Emotionally nude and learning the art of being present.
We’re all flawed. All of us.
No matter which way we spin our truths, we simply should know better than to go around finding fault in others without acknowledging our own. It’s hard right? There’s an awareness that goes with this epiphany, at least I think it’s one because it makes me have to stop, literally thwart a thought and then re-think it. Sometimes I don’t always get to the re-thinking part because the ego driven, impetuous part of me wants to seduce the notion of excoriating someone just a little longer. It feels so darn good, feeding fleeting insecurities and trying to validate them. I’m naked here – no not literally! I’m naked in the sense that I will never write about what I don’t put into practice and I fail epically at times and then pace back and forth, chewing on the cap of my pen* wondering how I can blog my self-realizations into pretty prose.
My good friend sat with me and commiserated with my quandary when I was writing this. It was tough. Being in a literary birthday suit has its moments of palpations that had me dialing her after an outing, hyperventilating on the line.
“I don’t understand.” I wailed, still finding a moment to stuff bread into my mouth. “I was judged and literally exiled off to a sofa where other exonerated people must have been sent. It was the sofa of inequity, all because I was feeling a little anti-social and couldn’t find ways to dance to classical pop. Is that even a genre?”
“And…” I could feel her smiling through the receiver, that smug all knowing smile of hers.
“Anddddd,” Squeezing my eyes shut I barfed out. “I could have rubbed someone’s stomach and asked if they were pregnant, when they weren’t.” I cringed. Lets have a moment for that cringe.
I know, I had committed the biggest faux pas of all etiquette books and even asked how many months? After that it was like high school, I was cast out and sent glares of hate from her friends. The entire day had been a potpourri of misunderstandings and a series of memories of being bullied when I was in middle school. In her calm voice** my friend simply said, “We’re all multi-dimensional individuals, you’re going to have days where you screw it up, say the wrong thing and come off as crazy. You’re not out there intentionally hurting someone, making them feel bad. Did you really ask how many months?”
Ignoring that last question, I knew she was right. There were days where I would plummet into the throws of melancholy and the writer in me would take over, chained to my laptop with misanthropist labeled to my shirt like one of those hello stickers, much to the chagrin of my loved ones. On other occasions, I would much rather be concerned with the copious amounts of gluten-free spring rolls I was eating to the extremity of neurosis. My point? I don’t believe there is a stagnant set of demeanors for anyone, we’re all perfectly flawed and do make mistakes.
Shunning away painful memories of the soirée I had attended the night before, I thought about how we sometimes can be exiled rather harshly for our shortcomings. In my case, I spoke without thinking but in my defense I’ve never seen such a spherical gut before. Oh right, I’m making it worse. The interesting thing was non-preggo had something nasty to say about everyone that night and no one seemed to confront that issue.***
I thought being multi-faceted is like embracing your inner je ne sais quoi. Do we secretly have a level of expectation that people should fall under our categories of acceptability and like-mindedness? I’ve been horribly guilty of this, and in a world where diversity is applauded why do some of us have a second set of reptilian views of conduct for the way others behave, conveniently excluding ourselves? Why eviscerate those who are simply evolving? We all lose equilibrium, trip and try to figure out the things that we don’t understand and we’re never going to view ourselves the way others do. Every single opinion is different and ultimately, we need to perceive ourselves with loving eyes because as the cliché goes, if we do this we are able to love most people. I say this with all the sangfroid I can because I was bullied and beat up in middle school and early high school. Every. Single. Day.**** Instead of loathing the people that were unkind to me I became very tolerant and all I could do was change who I was. I could have grown up being vengeful, reclusive, finding fault in anything and everything and despising everyone but that wasn’t something I knew how to do. So, after shedding a ridiculous amount of tears and eating my body weight in coconut cream pies I kicked myself in the butt and asked what was I going to do about it? How could I turn this around and be one strong woman? The answer didn’t arrive instantaneously the way the UPS guy so lovingly delivers my Net-A-Porter purchases but over time I had a mantra, even for when I mess things up.
Here it is: Never allow others to determine who you are and what you are made of. Not only should you own being strong, own being sure of yourself too because every time you fall you evolve.
No matter what you do, there are going to be times when you are going to be judged and instances where you may tumble and judge. It’s part of self-development. Am I ever going to rub anyone’s belly again? Heeeeeeck no! You know how the saying goes; when you’re aware of it you have the power to change things. Everyone evolves at a different pace.***** I have to constantly keep this in mind because when people are discontented with their own lives, they tend to become harsh critics out to castigate others, prolonging growth. I’ve learned to have tremendous solicitude for this. Sadly, when you call individuals out on where they falter it can make them angry or spiteful. Sticking a mirror in front of someone who has not understood that it doesn’t take much to love who they are, causes them to only see their faults. As a result they will only see yours. So just focus on bettering who you are, everyone will catch up at some point – one can hope. Be kind to yourself. Sure, I screw it up, say the wrong thing on more than one occasion, I think the axiom- foot in the mouth should have my name next to it, but being present****** gives me the opportunity to put my ego aside and see things from someone else’s perspective. It’s not easy to do but definitely not impossible and was probably the hardest lesson I had to learn.
You know, I think we all are an amalgam of complexities- good and fault filled, constantly evolving. A series of well-collaborated positive thoughts that create empathetic exchanges is my birthday suit definition of growth. That’s something to be proud of and in my nude and humble opinion, the composite of not just an enlightened being, but of a great being.
* They really should make pen caps more edible and possibly flavored like candy.
** I could tell she was trying not to laugh.
*** Majority triumphs. Sigh…Rules of an obnoxious clique.
**** I remember a really mean girl wanted to beat me up, ironically she now works for the paramedics, – she grabbed me by the lapels of my jacket and told me she was going to kill me. Naturally I kicked her really hard in the leg, wiggled my way out of my coat and told her to keep it, running home faster than a pre-pubescent classmate that stole a Playboy from a 7-11. I really liked that coat. He really did steal it.
***** This is my own favourite mantra, memorized.
****** When you choose to be present, that’s just one of many ways to be kind to yourself.