“Go ahead, Judy, talk to your father. What do you want to say?” With these words offered by my favorite Aunt Mimi, I was given the greatest gift-the gift of myself.
Mimi and I had gone on an aunt-niece shopping adventure, and at age 15, I became the proud owner of my first mini-skirt. Upon seeing it, my dad hit the roof, and as usual, I was angry, scared, and tongue-tied. Years of admonitions to not “talk back,” had my voice stopped in my throat.
Before that moment, I believe I didn’t know that I could have wishes of my own, schooled as I was in pleasing others. How could I speak my thoughts if I didn’t know I had them? But with Mimi at my side, I was emboldened. I had an ally. And I found words.
I opened my mouth and talked to my father. I don’t remember exactly what I said – it’s not important anyway. What’s important is that I talked to him. I found my self – my sense of authority over what I wanted to wear and why, my feelings in that moment, and the quiet power that comes with the acknowledgment of these things.
Every time words get stuck in my throat, that moment comes to me, and I think: “Judy, what do you want to say?” And I find my self, and the words come.
This was the greatest gift I ever received from another human being. And it was a gift I could share with my father. As I found the weight of my own convictions, I was able to communicate with him in a new way – not to hurt, retaliate, prove a point, or to show him how wrong he was, but to remove a barrier and let him see a part of me I’d not ventured to show before. It was a gift to both of us.
In the spirit of giving, what will you give yourself and your relationships? Is there a “stuckness” somewhere that could be freed up by finding your center and communicating in a new way with someone you love? Are you hiding? Or are you expecting someone to guess your feelings? Give them and yourself the greatest gift.