So, I have a confession to make…
I don’t get these rules of adulthood. I don’t understand social situations. Like, at all. Aside from my close friends — I avoid them like I do gluten. How does one maneuver appropriately through conversation, make the right faces when someone says something cruel and apprehensive like it’s as benign as ‘how was your day?’, get through the judginess, the gossip, the weight of all of the everythings? I suffocate. I have panic attacks. I say things that piss my husband off.
I believe in honesty — at all times. I think authenticity is how we should run our hearts, our souls, our minds, our voices — everything that makes us who we are — and not being true to our everythings feels 100 and then some % wrong to me — it gives me anxiety, it makes me want to throw up, it makes me want to hide and run and just not be present. I’m not saying this with piety. I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (I really love tea too) and that this is one of my many “things” that I have wrong with me. It’s a straight up issue. It’s a control thing. I can’t temper it. My emotions come out all over the place. It annoys the living crap out of me. It’s not fun. I really, really hate it. Because the anecdote to this lovely little issue is often just shutting the door and holing up — because I don’t have a fake face. I’m no actress. I really suck at it. Immensely. Just ask my high school drama teacher. She’s a truthful woman as well. Yoga helps. Breathing, meds, meditation, praying, and the good Lord Jesus. God is so amazing. He created this pretty mess, after all (and I praise him for it). Because for all of its not so great amenities, it is who I am — and he made me this way for a purpose.
So, I pretty much don’t get the whole entire social scene past elementary school–where, it seems, manipulation and games often start. I never really learned how to play all of those games — well, proficiently, or even averagely. And none of it makes me comfortable. Ever. So, in turn, I tend to make other people uncomfortable. Because I say what I’m thinking. All of the time. And if I’m confused about something that seems to be said in meanness or is a lie, I’ll call it. And that’s exhausting. For everyone. Because I seem to get confused a lot.
But I’m slowly learning (I’m also one of those slow social learner types — or maybe just a completely different type of leaner altogether) to be okay with the all of this. And that — egads — there actually are other people out there that are similar to me — because no one is exactly alike. There are tribes of us — tribes of us wonderfully strange and different people. It’s just being brave enough to fight through the bullshit of all the real crazy out there — the normal crazy is the real crazy, friends (smile) — to find the lovely. There’s just so much sensory over load for this little lady — there’s a lot of noise — it gets so very loud.
I wear my heart. I speak my heart. I teach my children to be their very best brave. This means we say I love you–when ever we feel it. And we fall in love fast and we fall in love hard. Love is everything. There is nothing embarrassing about it to me. What’s embarrassing is that we repress it so damn much. This also means we aren’t afraid to help others and give to others. Even if it may hurt us–even if it may cost us something. We’re not afraid of hurting or generosity. We’re not here to be collectors of things or leave this world without scratches or bruises. Hearts and souls were made to share and grow and be torn and tugged at. They grow and learn and see and feel all the more this way. This means the underdog is our friend. This means different is embraced and even championed. We all see the world differently. Each and every one of us. Let’s celebrate that. Let’s maybe even attempt to see that every once in awhile. This also means the bully is stood up to — and then we turn around and ask the bully if he or she needs a friend. This means it’s okay to be sad, mad, angry, frustrated, imperfect, and all the other not so wonderful — but it is NEVER okay to be unkind. This means we do love — because love is a doing thing. This means we forgive. This means we show grace. But this also means that we know who we are. We are divine. This also means we know who everyone else is. They are divine. This means that we understand that the world can be so very ugly — we don’t hide the ugly — we have to see the ugly and acknowledge it to be able to do any kind of good — but we also see the amazing. We see the incredible. We see and praise the miracles. Because we are all of those things too. And from everyone and everything we can always learn something. Always. The good things, the awful things — they are all learning things — because they are real things that make up who we are. So, keep it real, keep shining light, keep it humble and keep it kind and keep it love. And we may just be okay, even when we aren’t.
