How I Found My Voice
Image Credit: Flawur Media
This blog was first published on MariaShriver.com.
Finding one’s voice is not an easy task. It would seem obvious –- our voice is our voice. She’s with us every day.
But somehow it isn’t so easy, and I think, particularly for women. At least that’s been my experience.
I started out as a confident leader-type in elementary school. I was tall, athletic, aggressive, smart, and the top of my class in math. I grew up with two brothers and a cousin who became like a brother as he was best friends with my brothers.
My family was very male-oriented. My ancestors had arrived from England with William Penn and helped establish Philadelphia. We had a history of military leaders, business leaders and political leaders –- all men.
A few years ago I was interviewing Robert Kennedy Jr. in Los Angeles for a piece I was writing about his environmental work. He asked me if I was from the Biddles in Philadelphia. I smiled, excited that he may know some of my family members, and asked if he did.
He said, “I don’t know any of them personally, but I know a lot about your family.” He then asked if I had read the latest book on Andrew Jackson and if I hadn’t, he suggested I read it because it includes a good bit on my family.
While I didn’t go out and get the book, his suggestion sent me on a review of my family history once again (I’d done this years earlier, but felt it was time for a refresher.)
As I went about looking at the Biddle Family Papers from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, it was glaringly clear that the women’s voices were missing.
All of the accolades and recognition went to the men. And if any woman was recognized, it was in relation to her father or grandfather.
This gave me a huge lightbulb moment about the paradigm I had grown up in. I thought about all the other women and girls who have too.
I wondered, who were these women? What were their passions? What did they think about? What did they aspire to? If they had had a microphone, what would their voices have said?
Already at this point I had been on a journey of rediscovering the Divine Feminine for a few years. She had come to me shortly after I moved from New York City to Santa Monica, CA.
I had left New York because I was feeling called to move out of a linear lifestyle, and into one that was softer, with more curves and more oceanic. What I didn’t know at the time was what this meant exactly. But I soon found out.
A month into moving to California, my emotional floodgates opened. I was having emotional sensitivity that I hadn’t experienced since I was a young girl. It soon became clear that I was being called to let loose of the masculine and enter into a more feminine paradigm.
The Goddess then came flooding into my life.
She came to be in dreams. She came to me in visions. She came to me as a direct physical experience. I felt as if I was being tapped on the shoulder to be a messenger for her.
The message I was getting was that it was time to bring her out of the yoga studios (that’s where I was first introduced to her) and into the mainstream.
This was daunting. It was also exciting.
Since I moved here to Santa Monica seven years ago, I have been on a journey of discovering my voice in a way that is sourced from something much bigger than me.
I have struggled with this. I have struggled with my fear of being perceived as “loopy.” I have struggled with my fear of being seen as “too spiritual.”
I have struggled with owning the power and potential in me to actually change the world.
While I have known leadership from a young age, I never truly knew my feminine voice. She was, in fact, muted. It was if that telephone line was down for centuries, maybe millennia.
As women and girls today, I believe we are being asked to remember the Goddess. She has a history (herstory, if you will) that long precedes the male religions.
For 25,000 years before the advent of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the Goddess was the supreme deity, as evidenced by archeologists, anthropologists and art historians.
Their research shows that the worship of female deities appeared in every area of the world -- and that the male occurred in a subsidiary role.
And by the way, these were advanced societies with law, government, written language, agriculture and architecture.
Also, these were matrilineal societies, which meant that women were the property owners, and men gained access to title and property only as a result of their relationship to a woman.
Women were also the food providers. In other words, economically, man was dependent upon woman.
For a long time now we women have been trying to come into leadership balance with men in business, politics, law and religion. And some of us have succeeded.
But many of us have done this from a place of calling upon our masculine attributes. While nothing is wrong with the masculine, we have to know that this is not the source of our power as women -– and so we will burn out from exhaustion, eventually.
As I have come to recognize the Goddess within me and I have learned more of her story, I have become more confident with my voice.
I have a voice that speaks out for the human rights of women and girls everywhere and that calls for society to remember the Goddess.
It used to feel daring to speak and write about the Goddess. Now it feels mandatory.
Tabby Biddle, M.S. Ed. is a women’s leadership expert, writer and writing coach who helps women see the value of their voice and guides them in the process of developing their leadership platform. Tabby is the author of The Goddess Diaries blog and is regular contributor to The Huffington Post on the empowerment and human rights of women and girls. Her work has been featured by The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, UN Dispatch, NPR, among other national and international media. To learn more, visit tabbybiddle.com.