“Trust me Honey- I’ve always been this way, but I didn’t know it for a long time and I lived like a hellbent drama queen with a chip on her shoulder and a killer right hook. I know arrogance and I’m learning humility.” Me
When I wrote that, even after implying that I am arrogant, I did not, could not see, my own narcissism. I thought the humility, the act of being humble was accomplished by default in the word, arrogance. None of that is true. I remember the day I wrote that. The way I felt upon its realization. The time when epiphanies came with some pizzazz and oomph…you know, back when they were…arrogant. Insert winkey face here.
I struggle lately with saying,
“You will feel…” “You will do…” “You will say, think, imagine, manifest, etc…”
It suggests that I know what you are going to do, think, feel, imagine, manifest, etc, now, next or in the future. The truth is, and odds are good, that I do. It’s my own insecurities that cause the struggle. It sounds so arrogant… Get it? The day I realized that narcissism is as much about BEING perfect as it is about expecting perfection, I shifted further, harder and faster than ever before. That epiphany however did not come with any oomphish pizzazz. It came with humility, and I came, as they say, full circle- this time. So this is what I know- what I want to tell you- you will have a million epiphanies…and thousands of them will be the same one in a new and better way, over and over again, because epiphanies are God’s practical way to revelation and the revelation we all must get is the revelation of “Me”.
“When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.” Brené Brown
And so the revelation of “Me” is the realization for some that all I think about is ME, ME, ME and then for others, it’s the realization that I use you to focus on ME, ME, ME. There’s the victimizing narcissist and then there’s the less known, even lesser acknowledged, victim narcissist. When you read Brene Browns quote it’s hard, if not impossible to deny that we are all, in one way or another, narcissistic. Would you like to know a synonym for this? Egotistical. That’s right. Ego. How in the heck have I spent so much time learning about and dismantling my ego, without ever seeing this?! Better yet, how have my friends, my mentors, failed to point this out to me? Why hasn’t anyone said,
“Well my love, it takes one to know one.”
Why? Because I wasn’t ready to hear it and they weren’t ready to see it. After all, life is two things; reflection and projection. Also, neener, neener- it takes one to know one! And so the revelation of ME is the same as the epiphany of “we are all in this together”, but different…better. Deeper.
“In philosophy, if you aren’t moving at a snail’s pace, you aren’t moving at all. Iris Murdoch
In my bedroom of my tiny house, I get ready every morning by sitting in front of a mirror, propped up on a cinder block, indian style and under my favorite window. The cinder block works perfect to hold my favorite things to look at- my prayer box, my cameo, my jingle world, my pottery bowl made by my daughter, my ivory bracelet of an african womans profile, a picture of my youngest and I…I use the “cubbie” holes to hold cotton balls and my camera. My basket of “make me pretty” is nestled on a shelf provided by my pallet bed and an old chair holds my “beauty creams”. But the most important thing amongst all of this is a picture of a snail that my youngest painted for me in watercolor. It’s a black snail and the caption says,
“The snail moves slowly.”
I look at it every day because it reminds me that the snail does in fact move slowly and because it’s a snail, this is absolutely perfect. It is what it is, and my friends, it’s a snail. There is no less and no more to it and this makes it exactly right. That’s my life. I’m the snail. Anything faster or slower than the pace at which I move is…abnormal. The important thing- the MOST important thing is this;
I keep moving.
“For some, stillness is found in the silence of life’s stage, and for others, it’s in the music. And then there are those who find stillness only when they dance.” Me.
You have two choices; sink or swim. Then again, you could dance. I suppose that, realistically, anything is better than treading water for your entire life, yet that’s what most of us do and like it or not, it’s what we choose to do. I’ve said before that if you want to know why you do something, just quit doing it. If you want to stop treading the waters of life, stop. At first, you can’t swim. You will sink. Why? Because you are tied to the things that will drag you down. They are not tied to YOU. Understand that. Know that. Let it set you free. Don’t be afraid to cut the rope…or ropes, as it were. It’s okay- they have the same choices you do. Remember, we were all in this boat together and if we are all out here in the water together- that makes sense. Learning to recognize the obvious is one of the most important things we do.
After you cut the ropes, you are going to tread water for a little while. But, you aren’t sinking. That’s nice, right? And now, you can rest in between treads…you can lay on your back, look up at the blue sky and practice cloud vanishing…or wait for night to fall and watch for stars to ignite and escape the sky. It’s okay if you need to go under and look around, make sure that things aren’t resurfacing. Make sure there are no new ropes. It’s okay to look around and see that others are still there- maybe some of the ones you cut loose- floating nearby. You cannot reach out though. Not right now. Lay back. Relax. You’re going to need your energy because my friend, it’s a long swim back to shore.
You will rest along the way.
You will get tangled up.
You will get weighed down.
You will get pooped on, burned, nipped at, chewed on, tossed over, tossed under, and stormed on.
You will bask in the sun.
You will wish on falling stars.
You will ride the waves.
You will watch the sun rise and set, swim with the waves, under the rainbows and ride out the storms.
And then you will reach the shore, dig your toes in the sand, hug a tree, and dance. You will look back and see how far you have come and knowing this will make it okay when you turn around and see how far you have to go. But the load is lighter now. The path more solid beneath your feet. Dance on.
“One of the oddest thing about being grown-up was looking back at something you thought you knew and finding out the truth of it was completely different from what you had always believed.” Patricia Briggs, Bones Crossed.
In the end, I learned to do for myself because there was no one there to do it for me. There was only love which for me is the same as saying, God. Love knew best and never did anything for me, no. I had to do love. I had to believe in love. I had to be love- in the middle of a winter storm, god didn’t shovel the driveway for me- he tapped into my faith and revealed the strength within me to shovel it myself. He revealed that which I searched for- needed to do, be and believe in. He reminded me that I don’t need a miracle, I am the miracle. Standing there in that storm, cold, crying, fingers frozen and stinging, with snot running down my face, love pushed me on…and i fought it. I was angry. I was resentful. I was abandoned- but in the end, I was found. How many times, how many years, how many ways had I tried to change who I was in any given moment of my life, in order to gain someone else’s love? Too many. And love would have none of it. All that time I spent trying to find love, to gain love and all of it in vain because I was the love I needed most. It was just as I thought it should be, and nothing like I believed it was.