Not like a fleeting happiness, or a reaction-to-something-good happiness, but rather a core-level contentedness and well-being. The sort of happy that makes you call everyone you love and leave rambling, giggling messages, interrupting yourself midway through one message to comment on the amazing sunset out the window, which gets interrupted by you breaking out in a huge smile that lasts awhile until you remember that the person on other end of the phone can't hear you smile, and you hang up giggling.
I think I kind of had my very own corn moment.
This bubbling up feeling that started this morning and by evening erupted into full on
A happiness that felt like it had form and body - that felt like I could hold it, and taste it, and smell it, and delight in it with all my senses. It really was a whole body and spirit takeover - pushing out (at least for now) the cobwebs and replacing with them....space. Space that made me laugh and smile and shout out how good I felt!
That's what I wanted and needed: space. Space to be reflective. Space to be encouraged. Space to be confident in myself and my dreams. Space to name those dreams and be unafraid.
It's very simple really. Or, at least, if I really think about it, I have a feeling I know where the first shake came from, where the bubbling began.
This morning I had a rather spontaneous coffee with a coworker who has been at my organization for a few decades and just put in his resignation. I don't know him very well, but I wanted to make sure I built a bridge between us before he left because I want to know him and be a connection. I invited him for coffee saying I wanted to hear about his new job, but instead quite unexpectedly he showed me much more: he showed me who he really is. He talked candidly about his frustrations with our current employer, his dreams, and what he's learned in the three decades he has been in the workforce. He talked about himself openly and honestly. He shared without censorship. And then he asked if I was happy in my job or if I too felt a pull elsewhere.
He invited my truth, and I gave it without questioning.
To which he told me that he sees me as someone committed to advocacy: someone who needs to be working for something they deeply believe in. He told me to forgive him if he was wrong, but if my current job isn't the place that I can fight for something I believe in, as he thinks I need to in order to be happy, I should look for a new opportunity where I can do this sort of work.
I guess it stunned me a little. It stunned me to have someone I barely know see me so clearly. To nail it. To know who I am at my core.
That being said, hearing him interpret who I am was like a big duh. I mean just yesterday I saw this quote on my fridge within a postcard about how to build community: "Nobody is silent, but not everybody is heard. Work to change this." And I thought to myself: I think maybe that's my life's work in a nutshell.
I guess the thing is, for better or worse, I needed someone else to say practically the same thing to me in order to really hear it. I needed someone else to say it to erase the maybe. And who it was was important too: I listened more closely when I realized someone unexpected really saw me. It made me think that who I am is clear to everyone but me. I need to have confidence in what I have to offer and what I want to build.
What do you know? When I felt seen and heard, the whole world looked different. More approachable, welcoming.