In Australia, we grow up with ta keen understanding of the Tall Poppy Syndrome. “Don’t stick your head up above the others or you’ll get it chopped off.” That’s what my mother and grandmother said to me out loud.
My parents each had a different reason for not wanting me in the spotlight (at least from my point of view, and that of my Spirit guides – I haven’t asked my parents).
In my mother’s experience, it was very, very risky for her to be herself. She was a single mother (her husband had been abusive) in a very sexist environment in 60s Australia (think 1950s Midwest USA). Unwed mothers were deemed unfit mothers. Working mothers were deemed responsible for juvenile delinquency. Employers discriminated on age, gender, even body measurements. My mother chose to hide a lot about herself to survive. And that was the wise choice.
My father placed the value of an education that would prepare me for a profession above all else. He directed me into law school and away from business, theatre, and any kind of independent or creative project. My father had supported and protected his siblings, without much formal education, from the age of 14. He’d had to survive on his wit and hustle and it was bloody hard. So, this was the wise choice for him to make for me.
My parents were trying to protect me, but it embedded fear in me that was not useful to me.
I have been fighting with the belief that “it’s unsafe to express myself” all my life - whenever I felt the spotlight get close enough to warm me up, I stepped aside.
I drank and drugged my way out of astonishing opportunities; I insisted on having romantic relationships with abusive men; I underprepared for presentations and interviews ….
As my therapist said, “you took over where your parents left off”. Yes, indeed I did, and I did a great job of it. But I made a lot progress, too…
I ran away from Australia to NYC and committed to truth, justice, and the American way. (My definition of the American way is to acknowledge talent, applaud greatness, and cheer each other on.)
I forgave my parents, traded spirits for Spirit, and wrote two very truthful and intense books that became best sellers.
And next Thursday, I’m gonna be a rockstar.
This will mark the day that I divest myself of this belief for real. I’m exchanging “it’s unsafe to express myself” for, “the safest thing I can be in my fullest self”.
Who the fuck am I to be a rockstar? Me.
I’m gonna be my own kind of rockstar: off key (I’m looking at you, Bob Dylan), 40-something, sexy as hell, terrified, and unapologetic. The Wild Reverend.
And this time, I will be protected by a cadre of rockstar angels.
Thank you, Megan Jo Wilson
PS- you can actually watch this live on Thursday, from her page https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDEAo2Ewa3k