Here’s the truth of it: some days just kick my ass. I get scared, lonely, tired and overwhelmed, and then I sort of wade around in it for a spell trying to remember how to stand up straight and move forward.
This is not a confession, because anyone who reads between the lines probably already knows that I am not as strong as I profess to be (nor as confident). In fact, the sole brilliance I may possess (outside of making very tasty pies) – could very well be my ability to act as though I have all the confidence in the world.
In some circles this is also known as “bullshitting.”
For years and years, I sharpened my bullshitting skills. It wasn’t uncommon for me to leap before looking, raise my hand first (even if I didn’t know the answer), get mad rather than show pain, and generally act as though nothing could frighten me. The bad news about all this behavior is that, over time – I liked who I was pretending to be less and less.
Now, the funny thing about traits that we practice for years and years, whether they’re good or bad, is that they take can take root deeply. To really and truly dislodge one’s negative roots can be very very difficult. It requires not only awareness and practice…but maybe even a life changing event – or two – to shake you to your core and start mixing things up.
A year ago I was plodding along, considering the pros and cons of being just a tiny bit less of a bullshitter. I wasn’t much liking myself, but change felt like an awful lot of work. I suspect that I may have even been attempting to bullshit myself into believing that happiness and connection and forgiveness and faith – were perfectly attainable – without requiring me to make too many adjustments in my behavior.
Enter life changing events: a career unfolds, a marriage ends, a child becomes ill. Family falters, relationships are tilted on their axis, 2 A.M. takes on the gray streaks of loneliness and creativity has flown the coup. Nasty shit. Sort of like copper cleaner. It stinks; it’s poison; you really ought wear protective gloves when using it, but man oh man – with just the right amount of rubbing and attention to detail – it sure does make the metal gleam like sunlight.
So, what I said in the beginning – about “some days” ?? Right. Well, I had one of those today. I was tired, frightened about a simple thing, didn’t like being alone and feeling especially sorry for my sorry little old self. Compared to some of the days I’ve weathered, it really was NOT that tough of a day, but for some reason, maybe because my bullshit tools are growing rusty from disuse, I not only allowed myself to honestly feel, but I also asked for help. (And guess what?) Help arrived in spades!
I was assured, treated with respect, reminded to keep a sense of humor, shown kindness, offered love – and even told that I really AM strong (without pretending).
So, at the end of this day that I was pretty convinced I couldn’t be done with quickly enough), I am now savoring.
Sarah, thank you for making sure I ate breakfast and getting me to smile. Roanna, thank you for letting me be grumpy and still being my friend. Steve, thanks for being a boss who supports learning and for making me laugh at the small stuff. Aidan, thanks for starting and ending my day with your care. Carolyn, thanks for checking up on me. Maylee, thank you for catching me with tenderness and for the beautiful flowers! And all my friends paying attention out there – you twinkling points of light and life – thank you for reading and posting and asking great questions and making honest observations.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the depths of my much happier, much more vulnerable and 95% bullshit-free heart – I thank you. ~ mlp