As I look at more years in the rearview mirror than ahead, I ponder how I ended up here. So many ideas of what I was supposed to do and where I thought I was going. I’m happier with myself and by myself, but it was not always this way…
I had such a blissful young life, oblivious to so much. The “golden child” doted on by everyone in my wake. Life was handed to me in scrumptious bits and the gift of adoration, plentiful and constant. Moving into adolescence in a world not my own, the realization that I didn’t quite fit and awareness of a larger world. I was fairly young when I tasted mortality, perhaps it drove me to riskier escapes; exploring seedy underbellies and the darker sides of night. Rebellion came easy, in the hay days of city night life, renowned bands and legendary clubs. Endless days rolled into nights, rolled back to days. Breaking the aimless cadence was essential for survival. Took escaping a half a world away and shedding much of my identity to discover myself.
Somewhere along the way I found other misfits; nerds and geeks, expats and clusters of those who beat to a different drum. Camaraderie is a powerful thing, when you feel singular. Realization that conventionality is a myth of sheep is liberating…and titillating. Like a decadent treat or mood altering drug, tempting, yet taboo.
Then life and society tells you it’s time to do what’s expected. Biological clocks and fear of being alone started me walking towards known paths. White picket fences and Mother’s Day Out, holiday traditions and regular meals. The Norman Rockwell life seems so idyllic, until you peel back the curtain and it’s not enough. Love without passion and rote responsibilities are an existence, not a life. Staying could have been simple, continuing to go through the motions and do the ‘right’ thing, but what example would I set and was this the sum of all that I was meant to ever be? Untangling a life, more than a decade in the making is no easy task, nor should it be. The hardest things were shaking up my child’s world and owning up to my role in the unhappiness.
Not sure what I thought I was supposed to do, uneasy in my ability to execute, wandering from job to job trying to make a living. Attracted to people out of my grasp, emotionally or circumstancially; perhaps intentionally. Funny thing about all this lack of success is there really is not much to lose.
Curation didn’t seem to work, following conventional streams was not fulfilling or fun. The option that remained seemed to be bolder. If I was going to disappoint a large number of people, I should not be among them. Later I realized all those people whom I thought were concerned, didn’t think about me nearly as much as I thought they did. When they might, it was nothing like the story in my head.
Seems a bit silly now, exisiting in a fashion so small as to be imperceptable. All hero journeys start with breaking the mold, why did I wait so long to unshackle and emerge? Who really cared if I was standing on stage and singing off key? Those who judged were not additive, I owed them nothing. Shedding the expectation of others is powerful, yet unascertained; like unsheathing Excalibur or wielding an Ollivander wand.
The biggest gifts are self awareness and empowerment, along with my posse of supportive comrades. Calling for courage, accountability, honesty and fellowship. Stirring the pot, stoking the flames, echoing the battle cries, so we never settle for complacency, mediocrity or banality. The world gains nothing by compromise or hoarding. We save for days that never come, bucket listing our dreams and desires labeled ‘what ifs’.
I see you, hiding in the corner where I once crouched, looking nonchalant and unassuming. I see your trepidation and hesitation, I know your angst. Failure is a warning label for the unachievers. What do they know of purpose and glory? On the other side of discomfort and uncertainty lies a field of gratification they will never know.
I only wish I had known this sooner, but perhaps it was only in getting here I can fully comprehend. There is epic badassery awaiting, so my respite concludes. Perhaps a greater recanting will happen in the future; a memoir, a fable, an expose, we shall see…
For now, consider this my calling card and invitation. Live beyond the constraint of small minds. Follow your energy. Live your purpose. No one has it figured out anyway, we’re all making it up as we go along. We might as well be our own maestro, because no one else knows the rhythm of your heart.
“Find out who you are. And do it on purpose.”~ Dolly Parton