I bought a hot pink jacket on eBay last week.
I've been selling stuff on eBay recently, just cleaning out a bit and trying to round up some extra cash, but it's a slippery slope from selling to buying. And of course I just happened to see a jacket, in exactly my size, that I didn't need in the slightest. Hot pink, purple stripes inside. Instant lust.
I almost didn't buy it, you see, because I have a lot of guilt about buying stuff I don't need, still, and also because I'm 32 years old. I'm not a sticky three-year-old, I don't need a hot pink jacket with purple stripey insides. I need vegetables and oil changes and that little metal thing that holds the water heater to the wall, and even when I have all of those things, I need to squirrel away every dime I can scratch together.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
I need to be able to protect my family. I failed at this, before. Everything I had done to prepare for the worst, everything I had saved, it wasn't enough.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
Until everything happened with Graham, me and my quirky little blog mostly flew under the radar. I'm not a full-time lifestyle blogger, I'm not a professional triathlete breathlessly reporting victory after victory, I'm just a runner who happened to get injured and decide to start yapping about it while cooped up in bed after shoulder surgery with a full battery on my laptop. That's it. That's what I will tell you when you ask me about this space on the internet that I've spray-painted purple and hung up pictures of my dogs, that is all the credit I ever give myself. I am the blogging equivalent of someone telling me that they liked my pants, and instead of saying, "thank you," I say, "these old things? I'm so fat, they look horrible, don't even mention my thighs, I can't believe I'm even out in public dressed like the marshmallow man that crushed New York."
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
I would tell you then - I would still tell you now - I am not brilliant. Gorgeous. Talented. Fabulous. I am regular, less than regular, even, a nothing-special girl.
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
The snarky self-deprecation worked for a while, the swipes at my own mediocrity got me by. And then Graham got sick. I was overwhelmed by the graciousness of the human spirit, I will probably never stop bringing it up, only now is the weather starting to change because of the wings that flapped last summer. But the flip side is that situation dragged me out from under my rock and pinned me to the wall, naked, an apple on my head and a bulls-eye taped square over the softest part of my heart.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
I have been playing, small. I own this, I am not a victim, I am in charge of my own actions and reactions. Everything that has been said is no worse than the ugliest and angriest things that I have ever thought about myself. I have spent months trying to make myself very, very tiny, hoping that I could crawl back behind the bushes where I wouldn't be noticed. And when I couldn't, I only sucked in more, got quieter, curled up in a ball in a dark corner and held my breath.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.
I let myself believe, I turned cruelty into truth. It's seeped into every thought I have about myself. Friday morning, when I was done warming up at master's and still alone in my lane, instead of just thinking, "Wow, everyone sure is running late this morning," I beat myself up with thoughts of "No one wants to swim with you because you are wearing ear plugs. A ridiculous bathing suit. Because you are too slow, because you can't keep up, because you won't make the intervals, because you just aren't fun to be around." It didn't even occur to me how awful I was treating myself. The same thing happens, in my brain, if someone bails on plans I thought we had. It can't be because my friend is an idiot or a flake, it has to be because I'm not worthy of friendship. If a group rolls out to ride without me and I had no idea it was going on, it must be because everyone tip-toed around to leave without me, not because boys are generally too dumb to understand the concept of "invite." It's a lot of what was behind my running meltdown from a few weeks ago. It's why I've barely been blogging, I'm been so afraid to put any thoughts out there just in case someone feels the need, yet again, to knock me on my ass. Because I have nothing to say that I think is worthwhile. I've been shrinking.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
And I'm not sure why it's today, but that stops. Now. That bullshit is over. I am meant to shine.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
I have spent so much time making sure that I point out my imperfections to the world. I constantly feel the need to emphasize over and over that I know how flawed I am. I am short. I am never going to be the fastest in the water, on the bike, or in the run shoes. NEVER. I am awkward. I have no filter at all. I can never seem to buy jeans that are the right length and don't let my crack hang out the back and are exactly the right color. I don't make small mistakes, I make enormous, embarrassing, eeks-face mistakes. I can dead-lift my own body weight but continue to horrify centuries of women by asking men to pick up the heavy things for me so I don't break a nail. I will always put two spaces after a sentence. I have big hips and mismatched feet and I massively over-share and can't ever just send only one text message and let's not even talk about what happens when I drink too much and, my God, have you met me? So awkward.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
But I am also pretty fucking fabulous. I'm going to own that. I'm saying, out loud, here in writing, that I am awesome. And even writing it - even thinking it - makes me want to follow it immediately with a slam, makes me want to qualify it with a negative. Not gonna do it. I have gigantic blue eyes and a fantastic ass. You can park your bike in it, I'm still proud. And I am loud. Not just noisy or bubbly but straight-up loud. I am passionate; madly, deeply, explosively so. I can quote every line of Ghostbusters, Office Space, Caddyshack, and Spaceballs. I rock the hell out of a karaoke microphone. You will never have as much fun riding your bike as you will with me sucking off your wheel. You will never eat as well as when I drag you into my house and force-feed you things that I have cooked. I am completely uncoordinated but shake my groove thang and dance it out anyway. I have an overwhelming sense of fairness. I HAVE NO FILTER AT ALL. My Unreal Tournament skill level was "Godlike." There are things that I do that I am GOOD at. I am a good coach, I am a good wife, I would never steal paper from the work office closet. I am fiercely loyal once I have decided that you are my friend, although I will give you so much shit that you won't be sure for a while if you have enough ego to be mine.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
And I want to be a better person. I am working towards it, I am only 32 years old. Best-case scenario, I've got 70 more years of putting my foot in my mouth and winking at strangers and tripping on invisible shoelaces and doing all the things that I do that make me human. Not a failure, not worthless, not inadequate, not small. Human. I am 32 years old, I am going to sing at the top of my lungs, I am going to ruin cookies by not measuring any ingredients and I am going to wear the fuck out of that hot pink jacket.