It was my first day of fourth grade at a new school in suburban Detroit–far, far away from my hometown of Houston. I sat barely moving in a swing on the playground as my classmates circled around me chanting “Talk, talk!” My tongue froze, and all I can remember doing is looking at the ground and shaking my head, “no.” That was the day I quit saying y’all.
It is also one of my first clear memories of not being fully myself. I wanted to talk to the other kids, but I was terrified of appearing weird and even more afraid of what they would think if they actually knew me.
It may have been the first time, but certainly wasn’t the last time I altered who I was to fit in. In my mid-20’s, I moved from Texas (we had moved back just before my 7th grade year) to Los Angeles. I was desperate to be taken seriously in the work world, so once again I ditched my Texas twang because I thought it made me appear stupid.
These memories come as we enter Virgo season, approaching fall and harvest time. The energy of this season beckons us toward earth and the fruits of our growth. We are called to root into the fullness of ourselves.
Virgo is represented by the Virgin Goddess. A quick search of the internet produces lots of opinions about the meaning of the word “virgin,” and in our culture, we are certainly familiar with the one that is said to be pure and chaste. But another take on the Virgin Goddess is that she is a symbol of wholeness. She is whole and complete in herself; full and satisfied in her being. That’s the definition that resonates with me!
But what does it mean to be whole? Here’s what my spirit guide recently said: “Wholeness equals Oneness. Separation is a myth. You cannot be broken, and you cannot be torn away from your soul. You can feel lost. Tragedies can happen to you. You can get off balance or get attached to something or someone. You can even start to live your life in such an unbalanced way that it feels like you are giving away parts of yourself. But this is not true. Your soul is always whole. You are only spinning your energy away from it. These are the times when you are invited to come back to your center, your wholeness.”
Michael Singer, author of the book The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, describes us as rays of the sun that are not separate from the sun itself. I love that image. You can’t have the ray without the whole sun and the sun is incomplete without the rays.
A more earthly take comes from author and podcaster Glennon Doyle who urges us never to abandon ourselves. The shadow side of the Virgo archetype is one of perfection which is quite different from wholeness. Striving for perfection assumes we are not complete in ourselves–a form of self-abandonment in my opinion.
I aspire to live my life like the Virgin Goddess, full and satisfied in my being. Here’s what I’m doing about it. First, I’m remembering times that I have hidden away part of who I am to fit in. I’m admitting to myself that I have given away parts of myself to maintain a false sense of security or to avoid conflict. I have distracted myself from shadowy feelings because of fear they would overwhelm me. I have succumbed to social pressure that certain things about my body, my mind and my heart need improvement. I’ve even spent money and time trying to fix them.
My first step is to remember these times without shame, and my second step is to notice when my energy is being drawn toward these patterns again. When I am aware, I can, as my guide instructed, find my way back to my center, my wholeness.
Also, I’ve decided to start saying y’all again. And if you approach me, asking me to talk, be prepared, I will!