language for who I am, descriptions that gave me such joy and relief that I wasn’t weird like I had been told much younger. The more I became aware of me, the more I acknowledged me and accepted all parts of me, my talents, my intellect, my skills, my faults, I learned to love me in spite of and despite them. I now allow all of me to exist comfortably, peacefully and have emerged from the shadow of fear.
This song has come back into my mind, loudly. I look at the lyrics and thank the teenage April for knowing she was her own person, even if she didn’t know what that meant back then. I am grateful to her for finding this song and claiming it as hers. As mine.
“How can you ask if I’m happy going my way? You may as well ask a child to play. There’s no need to discuss or understand me. I won’t ask of myself to become something else, I’ll just be me”.
We all struggle with being ourselves at times. Sometimes it isn’t a hard one and other times it is. If you find that you are looking for your wings, looking to fly freely, wanting to just be you, I invite you to start with a Quantum Human Design Foundation Reading. It will open windows for you and you will begin to truly appreciate all that you are.
P.S. I still have that guitar. I don’t play any longer and it occupies valuable closet space but I can’t bear to part with it. It is a symbol for me of becoming me.
Note: If I Had Wings was written by Rivers Rutherford, Frank Rogers and Darious Rucker.