I’m not in possession of many talents in this life, but one thing I’m good at is making an ass of myself. I believe wholeheartedly in putting myself ‘out there’ (wherever there is), whether I look stupid or not – if I believe in something, I will give ‘er a go. This is something that has only gotten stronger as I’ve aged (so I can’t even blame it on the stupidity of youth), and is why I do things like bust some sweet dance moves when I hear a song I like, regardless of where I am (sorry to my fellow shoppers at the grocery store), and why I’ve taken part in karaoke, even though I really have no business singing in public. When I have something to say to someone, I will say it – I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I’ve suffered a lifetime full of slings and arrows because of that. Yet I still muddle on. It’s interesting.
Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.
~ Thích Nhất Hạnh
Are you familiar with the work of Brené Brown? She’s a researcher who has focused a lot of time and energy researching vulnerability and shame (cool gig or what?), and has written a couple of AMAZING books – “Daring Greatly” and “Rising Strong”. I find her work to be fascinating and life-changing…the trick is being brave enough to put it in to practice. She writes about living your life in a whole-hearted way (kind of like me when I’m always ranting against half-ass-ing things), and she preaches the importance of being true to yourself while working against the negative affects of feeling shame. We have very little to feel ashamed of, yet so many of us wallow in guilt and shame every day. What a friggin’ waste. 😦
The idea of daring greatly, of living a whole-hearted life is showing up and being seen, asking for what you need, talking about how you are feeling (which I rarely do) and also having tough conversations. Her advice is to allow yourself to feel what you feel; you are worth it and should be able to be loyal to your values. Don’t you absolutely LOVE that? I know…me, too.
Here are her ‘Top Ten Tips for Living a Whole-Hearted Life’:
1. Let go of what people think
2. Let go of perfectionism
3. Let go of numbness and powerlessness
4. Let go of scarcity and fear of the dark
5. Let go of the need for certainty
6. Let go of comparison
7. Let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
8. Let go of anxiety as a lifestyle
9. Let go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
10. Let go of being cool and “always in control”
This list is gold, folks – there are some things on there that I have mastered (I don’t give a rat’s arse about what others think, and perfection is so far beyond my reach – and always has been – that I don’t even bother)….but man alive if I don’t get tripped up on #5, #6, #8, and #10. It’s no wonder I don’t sleep more than five hours a night – I spend too much time fretting about the shit minutiae of the day to get any real rest!!! Ridiculous!!!!!
Dr. Brown wrote extensively about how this quote from President Theodore Roosevelt changed her life – and I feel pretty much the same way:
“It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is in the arena. Whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly … who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly …”
This is pretty much a more eloquent way of describing what it is that I try to do with myself – I make an ass of myself (I could medal in it were it an Olympic sport), I try really hard with the things that I care about, yet I am absolutely, undeniably me – always. Here’s a great story that illustrates just how me I try always to be: my boss gave me a play-doh set that makes poop play-doh…it’s called Poo-Doh. You put the brown putty into the turd mold, and the yellow putty into the corn kernel mold, and you can make toy fake poop with kernels of corn in it – and use these poops to delight and amaze your loved ones. How funny is that? My potty sense of humor and delight in all things foul is so clear to every one around me that even MY BOSS buys me shit play-doh for Christmas. Best. Gift. Ever. 😉
I know that I should probably try to live a more restrained life, to be more grown up, serene and zen about things, but honestly….I’m 41 – what’s the point now? That ship has sailed. I like living life out loud, I like telling inappropriate stories whenever I can – and I like going to bed knowing that I was the me-est me that I could be that day.
What more could a girl hope for? 🙂