I. I sent out a newsletter today – more like a love letter – in which I extolled the virtues of puttering and shared my newfound love of putting gold stars on the back cover of my journal when I complete tasks. You can read it here if you want. I’ll wait.
Within mere moments, I started getting emails from my lovely subscribers thanking me for sharing & reporting that they are going to go buy some gold stars because they love this idea. Some shared some sadness over how little appreciation or acknowledgement they grew up getting. Some shared that they are currently struggling and that this idea sounds motivating.
II. I know it doesn’t look like much, but this little page of gold stars represents every moment that I overcame executive dysfunction, depression, anxiety, trauma, the consequences of narcissistic abuse syndrome…
These little stars are victories that range from making a difficult phone call to filling out a crucial form to doing my dishes to ordering dog food to feeding myself before noon to launching an e-course to scribbling the realness that is in my journal.
III. The thing I really want to share with you, though, is that after I finished writing that little blurb about puttering and how it helps me and gold stars and how they help me, I had a moment of hesitation. I thought to myself “No one cares about this stuff. You aren’t doing yourself any favours by sharing this. People are going to think you’re silly/childish/unwell. You are taking up too much space in other people’s inboxes. NO ONE CARES EFFY. WHY SHOULD THEY?”
And my finger hovered over the edit button for longer than I’d like to admit before I shrugged, gave myself a little internal hug, and hit send. I put another gold star in my journal right away. Because, victory.
IV. I also got some feedback yesterday about this paragraph from this blog post:
I was talking to a peer last night about how hard it is to be an entrepreneur and feel like you have to be positive all the time and “keep up appearances” in order to succeed. It’s such bullshit. So alienating. Life is a mixed bag of delight and despair and I’m too tired to lie.
I heard from more than a few people that they resonate with this and they are as tired as I am of living in a world where we all have to be shiny happy people all the time.
I am not a shiny happy person all the time. My choice is to stop sharing when I’m less than shiny, fake shininess so I feel comfortable being in the world, or being honest about the world as it is for me and share anyway and let those that want me, stay and those that don’t, leave.
I choose the latter.
V. I woke up this morning to find this awesome writing on my timeline. Andrea and I share a lot of the same concerns about online marketing and entrepreneurship, justice, and cultural misappropriation, so I always listen when she speaks. This blog post on spiritual bypassing was just what the doctor ordered.
VI. What if we just showed up in our realness? The thing we are taught to fear is that everyone will leave us. No one will buy our stuff. We will end up homeless. We will be labeled negative nellies or worse. But I’ve been doing this for over ten years now in a variety of venues, and while I do not have the quantity others may have to show it, I have the quality. People who just want me to shut up and talk about paint don’t stick around for long, but those that appreciate feeling like their own realness is welcomed, do.
And I live for that, even if it sometimes makes me wonder if I’d be a millionaire by now if I just shut my fucking mouth about how hard things are sometimes.
Being real? A million dollars?
I’d rather be real.
VII. Speaking of real, this is what one corner of the studio looks like right now.
And this is what one corner of my living room looks like right now:
And this is my life. Some of it is a mess. Some of it is sanctuary. All of it is useful and all of it matters.
VIII. I know I’m not alone in this, but I was not allowed to have needs when I was a child. If I needed attention (as all children do) I was attention-seeking. If I needed comfort, I was needy. If I was sad, I was dramatic. If I was angry, I was defiant. Having feelings was very dangerous and often resulted in abuse, but I never learned the knack of not having feelings. I don’t know why. I know a lot of people raised in the situation I was raised hardened. I didn’t harden. I got better boundaries – especially over the last few years of intense therapy, but I didn’t harden. I stayed open. I stayed sensitive. I stayed emotional. I *stayed with myself*.
Through betrayal, abandonment, rejection, apathy, I stayed with myself.
As as I stayed with myself I noticed who stayed alongside me. And I noticed who didn’t. And (eventually) I stopped chasing the ones who didn’t. I turned to face the ones who stayed and they are my chosen family and I know they’ve got me and I’ve got them. In their eyes I am not “too much” of anything. I am just the right amount of everything. A lot, yes. But never too much.
IX. If someone decides that you are “too much”, let them go find someone lesser because they are *not enough* for you.
X. I want you to stay with yourself. Come sit by me. Let’s stay with one another.