A couple days ago, while I was at the gym elliptically my way to nowhere, I read this post right here. It is big and bold and raw and honest and beautiful and illuminating all at the same time – just like everything that Glennon writes. (And yes, I will refer to her by her first name because I feel like the whole entire universe knows who Glennon – Glennon from Momastery! – is. And if you don’t know who she is, well, you should.)
So anyway, there I was, reading her big-bold-raw-honest-beautiful-and-illuminating post the other day and all I could think was, Wow, I wish I could do that. I wish I could write like that. I wish I had that courage and freedom and the guts. I wish…
And just like all the other times I read something that left me awed and breathless and envious and wanting all at the same time, I thought I wish I could…but I can’t.
And then I listed all of the reasons why I can’t: I’m not talented enough, not popular enough, not brave enough, not religious-y enough, not pretty enough, not interesting enough, not loud enough, not witty enough, not funny enough, not smart enough, not whatever enough.
But then, you know what? Somewhere in the middle of all that Why-I-Can’t-Do-This-or-Be-That list-making, I got kind of…well…bored. I actually got bored listing all of the reasons why I can’t write this or that, why I can’t be say this or that, why I can’t be more like this or that. I got bored with all the negativity and comparisons and fear. I got bored with all of it.
And I realized that there is a fair amount of censoring that I do, worrying about what other people might think about what I say or do, how I dress or look, what I write or don’t write, how I laugh or how I cry. What would So-and-So think? What would So-and-So do?
And while I was boring myself with all of the Why-I-Can’t excuses I realized that none of that matters. It doesn’t matter what So-and-So thinks about what I write or what I say. That’s up to So-and-So. Who knows if they are even reading or listening. And I’ve wasted enough time trying to be a Glennon Melton or an Anne Lamott or even just a Woman-Who-Has-It-All-Together.
Because – news flash! – I am not those women. And I never will be.
I am not Glennon or Annie or the Woman-Who-Has-It-All-Together (does she even exist anyway?).
I am Christie. And sometimes, to some people, I might be Mom or LC or Christine.
But I am not Her or Her or Her.
I can’t believe it took me so long to realize this. Well, to kind of realize it anyway. Because the truth is, I can write all of this today and I will forget it tomorrow. And I can be a bit of a hypocrite too. I tell my son to be the best Jackie he can be and I tell my younger son to do his thing. But then I turn around and tell myself to be someone other than who I am and I obsess about what other people are doing instead of just doing my own thing.
I can write about being happy with good enough, but there is still a scared little girl in me shouting in her shrill, squeaky voice: You aren’t good enough. You’ll never be good enough! She can be very irritating sometimes, that little girl. And boring too.
I can write about being kind and brave, about being honest and authentic, about jumping in. And then tomorrow or two days for now or next week, I will be standing on the edge, shivering and cowering in fear. The squeaky-voiced little girl will be reciting all of her Why-I-Can’t reasons.
Until the sassy little girl in me pipes up and whispers: F*ck it. Just be You. She can be very dangerous sometimes, that little girl. But a hell of a lot more fun. She is, after all, the one who convinced me to the write this post. And every other post for that matter.
And then the daring little girl with a potty mouth will remind me of all the things that I’ve written about being kind and brave, about being honest and authentic, about jumping in. And so it goes. Because this growing up and settling in thing – like this learning to be a human thing – sure seems to happen in a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of way, doesn’t it?
And sometimes we just need to listen to the bold and daring and dangerous little girl with the potty mouth telling us, F*ck it. Just be YOU.
I can’t believe it took me so long to realize that.
This post has been part of Finish the Sentence Friday, with the sentence starter “I can’t believe it took me so long to realize that. . . ” hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee and co-hosted by Ivy at Uncharted and Roshni from Indian American Mom.