It’s hard to tread water in F me pumps

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My brother stopped by for coffee the other day. When he asked me how I’ve been, my reply was something along the lines of:

“They gave that position to someone else, but offered me PRN work, which is good because I want to be home with my kid. I’m still working on this novel, but when I’m done- if I ever actually finish- you have to read it. I’m thinking about becoming a yoga instructor. How are you?”

There are a small number of people who I believe can see me more clearly than I see myself. He is one of them. Still, after nine hours of working 3rd shift and almost 19 years of enduring my erratic chatter, all he could offer up this time was an incredulous stare, which is the look I get most often whenever I open my mouth to dispense words where there are witnesses present.

I couldn’t even tell you at what point my sense of self became such a tangled mess of misguided energy and a constant hustle for approval. I have a good idea of which parent I can blame it on, but the fact is I am the one who meets a simple “How ya been?” with panic about whether I have been doing enough.

For as long as I can remember, it’s been clear that I am here to teach. Thanks to getting filthy and uncomfortable and over-exposed and eventually strong legged on my own journey, I have come to understand more specifically, that I am here to teach people how to recognize their inherent value.

That’s a rich conviction coming from a speedy talking girl who refuses to accept her own value on the daily. But here’s what I know: people who sincerely believe in their worth have no need to deny another’s.

Look, I am not saying that it will solve all the world’s problems, but it is a contribution I know I can make. I know this because I’m just as fucked up as everyone else. That’s important for you to understand.

The thing is, lately (and by lately I mean maybe the last ten or so years) I have been out there competing with all of the same people I would hope to one day liberate from comparison and unhealthy competition. Funny, right? But hey, just because a girl senses there’s a better way does not mean she’s wearing the right shoes. The food may be in the river, but it’s hard to tread water in F me pumps, ya know.

Most of us spend our lives believing that if we can just be certain of who we are and where we stand, then everything around us will fall into place. Perhaps this is true, but it’s not the knowing that counts. Logically, I know that self-acceptance is the key to empathy and that empathy is the door to higher consciousness.

But am I brave enough to live that?