19 Mar All I Need is a Tutu and Some Badass Boots.
I wish that it didn’t take me until my forties to really own who I am and why I’m here. I can only imagine what I would have created and who I would have loved if I had started earlier.
But then I am really not a fan of regret, so I have to reframe. All those years judging myself, wondering if I was enough, are the reason I am so deeply committed to being 100% me – not from concentrate, no artificial sweeteners.
Here’s how it all started. (You can ask my mom if you don’t believe me)
At about 4 yrs old, the questions began:
How come people are so serious?
How come I can’t laugh in church?
What if I don’t want to “shush?”
Do I have something to share with the class? Well actually… OK fine! I’ll be quiet.
Why are we here?
Can I meet God?
What do I have to do to get into Heaven?
What if Heaven is totally boring?
The list goes on and on and on …
And the answers went something like this:
“Life’s hard and then you die. Get me a Coke.”
“Would you be quiet? Jesus, you’re loud.”
“Stop laughing right now or you’re grounded.”
“Wipe that smile off your face – this is CHURCH damnit.”
“Why are we here? Because Adam & Eve ruined it for the rest of us.”
“Honey, you always find the silver lining. Not every one can.”
“We’re here to live the best life we possibly can. Never stop asking and your heart will show you the way.”
“You can meet God, but you have to quit talking on the phone and do your homework first.”
But that was exactly the problem. Homework, school and clearly, some of my parents’ answers, weren’t giving me what I really wanted. I had this deep sense that life was the best thing that ever happened to me and I had to figure out how to make the most of it – quick.
After a few years of being called “naïve”, “polyanna”, and other lovely names, I recognized the pattern – not everyone shared my philosophy. Most people acted like life was something to get through in order to move on to something better. I refused to wait. Much like Tim Ferris’ refusal to defer life until retirement, I wasn’t about to wait until Heaven – that was for damn sure.
So I’d try to listen to myself. I’d try to wear what I wanted, take risks, be me, and it all it led to was a bunch of crazy in the head – my mom’s voice, my dad’s voice, my friend’s voices all voting on what would be appropriate (seriously, one of my least favorite words of all time).
I became the human pretzel. I spent at least 20 years trying to be good – with regular intervals of rebellion. Then as you’d predict, I hit a wall of total resentment and complete exhaustion. My marriage was falling apart no matter how much I played the “perfect wife” role and for the first time in my life, I was depressed as hell.
So I filed for divorce. I wrapped my arms around my beautiful kids and I dove head first into yoga, travel and study. My mind, body and soul were FAMISHED. I had held back the real me, somewhere in a cage deep inside, for so long, that when I finally opened up and let myself be seen, I found my true best friend, breathtaking love and my life’s work.
This is one thing I know for sure. If you continue to hold back, being afraid of what people will think of the “real” you, you will regret it forever. You will starve yourself of true love and the deepest of connections. No one will be able to truly see you and you’ll feel like a kid with your toe in the water, while the others are having chicken fights and laughing their heads off.
I am by no means done. I still worry what some people might think if I show up in my tutu and motorcycle boots. I sometimes wonder if I should cover my tattoos. And then someone like Brene Brown, a total soul sister, shows up and rallies me onward.
We’re all bound to forget. So just let someone remind you. The real you is so much easier to love than the fake you. When you mess up, say the wrong thing, fall down, we only love you more because you’re just like us. Don’t let the potential critics – outside or inside – stop you from living this life, full tilt.
I had the realization one day that if the Universe/God manifested as me in this life, looking through my eyes, I better not disappoint!!! I better show it a good time!
Let’s let Brene bring it home, shall we?
She just released a new book called, “Daring Greatly”. It’s based on this exhilarating quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
“It’s not the critic who counts.
It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit goes to the man who’s actually in the arena,
whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood,
who strives valiantly and who errs and fails,
and is sometimes victorious.
But when he fails, he does so daring greatly.”
Brene is such a badass. Here’s what she said after she read his quote,
“If you are not in the arena, getting your butt kicked on occasion,
I am not interested in your feedback. Period.
If you can’t say it to me in front of my kids, then don’t say it.
If you can say it to me in front of my kids…DUCK.”
I am publicly stating, I’m in the arena.
And I’m not leaving.
Come with me.
Credit for that awesome picture goes to the fabulous Curly Girl Design