This came up in my memories yesterday, and though it was written in 2017, I thought it was worthy of a repost because much of it is still true. I’ve included some footnotes, because I’m 100% that nerd.
If you’ve followed me on social media (or been in my classes) for any length of time, you know that I am pretty much ‘fucked up as a soup sandwich’ (h/t to Eva Chancellor), that I’m in therapy* (and have been for years), that I grapple with depression, that I struggle with self-care, that I am often desperately lonely**, that my romantic life is a mess***, that I am introverted (and guarded) to an occasionally life-shrinking degree, and yet, I still manage to maintain an un-curated, balls-out, accessible, intimate connection with my virtual (and meatspace) humans.
I am a wounded healer. And that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? That’s definitely a ‘who does she think she is’ statement right there. It’s the kind of statement that people find polarizing, that people might want to silence me over. But it is true. I share what I share because at least one person reading, watching, or listening has been where I’ve been, and they need to hear that they, too, can come out of hiding with their *whole selves*. Not just the pretty, whitewashed, curated acceptable self, but the *whole self*, and still be loved – and in some cases, they might find, as I’ve done, that they are deeply loved *because* of their willingness to be present and accounted for as their *whole selves*, not just in spite of it.
I know they can because I *do*. Every day. I fling off the covers, and I launch into my life, boldly, sometimes loudly, with all my questions & frustrations, with my joys & sorrows, with my anger & my delight, and I show up with all of it where you can see.
And those that love me, really love me, and those that don’t, know how to find the door.
What does this mean for me, personally? It means that, for the most part, I know that I am loved for *my whole self*. Not just the pretty parts. I can show up with toilet paper stuck to my shoe, spinach in my teeth, bed head, & B.O. and I am loved. I can show up WRONG and FLAILING and even, occasionally BUTT HURT, and I am loved. I can show up wanty, I can show up needy, I can show up full-throated, I can show up whimpering, and I am loved.
You’ve seen it. It’s probably a part of why you’re here.
Obviously, there are spaces in which we must don the masks and cloaks of social niceties. We have jobs. We have family gatherings. We have all the ‘idunwannas’ and the ‘haftados’. Me, too. And in those situations where I’m required to show up with a Suzy Cream Cheese smile on my face regardless of how I’m actually feeling, I do it. Rather well, actually. Because i know when I get home, I can whip off that mask (along with the bra & pants), and i can be in my own skin with my own people – my chosen family – cuss like a sailor, and be absolutely me.
My creative practice emboldens & empowers that.
Because I invest the time in meeting myself on the page the way I do, on the regular, in a somewhat structured and disciplined manner, I know myself. And because I know myself, I can trust my resilience. I can trust myself to deal (with varying degrees of grace) with the consequences of showing up as my whole self. Because I’ve fostered a deep intimacy with all of my parts through creative & spiritual practice, I know who is actually showing up when I show up. I know myself to be well-intentioned, to be mostly full of grace & love, though I admit to having a smidgen of ‘fuck you’ in there, too. I know I’m going to fuck up *and I’m okay with that* because I know I am willing to listen and course-correct when needed. I know I have value. I know I’m worth knowing.
I know myself. I *love* myself. So at the end of the day, whether or not *you* love me is beside the point. Do you see how this works? If you reject me, well, I’ve got me. If you don’t want me, well, I want me. If you don’t like me, well, I’m going to assume that you just don’t know me that well, because if you did? If you knew me like I know me? You’d want to live next door. You’d want to come over for braless Tuesday. You’d want to hang out with me because I am devoted like no one you’ve ever met, and I love my people with the fierceness of a warrioress, and I will put on my boots and kick-ass if you need me to, and I will stuff you stupid on brie and baguette and red pepper jelly if you’re hangry, and I will listen to your stories without trying to fix you. And if you hurt me, I’ll tell you. And if you get it, and you course correct, or even empathize, I will forgive you. And if I fuck up, and you tell me, I will hear you, and I will course correct, and empathize, and we will cry, and hug and proceed.
I know these things about myself because my journals are mirrors, and through them, through all the small and big acts of making, of creation, I see myself reflected back at me. I see my flaws, my cracks, my broken places – and I love them. I see my virtues, my strengths, my superpowers, and I love them.
So, you see, my creative practice means I don’t need people to love or validate me. I’m (mostly) free of that particular piece of what it is to be alive on planet earth. I may *want* you to love me. I mean, I am human, after all, but I don’t *need* you to love me. And that lets me show up. All of me. Front, center, present, and accounted for.
I just wanted you to know.
*I’ve graduated out of weekly therapy into “maintenance mode” for the time being because I’ve achieved a baseline of consistent badassery. I am less soup sandwich and more charcuterie these days.
**I’m never desperately lonely anymore.
***I’m not single, I’m the queen of my own life and mother of wildlings.
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