Why do we do it? Block, cut off, drown out, suppress, whatever you want to call it, busy ourselves instead of sitting with what is and what is right, what moves our soul to sing and dance. Oh that is right, maybe you have forgotten what that is like or worse still you can't recall a moment when your soul moved you to a place above ecstacy other something you digest.
When was the last time you cut loose? Put on your favourite outfit because you just wanted to? When did you tell someone how amazing they are, what they mean to you, how they matter in this world? When did you tell the person you love how you feel to know they live inside your heart? Whilst you are busy worrying about what people will think, is it insane, is it a risk, life is passing you by and so is every person, every event that brings you closer to what you long for.
So out comes this radiant beauty of confidence and independence, hot pink leopard print tutu, with a huge tule skirt, black lace up pirate boots, a feather/fluffy jacket and a crown "I'm ready"....Who could not smile at that picture!
On entering Maccas for a quick treat on the way home I was pulled aside by my little person who asked if people were staring and why would they, so I reminded her it was just at how amazing, daring and gorgeous she is..and what was her response "I know".
Oh to be five again, to be brave enough to be emotional & honest with yourself, let alone others; to rip down the walls of bricks and mortar, security and self protection, to reveal our vulnerability, passion and dreams. To take off the masks and reveal the true identity, sheltering in comfort & ease, yet too proud or scared to step outside the safety zone.
What are you so afraid of? What happened on the way to adulthood that stole your bravery, courage and risk taking. Who was it that with a big heeve ho, tossed you behind that brick wall you hide yourself behind, the one who is terrified of letting their heart reveal secrets you agreed to take to the grave; say what needs to be said, be forgiving, understanding, unconditional.
If I said grab some paper and don't start writing until go and write all the questions you've never asked, all the dreams you have, all the desires, passions, thoughts, wishes, things you wish you could do, how much paper would you need? No I'm not talking just about your bucket list (last time I went down that path I opened up a bloody hornets nest & had to remove the post!). There are some out there who believe anyone who needs a bucket list, who desires anything more than what they have right now is selfish, self centred & has major issues with gratitude. Yet to put a flip side on that self righteous notion, aren't you not taking for granted the very life you have been given? What about all the children, adults, people out in the world right now suffering, with moments to live, those who have gone before us with unfinished dreams & desires. I'm sure they would give more than just their opinion to trade your life for the one they no longer have.
Come on people, dig, get out a bulldozer size dig if you have to & dig deep. Why are you locking away your heart? That soul is aching, it is needing you to find that damn key, open that lock and give it wings! You are your dreams, your actions, every foot you put forward, each time you stand still, you give & take, no one else does it for you. Stop passing the buck. He/she does not hold you back, you hold yourself back, life has some big ropes that do their best to hold you down, you are the only person who can break those ties or wind them up until you work it out. Give yourself a chance, give others a chance. You cannot possibly predict how others will react until you give it your best shot.
The thing about behaviour is that whatever you do will affect how someone responds and acts. Shit happens! Yep let's call it what it is & sometimes it comes in a truck, a cup or it drowns you & you nearly suffocate under it. Not everyone can be bothered with thinking before they speak or act & sadly each of us will be the victim of this at some point in our lives. There will be some who know the incredible pain that is inflicted at the hands of another, either by words or their actions. I can't change that for you, I can't even change my own past. What I can do is change my attitude towards it, I can take back the power or I can keep feeding it. I can stay on the floor (where the view is dismal) or get my arse off the floor & keep going. That is my choice. Yep there are rules, we live with them, are governed by them and they attempt to keep us from too much chaos and disorder.
What happens is you get told you can't do something enough, you believe it yourself. Where you believe in the psychoanalytic stuff that underneath all that white matter or weaved in between it are your tape recordings played over & over in your head that will be the foundations of your decision making. Some believe it's as simple as wiring. As a child the lessons we learn are the lessons we keep. Yet let me tell you what makes you a clever smarty pants species is your capacity to change, to make choices, to basically get your crap together. Your past does not define you. Whatever happened, happened & wow did it happen! See it for what it is, take some lessons from it, turn it around in the palm of your hand & take back the power over who you become.
I'm well aware, having seen it in children more than enough, actually probably just as many adults who still believe their voices from childhood. If you are reminded of what you can't do enough, you forget about what are your strengths, you begin to loose sight of them.
If you are hurt often enough, you begin to believe you are not worthy of love. You stop believing in its endless possibilities. You give up, give in, let go, hold on too tight. Your stop adapting & changing & growing, you stop learning. You become bogged down & stuck & just like a vehicle pulled to the side of the road, you've turned the engine off & just watching the rest of the world go by.
When someone lies, deceives and hurts you, you not only stop trusting others, you stop trusting yourself. You stop risk taking, you play it safe, put a few more bricks on that wall and bunker down for life. As the days go by, you build it higher & you become more comfortable there, not sticks & stones going to get over that wall.
I was there, I'm not talking out of my posterior! I held back, put up with and made excuses and they were justifications for playing the same song rather than learn something new. It is far easier to stay in what is than to go what isn't. Fear builds anxiety & the more you feed fear the more anxious you are & nothing triggers fear more than uncertainty. It takes enormous courage & strength to look fear in the face & tell it to get out of your way. Once you do, every step becomes easier & you wonder why you waited so long.
