Hello, awesome readers.
Way back in the disruptive corners of my mind, lies a thought. I would love to be able to call it a “dormant” thought, but it’s not. It’s like when your kid pretends to be asleep except that you know they’re not sleeping because the folds in their eyelids are squeezed a little too tight. Well, that’s what this thought is doing. It’s squeezing itself into a blind silence while desperately trying to pass itself off as a thought of my own. (The sneak!)
Why would a thought pretend to be dormant? Probably for the same reason that kids pretend to be sleeping. So that they can disturb you when you least expect it; like when you’re relaxing in the bathtub or about to tackle an important project.
Oh but this isn’t just my thought. You’ve had it too. And while it really is quiet in its demeanor, let me assure you that it’s also very powerful. So powerful that it can paralyze you. In fact, it probably has.
So, you ask, what thought are you talking about?
Patience. I’m about to tell you.
Yup. That’s the one.
It’s a nonsensical thought and one that really doesn’t deserve much attention but at the same time it DOES deserve attention because facing it head-on may be the only way to banish it. Like an exorcism except with less religious chanting and more in-your-face calling out.
Perhaps the best way to evict this paralyzing thought is by dispelling a few myths. This is all stuff we – you and I – already know but may need reminding. And sometimes we simply need to read them when we’re READY. Ready for what, you ask? Ready for a change. Being ready can come after the eleventy thousandth time that you’ve already read the exact same thing.
Let’s hope that this is that eleventy thousandth AND ONE time. Let’s hope that the following myths sink in and change our – yours and mine – perceptions about ourselves forever. The objective? Less paralyzing and more soaring.
The truth is that we – you and I – do not suck. And yet I realize that me simply writing that – you simply reading it – doesn’t help. If it did, this post would end right here. But that’s not how thoughts work. We KNOW we don’t suck and yet that damn thought is still there … taking up space in our minds when we should be high fiving ourselves for our awesomeness.
(No, that was not the sound of a single clap you just heard. It was me, high fiving myself. Go ahead. High five yourself too. It feels kinda good. It’s like forcing yourself to smile when you really don’t feel like it. It moves the energy around. Or something.)
So here we go. I’m about to write – you’re about to read – something you’ve read eleventy thousand times before. Cheers to eleventy thousand and one. Get ready to earn your wings.
Oh wait! Before we begin, let’s make a promise to each other. Raise your right hand and repeat after me:
I, _______________________ (Elisabeth, Charlie, Chanelle, Princess Diva Eclectic Soliloquy … whatever name you choose to go by), do solemnly swear to read the following myths with an open mind. I also promise to not let my eyes glaze over the words, but to really read them even if I don’t think that they apply to me. Amen.
Yo, sistah! Virtual high five. Ashes to ashes, thoughts to thoughts, we are now committed to one another. I’m pretty sure that in a perfect world this means that we have each other’s backs. Yayyy us!
And onto the myths …
Everyone in the entire world is smarter than me.
We don’t always think these exact words in that specific order but much of the time I, you, sit (sometimes stand) in a state of hushed confusion; as though everyone else has the answers to all the questions and we’re just floating about in the dark, pretending to know what we’re doing with arms recklessly flailing about. Think first day of high school except that it’s every day of your life.
Well guess what? We’re all trying to touch on something that makes sense in this world of adulting. No one is immune. No one is born with all the answers. Questions … insecurities … guarded steps forward … These belong to us all. Even the smartest person in the room doesn’t have all the answers.
And here’s the good news. You don’t want to have all the answers. You don’t even want to be the smartest person in the room. If you “think” you have all the answers you’re arrogant. Plain and simple. Also, you stop growing and once that happens, what’s the point? (That wasn’t a real question.)
Everyone in the entire world is more deserving than me.
Although this memory sits in one of my mind’s pockets – a pocket the size of a Montreal pothole in the spring – it pretty much sums up my place in the world.
High school. You remember those days. They were filled with sudden outbursts of pimples (usually ten minutes before an important event like the Friday night dance), and walking cautiously through hallways as you simultaneously tried to get to your next class while praying that you wouldn’t run into the bullies or mean girls or your most recent heart-throbbing crush. For that last one, you actually DID hope to run into him but not today. Not while your face is hosting a pimple the size of a pumpkin. (Please, God, not today.)
When I think back to high school, two words immediately bounce off the walls of my eardrums: Suzy Shallow.
Before I continue, I just want to point out that Suzy is not her real name. I’m renaming her here for two reasons. First, because although I haven’t seen or heard of her in
over thirty years a very long time, I don’t feel like having my ass sued. A writer has a responsibility to protect the innocent. In this case, me. And secondly, Shallow isn’t her real name either. This is my way of being a little vindictive. Don’t judge me. Being a writer has to have SOME perks.
Okay, back to our friend Suzy. Correction: Suzy SHALLOW. Except as you’re about to find out, she wasn’t my friend. Not really.
Suzy was the kind of girl that had everything going for her. She wasn’t just pretty. She was BEAUTIFUL. She didn’t just have nice hair. She had PERFECT hair. She wasn’t just smart. She was THE TEACHER’S PET. She didn’t just have boobs. She was a TEN. And her smile. She could charm her way out of gym class just as easily as she could glance over at you and give you a smirk that made you avoid the lunch room, library, and all bathrooms until the end of the school year. That smirk said that she had you on her list of victims. The trigger for that smirk? It could be anything from a teacher commending you on an assignment in front of the entire class, to you having a good hair day. (Lucky for me, I didn’t spend much time on homework and never had good hair days.)
The only people that were immune to Suzy’s hit list were her friends … the people who made up the long train of her entourage. Although at the time, I suspected that maybe being part of Suzy’s group was their way of staying safe – like home base in a game of tag; benign and untouchable.
And then one day, Suzy needed me. This is how that story goes …
A few months before the day that Suzy needed me, I had a boyfriend who, unbeknownst to me, was someone that Suzy had a crush on. Long-story short, I moved away and said boyfriend and I lost touch as often happens when you’re in the throes of love and 14 years old.
Then one day I was back in town and who do I run into at the mall? Suzy. And she had questions. Lots and lots of questions. She asked for my phone number and promised to call me later that evening. (Because gods forbid she should ask me questions in front of her groupie friends.)
Confession: I stayed by the phone that entire evening. What could little miss popular possibly want to ask me??? When I pounced on the phone for the third time that evening and it was finally her, she admitted her crush on my ex-boyfriend and proceeded to ask a gazillion questions about him. It seemed he wasn’t interested in her and she couldn’t figure out why.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
This was when I realized that even Suzy, the most popular girl in school, wasn’t as confident and self-assured as she let on. While the rest of us were probably all secretly wishing we could be more like Suzy, she was secretly wishing she could be more like … well, me. If said boy liked me and not her, what could I possibly have that she didn’t? (Besides him).
Moral of the story. Again, we all have insecurities. We all think that others are more deserving than we are at times. The good news? We’re all human. No one is more deserving; no one is less deserving. All you can do is be a good person *cough* SUZY SHALLOW.
Showing kindness and always giving your best effort, no matter what your best is at that time, automatically makes you deserving.
Here’s the math formula:
Good, genuine person = deserving.
That said, the “i suck” thought belongs to us all. Some days it wins. Some days you win. Just remember that you are just as smart and just as deserving as everyone else.
The human race isn’t a race at all. We’re simply beings, all at different stages of our own growth.
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