Sometimes your blessings smell like cow sh*t.
Life is big in Texas. The roots run deep and so do the highways. If you are blessed enough to travel the great state, at some point you are going to be in the car and you are going to pass a working ranch or a feedlot. The car will fill up with a rank odor that is biting and distinctive. It can pull up your gag reflex or spring your tearducts into motion. Closed vents can’t repel it and the slow moving tractor on the one lane highway in front of you will ensure you will linger in the area long enough to absorb it deep into your lungs.
For most people, the entire situation is nauseating. For a specific few, that is the smell of their blessing.
“Smells like Money!”
We all think we can recognize a good thing when we see it, but that is a sweet, sweet lie. Bless your heart. What we like is something different in a compelling package. Too bad the people with the most beautiful souls and the original thoughts don’t come in a compelling package. More often than not, they have a lot of aspects that nobody claps for.
Our language tells the tale; anti-social, non-conformists, rebels, rejects, the odd ducks, black sheep, the loners. We want to be seen as unique but we place negative monikers on others. We don’t see that value because it’s not in a package that we like.
We’ve all seen some version of quotes telling us to be original. The the kid using the ballet bare like a jungle gym. Be that girl.
Hmmm. Be the kid on the bar, but in truth…someone has captured a snapshot that frames the ‘odd duck’ in a positive light that allows you to focus in on the brilliance of this child. It’s a brilliant package. It is probably even accurate. But you didn’t see it. Someone showed it to you.
But I would argue that what most of us would have a hard time separating the chaff from the wheat to see the brilliance. What if what you see is your child goofing off in a class you just paid a ton of money for? You took off work to pick her up and drive her across town to make this inconveniently timed class, she’s ripping a hole in her ONLY pair of pink tights, and the instructor is giving you the fish eye from the side because she’s breaking the barre from the wall and disrupting the class.
crazyI have a child that daydreams in the middle of the soccer field while the entire game happens around her. When she focuses on the game she does just fine. Then she gets that look in her eyes and she does something along the lines of putting her arms out and flies in circles, or she puts her hands up to her chest and hops like a bunny, or she has entire conversations with an imaginary person on the other side of the field, or she dances to a tune that only she can hear. I’m fairly certain that for her the world blurs out and becomes as mystical as wonderland. Which is amazing if you are not her mom standing on the sidelines of the soccer game. To be honest, I have a hard time seeing the brilliance of that moment.
You would think that I would be able to smile from the sidelines with peace in my heart. The calm peace of a dreamer that has experienced life through the similar blur of wonderland. A protective bubble of being one degree off normal. But I don’t because this isn’t just some soccer game on a field full of wildflowers. Call me crazy, but I see it as a metaphor for her entire life.
I love my little dreamer and I wouldn’t change her a bit. Her heart and spirit and imagination are going to fuel her life experiences and color her world with flavor and texture and wonder. It’s just that I already know some of the obstacles ahead and they are intense.
castleBeing ‘that kid’ doesn’t necessarily mean her life is going to be easy and fun and full of happiness. It might mean she is going to struggle more because of it. A lot more.
She is on a field full of flowers in wonderland and I am on the sidelines watching her team, her coach, and the crowd scream and yell at her in anger and judgement. They don’t see a black and white snapshot with a motivational caption to be ‘that kid.’ They see a teammate that just let the other team score a goal. Again. No one is clapping.
Being a beautiful dreamer means that during key moments when people may be depending on you, you may not be doing what you are supposed to be doing. It’s going to tick people off and it’s going to get you into trouble. It’s going to have consequences and it might smell like cow sh*t to people that don’t know any better.
The crowd is not going to recognize the good thing when they see it. It’s a good thing you are already starting to learn how to take the bad experiences in with the good to add flavor to your wonderland.
trickyOriginals are not just original when it’s lovely and convenient. They are not just original when they swoop in to save the day with their brilliance or creativity. They will be original whenever they feel like it. Pretty much every hour of every day. Because while you think they see two roads and travel the path less traveled, they don’t even see two roads. They might not even see one road. They just push forward the only way they know how.
Easy or hard. Hero or reject. Save the day or crash and burn. Maybe even decades of hard and brutal consequenses before your dream and originality morphs into something beautiful. The process of becoming something wondrous isn’t always a snapshot for a motivational poster.
Don’t ask her to be herself and then punish her for it.
I will support you and rejoice as you dance madly on the lip of the volcano. I will love the parts of you that no one claps for. It’s just hard to watch from the sidelines.