Nothing puts you out there more, builds those biceps & strengthens those butt muscles more than life throwing you back over that wall and you having nothing and I mean nothing to loose. Stop wasting hours in the mirror feeding that uncertainty of who will see you, what will they think, will I be liked, will they laugh; stop listening to all those voices in your head & put on something you love, get comfortable & the right people won't care & those that do won't matter anyway. You realise the people who catch a glimpse of you in your gumboots and favourite lace skirt, hot passionate red lipstick in the daytime, may pass a glance, yet given their minds are so small I bet they won't recall you or that day in 24hrs let alone years from then. If you don't get that stuff off your chest, it will clog up those arteries, it will weigh down that heart and it will anchor the soul in despair. Cut some loose.
Someone once told me not to change to be what others wanted, otherwise as a chameleon it would never stop & you would never know who you were looking at in the mirror, it would scare the crap out of you everyday! Be yourself & those who are attracted to you will stay & linger, those who don't, let them leave. You do not need to impress anyone, you are impressive. There is nothing more exciting, attractive, sexy, than a person who is unique. You don't need to be the edited, photo chopped chick on the front cover of the magazine, you are you, be proud of you, scars & all. Find your own style, find your own words, discover your truth. Be YOU!
What we all strive for, ache for & long for, even if we run from it, even if we try & spend all our time & energy working on that wall & cave we hide in, is our need to connect, to belong to someone, to something bigger than ourselves. If you are not you, if you don't even know who that is, how will anyone else?
I was walking through the shops a few weeks back & came across a couple holding hands. Nothing unusual about it at all. It was just one of those days as a single person, busy, life going not exactly as you plan, that you catch a glimpse of this very large woman, no shoes, piercing in many places I would be reluctant to be pierced & a very thing, no shoes (I think they were pants he was wearing, yet I could see more of his underwear than his trousers) & they were gazing at each other, their hands were locked tight & I was thinking wow, just wow. All the dressing up & dressing down & doing what you think is the right thing to make the right connections is only going to push you further off the radar. Just go out there & be the best you, the authentic you & find someone who wants the real version of you.
What legacy do we pass to our children about life, believing in ourselves, being the best we can be if we are sitting in our comfort zone making excuses? They don't need our permission to be their best, they need us to show them. Do you give up, give in? Do you have a wall? Have you dug yourself into a cave? Do you even know who you are? How can they learn how to believe in themselves if you don't believe in you or for them in that matter.
Put on your gumboots, fairy wings and go to town if you have to!
Dance in the kitchen if the music fills you up. Pick up the phone & even if there is no reason & it scares the hell out of you, tell them you love them, you always have, always will & you don't need anyone to complete you, you are complete & they would be crazy to let you go & if they do....let them. Pick up yourself & put on your big girls pants, favourite lipstick, saddle up & keep going.
I was out the other day at the gym, having a chat with someone who is struggling with their body image and they made a comment that it was "ok" for me as I didn't have to worry about that. Worry no, I don't. I honestly don't care about some fake, plastic image society has conjured up through people who never stop to question why. Yet luck? I'm me because of luck?
It is not luck that drags me up everyday and works damn hard every step of the way, every ache, every injury, every kilometre I have to change my music frequently to keep motivating myself to keep going. At first it was self loathing & punishment, now it is a reward. It was the most empowering decision ever. To cut loose those chains that held me back from every decision, every risk, every dream I had.
"What if....." someone put to me, "What if you went after them (dreams, goals, passions) one by one, have you ever thought about what if you caught one? how different you life could be". What if, like Alice down the rabbit hole, you kept going, with no clue as to what or who was up next. You keep those witts about you, believe in a little magic & hang on tight to that faith! Churchill was spot on, when you get to the end of that rope, tie a knot in it and hang on, swing if you have to!
The obstacles didn't disappear & it was far from easy, yet my attitude had changed, nothing and no one was going to hold me back again. I savor the shaking in my boots stuff for later & I play Clint Eastwood's voice in my head when the going gets tough "go ahead make my day". Like an energy sucker, I absorb that frustration, the judgements, the untruths; I pack it into that childhood luggage & use it to build those biceps, push the hail damage out of those thighs & all the while smile through the fog in my glasses & sweat running down my neck. I changed my affirmations to remind me of the words of a cancer patient, you can take most things from me, yet you will never take my will power, I will hold it tight til the end. This is no battle or war, it's a willingness to accept the things I can change & can't and to do something about those things I can. I'm no perfect body, I'm not even what the media says is a perfect size, I still like pizza & I still love a glass of wine. I love even more to feel good about myself & all the working out, starving myself & matching my image to media generate ones will not do that.
