People reading my very first blog post: On top of the world.
The tragedy in Connecticut: In despair.
New clients for my business: On top of the world.
My little brother Joe’s birthday was yesterday but he will never get older than he was when he died in 2009: In despair.
Last night my partner said they feel willing to add a foster child to our family (!!!): On top of the world!
Ok. I can be a bit extreme. I feel deeply. I get very excited easily. I feel the depths of sadness easily. The world is a traumatizing place sometimes. It is hard to hold space here when the world feels hard. (I wrote a post about the hard/sad things yesterday but can’t bring myself to publish it)
But on the other hand I had felt so excited that a few people had read my blog! I was running around my house very happy the night I posted it. I felt on top of the world! Honestly, I really did.
I had felt really vulnerable after I posted my first blog post here. I put it on a post on facebook that Kylie had written asking about blogs and then left the room. Two minutes later I decided I had to delete it! It was too personal. People would judge me. People would think I was too messed up to be their friends. The facebook post I posted it on was in a parenting group. A PARENTING GROUP! You can’t put the things I have on my list in a place that parents can see! Especially parents you are supposed to have playdates with.
I feel good in the world for the most part. I like who I am. I have really amazing friendships. But I still operate on a few old belief systems that are deep in my psyche. I know them and I am aware when they show up but some times they are stronger than the part of me that has grown beyond them. So, I some times feel like I don’t belong. Like I am just a little bit off. I felt this in school when I was in and out of college, feeling like a fraud and worried that people would realize that I didn’t belong there, that somehow they would learn that people like me don’t go to college, that people like me don’t get to go beyond their hometowns and always thinking that they could see it on my face. I still have that feeling sometimes.
I remember being at a Mamalates (this is a pilates class for mom’s and their babies) and thinking that the other mom’s knew that I didn’t belong. The weird thing was that I DID BELONG. I met all the qualifications: I was a mother, I had my baby with me, I was wearing clothes that were appropriate (well, semi-appropriate) for pilates. But in my head I felt that the other mom’s might somehow realize that I was not like them. That some how I am always a bit of an outsider. I think that somehow others can spot it. That I don’t really belong here or deserve this.
So, in an instant I can feel on top of the world and five minutes later I can feel sad, embarrassed, ashamed, overwhelmed. I go over and over the things that I say when I am talking to new people, “Why did you say that? Ugh, you are such a freak! You shared too much (or too little) or drew attention to the things that make you different. Ugh!” So, there is a little bit of self obsession. Which brings me to the topic of this post. Being right sized.
Being right sized. This is one definition of humility. Another definition is a clear idea of who you are, followed by a sincere attempt to become who you want to be.
I guess I am trying to find myself in the middle. I am not the most amazing person to walk on this planet but I am not the worst either. My sadnesses are sad and valid, my happinesses are real, but they are not any more true than anyone else’s. I want to keep it in perspective. I want to find myself right where i belong, right sized.
I felt more connected to people on the streets after joe died because I knew that you can’t see the grief people are carrying. In line for the bathroom after a movie, I looked up and down the line and knew someone in that line was grieving. Just like no one knew my brother had just died, I didn’t know what the others were going through.
I come with my experiences, with my beliefs (the ones I’ve created and the ones I’ve been taught) and I can separate myself so easily from everyone else. But maybe humility is not about being the best or the worst but finding myself right in the middle. Connected to everyone.
There is a shared grief and a shared happiness and we all have experiences that shape us. I think being right sized means really honoring our own pain and joy and then looking outward and connecting to the pain and joy of others. We aren’t so different. I can separate myself out when I am in fear. But honestly, I feel a lot more human when I remember that other people exist too.
Do you want to try? Can you find yourself in the middle?
If you are in the middle, you can’t fall off the edge.