“What makes night within us may leave stars.” Victor Hugo
And I’ll tell you what this doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that as a momma I have to “toughen” my boys up — who display qualities like sensitivity and empathy and compassion — because of their gender. That my role as a parent is to make them harsher because they have a penis. What this world needs more of is love, not apathy. And it could stand to use a little more of it from the male realm. And my role as a mother and as a parent is to guide and nurture in my children the seeds of who they ARE — not to squelch that for what some societal standard says they should be. I’ll pass. I see a strength that far surpasses any “toughness” this world could ever give or assign to them. They have the courage to stand up for their friends when no one else will — to give, to praise, to say “are you okay, are you sad, I am here for you no matter what, you are worth something, you are awesome” — when others their age can not even form those thoughts or those words. They are considerate, smart, honest, hard working, thoughtful, caring, and want to make this world a better place for others. Toughen up. Really? To be the kind of people they are takes more courage of heart and mind and spirit than raising rocks or fists or hurling back insults EVER will. Normal is so scary to this momma — so very, very scary. Shake the world, boys — dare to gently shake the world…
“There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness.” Han Suyin
And imperfection? That’s awesome too. We need to totally be okay with that. And our kids need to see it in us and know it’s okay too. I yell, I lose my temper, I don’t handle things perfectly — and my kids know this. Trust me, they’re fully aware. Smile. I say I’m sorry. I say I need a break, that I’m a little overwhelmed. We talk about when they feel those things too. We talk about what we can do when we feel that way — better choices, better responses. They get frustrated with friends, with each other, with us — we breathe, we say we’re sorry — we talk and we admit we didn’t handle it the best and talk about what we will do better next time. Because there WILL be a next time. It may look different next time, but mistakes will happen again. But that’s not, necessarily, horrendous…
We admit that we make mistakes and that life doesn’t stop, but we can learn from every mistake we make (and that’s the key — acknowledging it and learning) — and we can live better, do better, be better because of what we learned. We grow. We move on.
We’re here to love each other, catch each other, help each other, mess up and be the best we can be in the midst of all of that. And in the midst of all of that, our kids are going to get different messages from the world. They are going to hear that they’re not good enough, that they need to be this or they need to be that or they aren’t enough this or they aren’t enough that — when all they need to be is who they are. And if we, as the grown ups — can just own who WE are — well now, won’t that make things just a tad easier. If we can all just authentically be — then that — well that seems like it would be an amazing mirror for our children. They see us and hear us. All the time.
My kids aren’t perfect. But they are pretty darn incredible. I think all kids are. I think we need them more than they need us most of the time. Really and truly. We can teach them fundamental things like reading and math and science and critical thinking and all those basic building blocks for education that should supplement the time they spend in school — but they continually remind us about those intrinsic heart and soul things. They revive wonder, they can restore our faith in humanity. It’s not our position to ‘toughen’ that out of them — perhaps it’s our chance to look at life with a new lens — it just takes a little humility (which is the second greatest missing asset after love) and a little time (which is the third).
G had some playtime with one of his very best school friends today. They are the best of friends because they are “twins”, he tells me (he thinks they look identical). They have the same two favorite colors, they love to read, they have asthma and headaches, they love to play with their imagination, and they love to be kind. They are going to go to college and live together when they grow up. They have this all figured out at the age of seven. Smile. It’s simple. They love eachother for who they are. They are silly. They are sweet. They like marshmallows. Life is good. It really doesn’t have to get so twisted up and complicated.
Life is hard. I get this. Bad things happen. In fact, very, very bad things can happen. Some of us have lived through our own version of various hells for a good portion of our lives. But to me, this is all the MORE reason to be our very best selves — our most loving and authentic selves — and to leave the bs for all the perfect people who have all of their shit togher. Which isn’t anybody.
So, there’s just all of us. In this holy mess together. Trusting we’re doing our best, saying I’m sorry when we screw up, trying again, and loving and believing in one another. Over simplified, maybe. But that’s one way to live. And this girl likes simple. Because then we can get to the real stuff. Of REALLY getting to know and hold on to each other. All of our wonderful guts and glory. Because when you deal with manipulation and gossip and pettiness, you don’t have to get into any of that holiness now, do you? Because that’s the scary, tough and hard stuff now, isn’t it? You get to gloss over all of that in superfluous drama when you’re not being authentic. I’d rather relish in the intricate delight of the genuine soul. Because humanity is really quite amazing.
And when we channel the real, we can move mountains. We can help instead of hinder. We can feed souls and change lives — and with that, we can change the world — or at least our little corner of it. And that’s what this girl is breathing for. Not for the next bit of “and then what did she say?”. And my boys? They want every bit of this light shining business too. And this light shining business ? — it takes GUTS, sisters and brothers. Kindess, love, light — it’s all brave. All of it. To stand there and be you — all raw and just you — saying hey, you feel free to be you too — and that’s beautiful. And I love you. No barriers. No walls.
And these guts, along with the guts of my boys, my sisters, invite you to do the same. Our tribe doesn’t have any initiation fees or require tattoos. However, we freaking love tattoos. Smile.
We’re all rare. Feel free to discover and realize your rareness. You just might amaze yourself. You should do that. Amaze yourself. Just getting out of bed some days does it for me. Smile.
Namaste, peace, and love.
You are so many incredible things.
What’s your favorite color?
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Desmond Tutu
(to Karin, Charles, and Clara — who are some of the most gorgeous people on the face of this planet — we love you — to pieces ❤ ❤ )