A year ago I was different. I don't know when I changed so drastically, but it happened- both too quickly and too slowly. I think I know, though, "what" it started with: The truth.
"Tell the truth" and "follow through" were two commitments I made to myself, quietly, without announcement, on my 28th birthday on June 3, 2013. I thought they'd be two little promises that might equate to little shifts to make me a little bit happier.
But the truth is tricky, that way. Because once you start uncovering, un-peeling the lies you've told even yourself, things get messy. And God- once you start telling OTHER people truths...well, there's no going back. There's no such thing as a "little" truth or a "little" lie... you never know how deeply those roots dig into every area of your life.
One of my favorite (depressing) movies is "Revolutionary Road". About a golden-couple-gone-wrong, there's a scene and a line- the ONLY line I've ever remembered from any movie- where Kate Winslet's character says, "No one forgets the truth. They just get better at lying."
I'm sorry to admit I got really great at lying. About a lot. Not malicious or hurtful or even conscious lies (at least not to anyone but myself), but more like excuses...tolerances that I talked into being "ok". Situations that were cracked that I painted over thick enough that no one- not even myself- could see through.
When I was a little girl, I would take after-dinner walks with my parents through a beautiful, wealthy, golf resort community, or, in the summer, after-dinner boat rides along the inlets of another seaside resort community. These sprawling houses with perfectly manicured lawns seemed to have every twinkling light on, and I imagined the stories of the people who lived inside. A husband who brought his wife flowers and told her she was beautiful and kissed her goodnight after coming home from work in a navy suit where he made important decisions and was respected. A beautiful, thin wife who wore a sparkling diamond ring and wore beautiful clothes, and made the house a home with perfectly chosen decor and fresh chocolate chip cookies baked daily. Their perfect children- 2 boys who rough housed, excelled in everything athletic and were respectful young men. A little girl with blonde curls and ribbons laced in her hair, who played with dolls and was inquisitive and creative. The happy, silly dog. The luxury cars. The boats. The life.
Somehow, these "stories" I told myself about the imaginary people in the windows became the blueprint I found myself trying to build. I don't know why. I really don't. Because even when dreaming these fictional people and situations up, they weren't something I necessarily wanted. Their "perfection" wasn't appealing...but I guess, honestly, their simplicity was.
"Everything in my life has always been so extraordinary...I guess I just wanted to know normal."
My best friend told me this one night, and it made everything make sense. My life was never picture perfect. My life was- from the time I was born- robust. Exciting. Varied. Intense. Passion-filled. Artistic. Love-driven. Messy. Adventurous. It was never, and hasn't yet been, perfect. Or, to take the pressure off- "normal". For a long time, I've viewed my "extraordinary" adventures, relationships and choices as being more curse than blessing. It's rare that I ever feel like I entirely fit in. In fact, there are only a handful of people I ever feel like "get" me, even though I know and love lots of people. I have really "out there" views on not some, but MOST things in life and love and spirituality and beyond. I was not raised by both of my biological parents, and have learned that family has less to do with genetics and much, much more to do with choice and love. I spent most of my childhood and adolescence dreaming or creating- writing music, singing on stages, starting businesses, having deep conversations. I've never been "normal". And honestly, I really, really, REALLY wanted to know what that was like. I wanted to be the wife in the house with all the lights that a little girl with the "extraordinary" curse dreams about as she walks by.
So, I chose to seek ordinary. And I'd be lying to say that there aren't some really wonderful things I found. In fact... When I sought ordinary, I got everything I'd asked for...Literally. There's this website called TUT- and it has to do with visualization and the law of attraction. I joined it several years back and one of the questions on it is something like what your deepest desire looks like. I filled in that my deepest desire was to have "a big house filled with lots of people".
And today, and tomorrow, I'm packing up my big house that has, at times, been filled with lots of people. Because, I realize that that "dream" was based on fear. On the fear that staying extraordinary might mean that I'd NEVER fit in. That I'd never be the girl someone dreamed about, or looked up to. The fear that I might be alone. Or I might be unsuccessful and never know what it's like to marry a man in a navy suit who brings me flowers or a mother to perfect children with a boat and a designer handbag.
But now I know, there are things much, much scarier than those fantasies not coming to pass. The thing scarier- the SCARIEST- is the idea of leaving life unlived. Leaving potential untapped. Leaving extraordinary on the table.
I got my dream house. I got my "picture perfect". And there are some perfectly sweet, wonderful moments that were laced through those chapters. But it's time to move on. It's time to let go. And it's time to seek extraordinary.
Because, almost a year ago, I promised to tell the truth. And the truth is...I'm the girl who always runs late. Who cares less about designer handbags and more about functionality. I'll be strong and maybe even lean, but never skinny, which means, I will never be the mom who bakes chocolate chip cookies every day. I WILL be the mom who makes her kid(s) green smoothies and chia seed lemonade. I will probably not be married to a big wig in a navy suit with whom I go through the easily-mapped motions, but rather I will fall madly in love with someone who is madly in love with me, and life, and adventure. He will probably never wear a navy suit, and I will probably love him even more for that. My house will not be filled with black and white, beach-scene family photos, but will instead be a lot like me- warm, a little urban, creative, colorful, and love-filled. My child(ren) will likely always be messy from climbing a tree, or planting a garden, or learning to paint, or making a mistake, and they will have the freedom to try lots of things before they decide for themselves what they should or shouldn't do, with my guidance. The truth is, I'm not a liar, so that's going to have to stop. And when I'm unhappy, I'm going to be unhappy. And when I'm joyful, I'm going to allow that to seep into every conversation, interaction, decision and circumstance, without fear of looking "stupid" or "corny". I'm the girl who wants to cook new, interesting food and sometimes mess up because I won't follow a recipe. The girl who puts herself in really scary situations by traveling, or adventuring or trying something new. The girl who does more for others than they do for her (and that's ok), and who truly loves being around people. I will never be the ordinary, graceful, put-together, sweet, lovely lady from the J. Crew ad. But I will be the passionate, intense, fiery, music-making, truth-telling, adventure-seeking, question-asking, life-living woman I feel aching to resurface within me. Because, if you were to ask me what my "deepest desire" looks like today, I could sum it up in one word:
I believe in extraordinary, even when it comes in exchange for never fitting in or finding your place. Because it's not about "finding" your place. It's about MAKING your place. Making your life, your love, your home, your world. It's scary, and there's no blueprint for it...But I have a profound faith that that's the surest way to know it's worth it.