Refusing to grow into the person you are meant to be is like being the re-used rag that has soaked too long in a bucket of filthy water. You just keep swirling around in the warm, germy soup that breeds the same situations over and over again. You had a purpose in the beginning but now you are just stagnant and used up. But what if crawling out of the stagnation that you once were means the people that ‘get you’ start to hate you? Is it that they really just prefer the you that was dormant in the bucket of filthy water or have you turned into a colossal asshole in your journey?
Is your concept of yourself just as distorted as your voice sounds when you finally hear yourself recorded?
Significant changes are thrust upon us. The girl I once was couldn’t have handled the strength and determination and just plain stubbornness it takes to keep a marriage thriving. Becoming a parent then blows the remnants of who you were away all together and you either rise out of the ashes fiercely like a phoenix or your children limp along in the destruction you couldn’t shelter them from.
There is no success or failure, there are many successes and failures and you will never again be the person you once were. Even if the people you once counted on no longer ‘get you.’
Two years ago I reconnected with a much beloved coach on Facebook. After being my cyber friend for a few months she commented on one of my posts that she didn’t remember me ever being funny in high school.
I wasn’t. I’m not funny now. What I am, is very hard to embarrass. When I write, I take all the mistakes I’ve made, the embarrassing moments, the wrong turns, social gaffes, character flaws, bad decisions, narcissistic ramblings and write them down for everyone to see instead of hiding them away. I’m like my own 80s sitcom without the ratings or income. Or stunt doubles. I do all my own stunts.
Carny gamesPutting my thoughts to paper is a stunt all in itself. It’s like I’m strapped to that giant pinwheel of death in the middle of the circus ring. Blindfolded and spreadeagled. Slowly turning topsy turvy while I’m waiting for the ringmaster to throw the knives. But it’s not just the ringmaster. It’s the faceless crowd that might not even find me worthy enough to attend the show. I haven’t yet decided if it is a strike to the heart when people are offended by my words or worse when they aren’t moved at all. Either way, it’s a blow to who I am. Because what I write isn’t amusement for me, it’s really sharing a piece of my soul. I’m unwrapping the pretty layers to show the core of me. Who I used to me, who I am now, who I want to be in the future. It’s not always pretty, witty or entertaining. It’s not always what you want to hear. It can be offensive. It can be boring. It can be uninteresting. Sometimes I manage funny. But it’s always me.
tortureThey say that what you fear doing the most is usually what you most need to do. My translation of that feels like you have to sign up on the roster for torture. You start with dreams you were scared to birth and don’t know how to nurture, move into doubt and humiliation, throw in some debasing and suffering, and perhaps have loved ones dismiss and berate you for a spiffy finish. Going after your dream is not for the feint of heart.
I’ve had two experiences lately that have comforted me in my moments of doubt and vulnerability.
The first was attending a crafting weekend. I don’t consider myself crafty and my identity isn’t tied up around making a tangible piece of art. I just wanted to enjoy a kid free weekend with my friends in a pretty location. I brought my supplies to finish an embroidery I started for my children. When in Rome…
It was a great weekend. I ate like I had never seen food before and re-addicted myself to sugar. I stayed up late whispering to my friends and I actually completed a few embroidery pieces that I’m proud to display. I can tell you that it wouldn’t have been a blip on my radar if I had ruined my art and had to feed it to the bonfire of disastrous experiences. But that’s because I’m not an artist. My art was not a physical representation of my identity.
It was easy to pick out the true artists there based on how gently they discussed others ongoing work. It had nothing to do with how competent they were with their art. It wasn’t about the art, it was about the person baring their soul for others to share. The true artists understood that and tread softly. So softly.
My second experience was a conversation I had with a celebrated artist. I had seen his work in a gallery, he has obtained many significant awards and milestones in his chosen field. When I looked at his work, it was obvious to me that he was extremely talented. It came as a surprise to me when he shared his insecurities with me. A critic had been particularly dismissive and nasty about the piece we were discussing. I was thinking to myself it would be easy for him to dismiss the people that criticized his art as it’s apparent he is talented and amazing. Surely he knows how amazing he is and could brush this off? Is it possible to brush it off regardless of your outward success? Maybe not, and this is somehow a comfort to me.
bleedI think it’s less that I’ve turned into a colossal asshole and more so that I’ve become something that could resemble a rotten piece of fruit to those that no longer ‘get me.’ Because sometimes the growth is ugly. Career, marriage, parenting and life in general have hardened my outer core. It’s strong so it can support the weight of the burdens I carry. Fallen from the tree and my outer shell bruised and hardened by the sun and weather. But then soft and extra mushy on the inside like fruit going bad because finding my purpose and sharing it with the world has made me extra sensitive. It could be sour and rancid or maybe it will ferment and turn into wine. Maybe it is worth being hated for the real me I’ve worked hard to become. Having no one ‘get you’ because the real you isn’t as nice or pretty anymore. But it’s real. It’s real and it’s not stagnant.
Writing funny blurbs on Facebook is leagues away from taking the thoughts in my head and displaying them in a real way. I am all that is happy, happy, joy, joy on Facebook. I don’t argue on Facebook, I don’t post anything negative on Facebook and I try my hardest not to cuss.
Facebook is for funny and pretty and my blog is my soul. I just had no idea until AFTER I started my blog that it would be such a difference for me. I sat down and thought my blog would just be a longer version of a Facebook post. But my fingers take over and type out something real. You know what? People really prefer that pleasing outer shell. But it’s too late.
I’ve already crawled out of the warm comfort of the stagnant water.