A big, ongoing thing I’ve been working on for the past 22 years is coming to terms with myself.
And not in an ‘I love exactly who I am and never criticize one thing about myself ever’ kind of way. That’s unrealistic, and frankly just kinda foolish. We all nitpick things about ourselves, lots of things; Something about our bodies every other half hour, our crooked smile, that one strand of hair that never sticks the right way, our messy rooms, our messy pasts, our regrets, the list goes on. But I’d like to offer up that those things are necessary. Nitpicking gives us perspective, it reminds us of the things we’ve stopped criticizing, the things we set down. Sure, we’ve still got stuff, goodness gracious me oh my, we always will. But the pesky stuff seldom sets up camp. It comes by, sings a song around the fire, but packs up before the sun comes up.
We can’t give up nitpicking for lent, or go to nitpickers anonymous, but we can come to terms with ourselves. This is my best attempt:
Building a character to stand on that’s more like cement and less like a trampoline. Crafting who I am into a space conducive for community, an odd one. A space that people can walk into and stretch to be as big as they want, as bizarre as they want, a place that has a lot of hypothetical bottles of wine and good conversation. I want people to know that I am a safe place, a place they can cuddle up near with a good book, a place that will keep their secrets. I am learning to test run these things myself, so that I can tell people that they are really really true. I want them to be.
Being really brave and hypothetically puffing out my chest. Listening really carefully to the quiet voices of my ambitions constantly chatting within me and trying my best to take part in their conversations. Doing justice to the dreams I’ve been harvesting for years, not neglecting to water them and set them out in the light. I like to bully myself into taking time for my passions, into stopping in the middle of target to write something down, into telling someone I think their coat is fantastic the second I think it.
Unlearning worry-wart-itis. Setting down the umbrella I carry around waiting for rain, or a shoe or a bunch of rocks to just come tumbling down on top of me. Thinking less about what other people think about me and thinking more about what I think of me and why I think the things I do about myself. Treating fear like a wee hours of the morning informercial- It sounds compelling at the time but upon purchase all it will do is sit around and bug you that you don’t have a place for it.
Trying to be someone that my conscious is proud of. That my 11 year old self is proud of. That my parents are proud of. Trying to be someone I’m proud of. And giving myself a well deserved slap across the face when I need it.
I think at the end of the day, the most important thing is sitting in comfortable silence with yourself and not feeling alone.