I don't know. I mean, I'm one of the most awkward, inelegant people I know. I used to hide it by heightening it with foul language, crazy hair, and super-heavy Doc Martens (my knees still grumble over that phase...). Then I hid it through sheer force of will--carefully casual, willfully comfortable in social situations.
But now? Meh. Screw it. I'm tired. So I'm awkward. So I really dislike big social events, especially when I know few people--most especially when those few aren't in my core tribe to begin with. So I don't like leaving home and, really, don't even like travel much, unless it's in my car on my own. So I tend toward being a hermit with a huge, unconditional love of mystery novels, cats, and rainy days.
So what if I'm my own stereotype?
No one is airbrushing this life, and honestly, the upkeep looks exhausting.
So be bravely awkward. Go full geek, but go authentic geek.
There is no courage, no spirit, no statement without authenticity.
If we forget who we are (who we really are, which, let's face it, we do all the time), then we think that there are all sorts of deadlines on what's so horribly called 'personal development.'
I'm sorry, but personal development (or should we amend that into 'person development') took place during our first several years of life as bones knit themselves together with a little more durability, skull sutures fused, teeth came and went, the brain matured itself until it graduated into (we hope) the ability to think mindfully and rationally.
And you know what? We had nothing to do with that. Sure, how we ate and slept affected those outcomes, and I'm not getting into how one's socioeconomic background has an effect on development--while valid, it's beyond the scope of this particular point.
What I'm saying is, you're done. You're done with that bit. You've developed, dammit. You're a person and you're developed.
All this other stuff? This is what comes of experience...
When I was a kiddo, a high fever left me quite without hearing in my right ear. It's come back, more or less, but crowded rooms, movie theatres, whispered conversations are all still a bit tough to catch. (You know if I put you on my left side, btw, that I *really* want to hear what you've got to say...).
This used to frustrate me, but now I find this quirk incredibly useful. For one thing, I've learned to read lips (passably, anyway) and, when matched with what I pick up, I follow along without asking the constantly annoying question, "what?" Also? I can't hear high-pitched sounds on the right side. So, camping? If the peepers or the tweets are causing a racket? No problem. Left ear to the pillow. Done.
But I've also learned to watch people, because what they say isn't, really, the whole story. What is their body saying? Their head? Their hands? Their eyes? We communicate with so much more than sound; we resonate. We vibrate on every level.
I started getting tattoos when I was 20. I really, really needed a reason to love myself, and the only way to do that was to put something, permanently, onto my skin that I thought was beautiful.
Man, did it work. Even on the worst day, the no-reflective-surfaces-allowed days, I had that tattoo, that beautiful piece of MY skin. Of ME. And that made all the difference.
It was such a gift--that first, small piece--and I owe it (and its artist) so much, that I honored it (and my body) with more work until I could love another piece, and another, bit by bit. Eventually, all of these smaller pieces couldn't help but form a patchwork, a map of sorts, by which I could trace my journey of love, of acceptance. They are my crossroads, my landmarks, my little lighthouses, reminding me that there was once a time much harder than this, that I was once so young and somehow saved by this art.
And now I honor that journey further--every time I forge a difficult part of this mad life or fall aw...
Man, we carry a lot of junk around. I know that's a running theme over here, but I was reminded of it again last night. I dreamt of failing exams, unpaid debts, and pissing off old college boyfriends. I dreamt of being chased by a knife-wielding child (okay, that was creepy...), and woke sweating and wondering where I had gone so wrong.
So, when these garden-variety anxieties creep into our sleeping brains, we know we're carrying around more than we can handle during waking hours. This shouldn't surprise me, but it does all the same. As in, 'aren't we done with this YET??' Man, I'm sick of layers.
I really just want to run around naked here for a while, you know? Is that so much to ask?
And then I think, of course we're not done with this yet. Of course this stuff is coming up while you sleep--this is your detox, baby. This is your passive unburdening. Sweat it out. Let it come in the night so you don't have to hide in bathrooms during the day (I'm really good at hiding in bathr...
