“So step out of line, ladies, step out of line!” – Alexis Borstein
What’s the wake up call that finally gets us to step out of line?
It took me over a half century to begin to awaken and realize how much of my life I spent asleep. Asleep to the power that was within me all along, the power to live my own life, to lead my own life – a life filled with meaning, purpose, joy and happiness.
A life of my creation rather than the life created for me by others.
I was watching the Emmy’s earlier this year. Alexis Borstein was on stage receiving an Emmy for her role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Her speech was one of those moments etched in my memory. Her speech was poignant. It was Fierce. She went on to say: “My grandmother was in line to be shot into a pit,” Borstein said emotionally at the podium. “She said, ‘what happens if I step out of line?’ [The guard] said, ‘I don’t have the heart to shoot you but somebody will,’ and she stepped out of line. For that, I am here and my children are here.”
“So step out of line, ladies,” she concluded to applause. “Step out of line!”
Her speech hit me like a ton of bricks. It made me think of my own life and how rarely I had dared to step out of line.
I spent most of my life terrified to step out of line. I was programmed at an early age. My Father was an alcoholic, filled with an inner rage that was like a ticking time bomb. Speaking up, speaking out, or stepping out of line, was dangerous.
I wasn’t just thinking of my own life. I was thinking about the lives of the women I’ve met along the way, particularly my Forever Fierce Sisters, many of whom are just beginning to step out of line for the very first time. It’s scary. It can be dangerous. We only do so when we come to the conclusion that staying in line is actually more dangerous than stepping out!
What I realized is that my life began to change when I finally had the courage to step out of line, the courage to speak up, the courage to speak out, and the courage to live a colorful life; a life of my choosing, and happily coloring outside the lines.
I realized that staying in line, the firmly laid boundaries imposed upon me by others, was the very thing that kept me from being me.
Those boundaries were killing me, little by little, over time.
That was, until I gave myself permission – permission to step out of those lines, way outside the lines.
My life has a dividing line.
The Me before Midlife, and the Me today.
The Me who looked to others for permission and the Me who learned the only permission she needed was her own.
The Me asleep and the Me awake.
That’s the beauty of Midlife – giving ourselves permission to step out of line.
That line can be literal or metaphorical.
Sometimes, it’s a bit of both.
Changing our lives requires stepping out of line in one form or another.
Stepping out of line takes Moxie.
When we step out of line, we break long standing patterns. When we wake up and challenge cultural or societal programming, when we raise our consciousness and realize the power we have within to change our lives, our lives begin to change.
When we step out of line, we remove those lines for every woman who follows behind us.
My Dad passed away a long time ago. The lines he drew didn’t pass along with him. It was up to me to step out of line – to permanently erase the lines imposed upon me; the lines that became self imposed over time. He, and others, drew them. I erased them and took back my power. It wasn’t easy … until I took the first step out of line.
Step out of line, Fierce sisters. Step out of line.
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