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“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ee cummings

I watched Wild today, and I”m reading the hobbit. I do seem to be drawn to quest stories.

It came upon me all of a sudden to accept, embrace, and dive in to France, and my love for it. In all its glory and imperfection.

It was not easy to give up the person I thought I was supposed to become, the person I wanted to be.

Past tense.

Everyday I am feeling a bit happier with who I am. A bit less of an ugly duckling and more of a swan. But so unfamiliar.

It is a joyous and light feeling.

Within the expat group I’ve found, it’s especially clear tat there is nothng wrong with me. FOr the first time in my life, I am surrounded by similarly, open, friendly, curious people with similar interests in art, culture, and who want to do things I like to do. That I always thought were strange and kept me apart.

But I’m finding my people. It’s an irrevocable and inevitable process.

As I accept myself.

I have always been this person, who loved to learn and wanted so desperately, so passionately to learn French. I have always loved geography and spinning around a globe and imagining what it would be like wherever my finger landed. I just never thought that would be my real life.

My reallife and my childhood dreams are merging together, and it’s wonderful.

I just had to get over the fact that there’s nothing wrong with not being an “adult,” that is to say being driven mainly by duty, routine, and comfort. If it works for some people, why not? But it doesn’t work for me.

Every misstep is feeling more and more like a path that angels traced specifically for me.

Even some of my most grievous flaws and errors, like the excess weight I put on, seem to serve the divine purpose of teaching me that I am loved and lovable as I am and there is nothing wrong with me. Those words feel strange and scary, as a lifetime of the inner critic is coming dismantled like a glacier detaching to reveal fertile, rich soil.

My inner critic is not always all bad, and its intentions are good. But all in all, it’s done more harm than good in my life I have gone deeper and deeper into my flaws just trying to avoid its voice telling me always and everywhere that I am and always will be and have been inadequate in some way.

But now I know that’s a lie. I don’t need to fix anything.

That’s not to say I’m perfect and there’s no room to grow.

But the most subversive thing I’ve ever heard is to think that I am really ok and there is nothing wrong with me.

Self imrpovement was my main interest and hobby and obsession for so long. NOw I am a person with interests, not just check boxes to fill. I love speaking French, and I just discovered that I enjoy jazz fusion with world music.

I have even become one of those people who cooks a big batch of quinoa for the week in advance.

There is nothing pathologically wrong with me, I’m just hman. And I’m incredibly blessed and rich to be just me.

I didn’t have all that much of a choice. I don’t even know what moves me sometimes. I know it is something greater than myself. ANd the real me is the one that pushes on that chooses to move forward and into all the joy, sublimity, sorrow, fear, and anger and is really present in the dance of life. It is not the inner critic or the voice inside my head. It is the courage that dares to experience it all, fully. THe part that is searching for truth, that is truth, not the one in pursuit of happiness (or some sort of happy pills).

My happily ever after does not look like I thought I would. I thought I would be perfect. I thought I would be in a relationship. I thought I would be normal in some way, or at least soemthing that I could understand. Someone under control.

But now I”ve found myself just a fairy daning in the forest, a complete child filled with reckless abandon, the girl who is literally living a fairy tale every day. The one whose passions and ambitions are slowly becoming one.

I haven’t lost my ambition or my discipline .What I have lost, deep down, is to use it in pursuit of osmething that is not in my heart. But I’ve been blnided t what is in my heart by what is in my mind, and all the should’s that are placed upon my heart and mind.

Thankfully, my cleverness is now in service to my spirit, rather than fighting it.

I don’t know why I’m here, but I don’t need to. I love it, I”m enjoying it, and that’s all ok. More than ok.

When I look back on my life, including the neurosis and anxiety and existential depression and angst, not one breathe has been wasted. It is all beautiful.

You often have to go through some rough stuff o get to Heaven.

But who knew the way to Heaven was through all of the pain and suffering?

And every misdeed fell into a larger plan- we redeem ourselves, and yet even in our darkest moments, we are not in need of redemption in the sense that we need to do something to have worth. The worth i tthere all the while. There may be a trace of Original Sin but Eternal, Basic Goodness is greater than that. Love is greater than that. God is so, so much more than that and far beyond that.

Are we looking for God or are we looking for ourselves. To me, it seems to find one you must find the other. God is in his Creation, and we are certainly in ourselves the parts of it we can hope to know most intimately.

Every cracked toenail, every scar, every luscious curve, every little bulge.

The thing I liked about Wild was that it was such a physical, bodily experience. Eat pray love was great and all about culture and finding oneself in another. But Wild was just so raw, reminding us of the basics of what it is to be human, and to have nothing but ourselves.

And yet we always have so much more.

I feel like I have a completely new life that has just started again. There is the day you are born adn the day you figure out why. THe day you realize that you only have one life. The day you start to wonder what this life is for, and have a pretty good idea.

ANd for me, there is this past string of days where I know, accept, and love myself. That is a real Renaissance for me.

Every day is an adventure. What a privilege, what a gift.

TO be here, to be me.

Namaste,

MJ

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