It's okay to sleep; we heal when we sleep. But it's that semi-conscious drifting that, when prolonged, lands in a nest of weeds or some strange harbor. We have no idea how we got here, but we are suddenly, painfully aware that we're cold, wet, and terribly lost.
Don't confuse lost with loss. It's not. You didn't lose time. You were mending, maybe. You were restoring. But, you're awake, so notice that. Do a full 360, eyes wide open. Then close your eyes and catch the scent of the wind. What calls you?
Elizabeth Gilbert once said that when you're lost, when you've no idea how to get back into the stream of your life, simply follow your curiosity. Sounds right to me.
So. Open your eyes, and become very still. Let your curiosity become your compass.
I don't know about you, but I made the decision to give up 'perfect' a long time ago. And, again, I don't know about you, but I've realized, over time, that that's a big ol' fat lie right there. I mean, I've given up someone's idea of perfect (I don't own heels, makeup, hair products, or a hair dryer, and I might own one dress), but that was never my idea of perfection.
So, what did I really give up?
Absolutely nothing. That's like giving up eating something everyone else loves but I find sort of, you know, meh (like sugar, like flour, but that's another post...). That's not sacrifice, and it's not all that brave.
So. Perfection. Hell yes I have an idea of what me-as-perfect is and I do not live up to it at all--which is not a surprise because perfect is impossible. But I try and I berate myself every day for not finding perfection. So, let's see. The non-perfect: I'm still in debt to college and to life and that's not going to change (minus a minor miracle) any time soon. I'm depen...
Oh, I do it, too. All the time. I'm always kind of hoping, in the back of my mind, that I'll get home to a huge, unexpected box on my doorstep--and not something I ordered and completely forgot about--but a "real" surprise, a "real" gift.
Or I hope, every day, that I'll open the mailbox to a huge check, out of nowhere, in my name.
But these sorts of prettily-wrapped gifts are so rare that the hoping for them just takes up valuable real estate in our minds, in our hearts. And now, what should be open, free-range space, has become a caustic, grasping, hoping space (or it will eventually).
If we can clear out those unrealistic hopes that take us away from the insanely, crazy-pants, wondrous things that are in our hands every day (this computer being one of them--sometimes I'm still amazed that I am an adult and can actually own things like this), then we become open to the unexpected opportunity that could lead to one of those coveted checks in the mailbox.
So, when I first designed this Satya, all of ten minutes ago (which is how I roll, in general; it works--most of the time...), I wanted to define this relationship-to-self idea as "surprising the pants off of one's self on a DAILY basis." Then I thought, well, no. That's too much, surely.
But, what if it's not? I mean, we're not talking a "happy birthday, here's Matthew McConaughey shirtless on a unicorn" caliber affair here. We're talking a "getting out of bed and WANTING to go forward with your day" type of thing. That still surprises the hell out of me when it happens--and, really, that happens more or less on a daily basis these days, so, well, there it is. Relationship defined and accomplished.
Then add liking what you see in the mirror--that's a hell of a surprise. Or being kind to a stranger without premeditation or forethought. Boom, done.
So, I'm not going to go back and amend the meme, but I'll define it here...
Language can control, inspire fear, miscommunication, mis-translation (accidental or otherwise...)--we know all of this. But what language does that can damage us so thoroughly--both as individuals and a collective--is to name things. Label things. And then, then (!!) those namers, those labelers, have the audacity to throw a capital letter in there.
It's that capital that throws us off--you don't mess with the capital (well, some of us don't...). Suddenly, there is one definition, one truth, hell, one dialect.
Soon, there's one people.
Or, well, People.
Man. It makes me fizzy just looking at all those authoritarian letters.
We have so many mothers over the course of our lives, so many fathers, so many brothers, so many sisters. We name them differently, we call to them differently, but how can such a fluid definition of love be chiseled into one chosen form, one chosen dialect?