The Power of Being Seen

The Power of Being Seen

My story begins with three powerful words, “I SEE YOU.”

These three words have the power to make us feel honored, valued, and celebrated. It reminds us that our existence has a purpose that extends beyond the visible into the depths of the energy we embody. By way of my yoga teachings, I have come to recognize the depth of this power with each greeting, chant, or connection through the sacred words, “Namaste”. While many recognize this translation to mean, “the light within me acknowledges and sees the light within you,” it holds a deeper space for those I teach to mean, “I SEE YOU.”

These powerful words were not always ones that offered me strength. They were, in fact, words that manifested as my deepest struggle. My sexual identity felt like something that did not need to be seen, celebrated, or valued. It felt like an Atlas stone of burden that weighed on my ability to live my life. In that moment, being seen felt as uncomfortable as being invisible. I stood in the proverbial space between a rock and a hard place, paralyzed in my body and victim to my fears.

As many of us do, I stumbled and fell flat on my face into the mess of a life that I pretended to live as this other being. I walked among those I called friends and family, a dull coated shell of the glittered unicorn that was hidden beneath. A personal health crisis left me in a position to see myself from another perspective. Human life gains greater power when we fear we might lose it. The struggle of being seen suddenly became my only truth. The power that came with living my authentic truth far outweighed the fear of what and who I would lose.

Coming out was everything I feared and everything I hoped for. I lost people I loved, I was fired from jobs I worked hard for, I was seen as less than, and profiled. But… I also found new friends and humans to create a whole new community of support. I gained a professional platform to empower other youth and adults to explore the superpowers that live within their struggles. I gained new allyship from friends and family that once could not understand my truth. I got to break out of the dull painted shell and embrace my full glitter-covered unicorn realness. I am the short hair, wellness teaching, and Subaru driving trifecta of gay and proud of it.

There is power in being seen. Power creates great responsibility. That responsibility is a commitment to the vulnerability and authenticity of our being. It requires us to peel back the layers that have built up, for what feels like a lifetime, and look deeply into who we are. It’s okay to not feel ready to share. It’s okay to be in a space of limited seen”ness”. I say this because I felt pressured to be fully invisible or fully visible. I couldn’t be “half out”. I don’t see it this way. I see various levels of coming out as small practices in revealing how I see myself and how I want to be seen. I feel empowered by this process of being seen, and each day I get discover more about this power.

I came out 16 years ago and still find new ways in which I continue to do so. I try to remind myself and those I am so privileged to meet and speak with that it will be a lifetime of coming out. It doesn’t stop the day you speak your truth about your sexual orientation. We, as collective humans are coming out in new ways every day. It may be sexual identity one day, and life purpose another. It is an ever-changing, always evolving experience of owning the freest form of this human identity. “Only human” gives me power to say I am both perfection and an endless work in progress. It says I am whole and still finding pieces to my puzzle.

I am only human, and for that I finally feel seen.

This powerful story was shared by a human named Kirsten