Voice and Choice

Love at first sight.

That’s what it was.

I knew she was meant for me.



The moment I saw this work of art, I was transfixed and transformed. She is the part of me that I often tame down in professional settings. My giggles. Massive storytelling. Distracted by the urge to create. Yearning to dye my hair purple. This is the Suzie who is brave. Takes risks. Travels alone. Talks to strangers. Hugs people with wild abandon within a few seconds of meeting them. I love her.

I kept this image in my mind’s eye as I stepped into boldness. It also surfaced in moments of regret. Why didn’t I take her? What if someone else did? She could be lost to me forever. There was such a fierce longing in me.

But, then.



I saw her.

The Woman Underneathe


She spoke to me. I was calmed and connected. She is the part of me that is compassionate and serves. My sighs. Attentive listening. Compelled by the desire to support others in finding their voice and living from choice. Hoping to negotiate peace. This is the Suzie who is still. Makes inquires. Holds space. Breathes with oceans. Holds loved ones close for quiet moments whenever I can grab them. I love her.

There was no thought of taking home one over the other. I knew that leaving one behind would be like rejecting a part of myself.

I wondered if others would be as impacted.

I shared this art with some of my potential adolescent coaching clientele. Requesting them to write their thoughts about each painting, I unveiled them one at a time. Valuing transparency, I did disclose that I would share their comments with the artist. Here’s a small sampling.

*Her colorfulness represents her uniqueness.

*Humans don’t have one core personality trait…sometimes we don’t embrace it.

*There is a storm and a woman is standing her ground.

*…it looks like she is nervous because it looks like she is hiding.

*It makes me feel sad because it looks like she’s trapped in a world she doesn’t wanna be in, going through something.

*I need this picture in my life!


They saw it, too.

I asked them to select one face with which they most identified and connected. They lined up on either side of the room. There was an even split.

But, then.



I told them the secret. YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHOOSE!

I shared with them how each woman spoke to a different part of me and I needed both in my life. In order for me to tune into my compassion and be of service to others, the Wildness in me needs to let her hair down. In order for me to “let” myself have fun, the Mother Earth in me needs to connect with my breath and make sure that all my needs are met and my responsibilities are fulfilled.

There was a sniffle or two in the room. My eyes were a bit damp.

The goal isn’t to quiet parts of ourselves or make our voices small. We need all parts of ourselves to be heard, so we feel connected. Connected to ourselves and others. Embrace ourselves and stand our ground. When our voices are heard, we can make decisions from a place of choice. We can be brave and take risks.

We can be.

Note about the artist: 

Leslie at Glossy Stones perfectly captured my inner selves without even knowing it or me.

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