Today, I will stop apologizing for who I am.

As many of you did, I woke up yesterday stunned. I had slept for a few hours after being so depressed by what I was watching unfold on TV that I had to just crawl in my bed and hope I would wake up to something having shifted, somehow. I woke up a few hours later, rolled over, reached for my phone and started crying. This isn’t a dream. Despite the shock that we are experiencing, this is not a dream.

I was in a state of shock and grief throughout the day. I checked social media a couple of times and it sometimes made me feel better but it often made me feel worse. I didn’t want to face it. I couldn’t face it. What I did notice when I interacted with others was the range of reactions that people were having, specifically in terms of their immediate response… many were jumping to action right away. There are amazing people that I know who immediately jumped into action, and I applaud that. But, that is NOT where I was yesterday and it still isn’t really where I am today. I know that will come, and it has bubbled up in me slightly, but mostly I am just emotionally floating through this experience.

What is happening is that we are grieving. I did not prepare for this. This is a shocking and unexpected death that I was mildly aware could happen, was scared of, but in all honesty (and feel free to call me naive here), I didn’t think this was actually going to happen. So I was violently unprepared. And I started in shock. And then, swiftly, came grief. I grieve for the people and children I love and for those I don’t know, and I grieve for myself. I grieve for our beautiful planet. I grieve for the hope and promise I felt and the freedom and rights we have worked so hard to secure that feel as though they have all suddenly been ripped out from under me. I grieve for so much more than my brain can even comprehend.

Here’s the thing with grief — we can’t understand it. We can’t explain it. We can’t control it. The only way to get the other side is through it. And so, I feel it. I go through it. And I invite you to be please, go through it. Don’t avoid it. These feelings, whatever feelings you have, will show up in different ways at different times. And what we feel and how and when we feel it is unique to each of us. Allow it to be there. It is important that we honor what is coming up. You may at one point feel like a warrior ready to fight and at one point like a small child that needs comfort and someone to hold them, or somewhere in the middle. Allow it all and honor it all. And if you need time, any amount of time, to grieve before you take action, please do it. Honor what your needs are. Please.

Part of my day yesterday included a dance class that I attend every once in a while. I sobbed through a good portion of the class and unlike most of the women in the class, I had not entered warrior mode quite yet. I was in a hurricane of emotion and I was overwhelmed. So I tried to move through that. But in that class, I had one glimmer of my warrior show up. My intuition rose up inside me and I kept hearing these words…

“It is time for me to stop apologizing for who I am.”

When I heard it, I knew it was right. But, I didn’t quite understand the context. And perhaps I still don’t. But here’s what I do know… I have stayed silent for too long. I have kept myself small for fear of what will happen if I show up in all of myself. I am a strong woman with big energy and I hold myself back for fear of what will happen if I show all of myself — will I be rejected? Cast aside? Will I intimidate those around me? Will it affect my business? Will I feel disconnected and alone? Will I be too much?

Well, no more. I have held back from sharing myself and my thoughts, and no more. I will not hold back anymore. It is time that I share my experience and I share my thoughts. It is time for my voice to come out. It is time to stand up for what matters to me, for what I believe, for what I value. It is time to speak out.

I am not going to hold back anymore. No more.

And guess what…? I don’t think I’m the only one. I think this situation has caused a shift, a breaking point, in many of us. We cannot stand back any longer. Yes, I regret that I did not stand up sooner and that I could have made a bigger difference before Tuesday, but I cannot change the past. None of us can.

What I see is others feeling the same way I do. We are rising up. It is time.

I am not sure what I am going to rise up for yet. I am not sure what this powerful voice of mine is going to say, but that will come. For now, I want to share with you what I am feeling and seeing.

I believe everything happens for a reason. This is happening for a reason. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a good thing or that I’m glad it happened. It is not and I am not. But, it is happening for a reason.

I am already seeing possible reasons and silver linings popping up. What I see already and believe will continue in epic strength is people rising up, stepping into their power, becoming themselves, speaking for their truth, whatever that may mean, and readying themselves to unify, support and take action for what they believe and value.

I believe that this reality we face is a catalyst for massive change within the system that is our government, but also within each of us.

I believe that we are all connected, we are all one. And I believe that this situation is expediting our evolution to taking the collective into account instead of the individual. It is bringing us together. I admit that I have been complacent, and I was excited for Hillary to continue the efforts to care for our country and for our people. But now, it is in our hands. It is time that we come together to take care of our people.

Since Tuesday, I have been wanting to cook huge pots of food and have people over to just be together in community and I just want to hug everyone. I want to comfort people and be comforted. I want to hold space and be held. I want to nurture and protect and care for people. And I am.

But on a larger scale, I believe that many of us wanted a mother for this country, to nurture, protect and care for our people and our land. And now, all of us, woman, man and child, have the opportunity to take care of this family. It is time we nurture, care for and protect our people. It is time.

This reality is an opportunity for us all to stop being less than we are. To lean into what we believe and hold as true. To do the things we are meant to be doing. To stand up and speak up, for whatever it is that matters to us and whatever we’re meant to share.

Today I will stop apologizing for who I am. I will be myself, all of me.