I have been reading Dr. Valerie Rein’s book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder and recently read a section where she stated that women often wear a sheath of invisibility to protect themselves which simultaneously harms them. For example, it’s risky for women to walk around this world fitting into standardized beauty expectations. It’s dangerous for the patriarchy to consider women attractive because they will undoubtedly experience harassment or assault. It’s also dangerous to hide because women risk losing themselves.
I remember making myself invisible in public. Women learn this “skill” at an early age. I was a professor so I adopted a professor’s persona in acceptable ways. I talked like a professor. I dressed like a professor. I played the role of professor. But I didn’t show up as myself who was also a professor. I hid in plain sight in order to stay in my lane because I anticipated danger if and when people discovered my true identity. This was an example of Imposter Syndrome. It was an example of the patriarchy in my life. And it was an example of my own self-policing.
Lately I’ve been asking questions about what it would mean for me to show up visibly as myself.
It would mean that I knew myself and accepted myself.
It would mean that I felt confident to take risks.
It would mean that I would tap into my own creativity.
It would mean that I would identify and release myself from limiting beliefs.
It would mean that I would surround myself with loved ones who didn’t see me in need of fixing.
It would mean that I would find calm and safety in my own visibility.
Imagine a world full of people who were visible. That’s what coaching does. It shines a light on and celebrates the places that the patriarchy thought were undercover for good.