Rules like when to do the dishes, when to mow the lawn, what to wear to town, how I can love, who I can't, who I can forgive, who I should, who I should be, who I shouldn't, these ridiculous rules that others conjure up in the boredom of their own lives, in the hope that if they focus on mine long enough, they won't have to address any of their own. I will be who I choose to be, love who I choose to love, live how I choose to live, I will share my gifts with who I choose to. I will not bow to your socially constructed ignorant pictures of me. I don't need you to tell me who I am, I decide. I don't need you to tell me I'm worthy, I decide. I don't need you make me feel like I matter, I do matter & if you aren't smart enough to see that then how very sad for you to not have someone like me in your life.
It wasn't luck when I was around 35kg heavier and it isn't luck to balance it while juggling a cup that is already overflowing, another degree, a new career and enough moving to consider a life as a gypsy would be easier! It wasn't luck to rip my heart out from that cave I'd stashed it in for safe keeping & preservation until anthropologist discovered it in its immaculate entirety thousand of years from now, what would they learn from an unused heart, slightly worn & tired? I took it out of that box & couldn't be bothered sticking in on my sleeve, plus I had other plans for those biceps, I stuck it right out front, like a target, with a go ahead take your best shot sign! I thought it is now or never & maybe it will be both.
Be careful people, careful you don't assume that smile has not come without effort, pain and a story you only read about. Careful not to over generalise or simplify your friends, people who may be smiling through their sheer determination never to give up. This is not luck, something you toss a coin for or gamble on. You can't bet on life, there are no guarantees. If you don't take the shot you, the opportunity is gone, the wind will change & the conditions along with it & before you know it what once was is now gone.
I can't tell you how to change your life, only you can do that & I wouldn't want to, I'm too busy sorting my own. I can only chat away about what has worked for me, inspire others, challenge myself and keep going forward. I've learned through experiences I wish I'd never had, that life is not easy, it's damn f***ing hard at times, it could be made easier if someone would just put out their hand to you & help you to your feet, yet that doesn't always happen. Oh sure it would be nice to think Mr Disney was onto something; that some great hot looking perfect partner is going to slay dragons for us, has the best looking horse in town & he can ride! Manages to balance a sword & those red roses & sweep you off your feet all in one big magically swoop. I feel nauseated just contemplating it.
Reality is so far different than some chick flick or cartoon you day dream over. We can wish with all our capacity & still need to take a rain check on that & get on with life at times. You need to make your own choices & let others make theirs. As painful as it can be, if someone can't see you for who you are, like Oprah once said, if they aren't prepared to ride the bus with you then they sure as hell don't deserve to ride in your limo.
I've worked in bars, as a secretary, cleaned children's toilets, I've done so many things & adapted so many times I feel tired thinking about it. There are people who stayed for the ride & those who dropped off when I didn't fit their image of who they wanted in their life. Funny thing about that is they tend to pop their heads back up when your income goes up, life changes, you drop a bit of weight. I even had a situation where all went well & we got along like a house on fire until they realised I had tattoos & like a switch connected to their mediocre stereotyped driven brains I was then on the out. I've had guys who are more attracted to whatever image they have in their heads that pushes their buttons than they are with what comes out of my mouth. A friend's husband once told me if I only kept quiet & different have an opinion & definitely don't talk about the ugly work stuff, then I was more likely to stop being single (I'm still single). I was married to someone & in a relationship for nearly 20 years who never once read an assignment, a research piece, not one published article or attended any graduations, yet happy to tell me if my arse looked big in something or it didn't & to recommend what I should wear. What people notice about you tells you more about them than it does about you.
From these lessons & from the loss of major relationships I invested way too much time & are no longer relevant in my life, I found myself. I found I feel just as comfortable in yoga pants as I do in a suit. I talk & I enjoy talking, I enjoy people who talk & I love what everyone has to say, even when it is wrong lol :) I don't need to find a relationship to complete me, I'm complete. If someone comes along that looks at me & sees the sparkle on my face, behind every scar & lesson that has shaped me along the way; someone who takes the time to listen, to appreciate & can be honest then wow I'll look forward to that, yet I don't need it like I need to breathe. I can breathe pretty well on my own.
So what will it take? What do you need to get that key & open up that heart you've tucked away in a safety deposit box. Who are you & what is it going to take for you to matter to yourself enough that you dig deep & take a hammer to that wall, take a tank to it if you have to. What is it going to take for you to come out of that cave & take a look at the view, to find someone to keep you warm, to hold you when you are at your best & worst; when you are sexy & when you need tissues battling the flu. Someone who loves your arse in summer & winter (as we all know winter is a time of comfort food). There is no better time than now to love with all your might, to dance with the freedom of a child oblivious to an audience, sing like you are the finalist for X Factor and love so great, so unconditionally that you don't need it returned, you have enough to give away & still keep going. Let those in who find it & appreciate it. Wave on & wish them well those who don't.
Whatever happened before you, before today is yesterday. You did what you had to do, you survived. You are stronger, more capable & you have learned a few lessons along the way. Now be YOU!
Take a chance on you.
Take a chance on someone else.
Take a chance on something different.
Take a risk & if it doesn't work, do it again & again & again.
You are worth the risk.
Believe in yourself.
You are worthy.
You are enough.
You are complete.
I am different, I am worthy, I am worth the risk and I will keep going whether you realise this or not.
Now where is that lycra & those boots!