I took a chance once. Who’s to say if it was worth it. Chances are, my deep emotions picked it apart. And perhaps I never really knew the answer…. or if there was supposed to be one at all… anyway.
I always knew I was different. Take that as you will, but I never really fit the mold of those around me.
My friends often wanted to contain me in their own pretty little boxes. I was embarrassing them, they would mutter under their breath. Don’t get me wrong, I was too self-conscious most often to be that wild and crazy, but pushed my limits in moments I felt I could. Made people laugh more often than not. All the while, cringing inside as my funny faded away. For some reason, I have often felt alone. In the depths of myself, I have felt like I was missing something. Maybe in my rush to fix things and people, I have neglected the true center of my world… Me. I, too, have often tried to put me in a pretty little box. So I could fit next to the other pretty little boxes in my life. It’s a lot neater that way.
This is not in any way a plea for a circle of people to make me feel my worth. I just want to really be authentic with what this means to me. I will try to let my words find their way through the often misdirected emotions and assumptions.
I have had plenty of friends. Close ones, deep ones, friends that knew when to smack me upside the head, and those that let me just be me. I have known there were some who just don’t get me. That’s always been ok. There are days I just don’t get me either. To say we all understand ourselves with never a question would be a rarity. And that, too, is always ok.
I believe it is in the learning process that we truly become what our definition of ourselves is. That changes, yes. But we define it in ways sometimes we don’t understand either. And yes…. that also is ok.
That definition often becomes skewed when we rely on others to validate it. In fact, how can it not? It is OUR definition first and last, and to allow others the power to create words around our very soul just seems… well, wrong.
Why can I say that? I have done it. Often, before I knew better, before I was older and wiser, hell, just yesterday.
I found my way back to the center of my world. I wasn’t drifting for long… I renegotiated with my WHY. I fought it at times, but I won. This time. The only time that counts.
I have a tattoo around the Apollo Butterfly on my left arm…. the words read “Be the Change.” It comes from one of my favorite Gandhi quotes, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I thought for a long time that meant that I should be the things that I feel are right, and ethical and true, the things I expect to see in others.
While that may be true, I found myself wondering more about what the “world” is that I am looking to change. The globe seems pretty big. And we all know the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
So I picked up the trunk first… Ok, maybe not the visual I am going for here, but I took my first bite. I wanted to give to others. Not the first time, and certainly not a hard thing to do. I created a food drive to help fill the shelves at the Coatesville Community Food Co-op. Gloria saved my number in her phone. I just may be on speed-dial now. I brought truckloads of food to her warehouse and still have food to deliver. I found that audacity isn’t really that hard when you declare and proclaim what you are going to do. So I did. That’s one little world that I helped create change in.
As I look around me to find what else I wish to see change in, I couldn’t help but walk past my mirror with my eyes fixated on something else. I dodge my glances. I think maybe there are others who need help. I pick up the phone instead. There is a friend who needs to talk. I take care of some work. I have a feeling my dogs needs to go outside.
And then I see it…. the eyes that look back from the glass as I shut the cabinet door. I am fixated for a minute. I am lost. And for the first time in a while I see something I haven’t seen. I am allowing those eyes to speak. To let go of the things they have held so dear.
I walked to my laptop and began to type. My audacity today has allowed me to be quiet. I wasn’t really talkative all day. Barely saying anything to anyone. And that, in this moment, seems ok too.
I realize the silence is my process. I am changing. With that comes a cathartic experience I can’t really put into words. You can ask those eyes I saw in the mirror… That center of my world. Me.
I don’t choose to stay in this moment.
Through the deepest pain and the deepest joy, I accept that my fate is to feel things. And that… has to be ok.
I will change the world, small bites, then big bites, internally and externally…
And for all of those who scoff at my audacity to want to do so I say this…
I will. Check my mirror.