I often feel like there is just too much of me to fit comfortably into my skin. Too many thoughts, too many dreams, too many possibilities for one little human frame to contain. And sometimes I can almost feel my bones ache from the effort of framing in so much raw potential life. Ever since I was a little girl, I have felt that my story was meant to be large. It was meant to be told for many to hear; whether it be through song or written word or spoken word. I have always felt this gravitational pull towards leadership, towards the public eye. I believe in HONESTY and OPENNESS and VULNERABILITY because people (young people especially) are STARVED for these three things. Absolutely STARVED. They learn early to hide, to stuff, to glossify themselves-- never allowing too much humanity to shine through their eyes because society has told them (without telling them) that their vulnerability is the same thing as weakness and that they should be AFRAID of it. Like it was a plague or something.
And so, as a result, there are millions of songs that say "Ooh baby I love you yeah yeah", and not nearly enough songs saying "I am lonely and scared and feel like I'm operating with no safety net." or "I'm weak and tired and I need other people to help me." or "The American Dream feels less like an ideal and more like a coffin for my soul."
(heh heh. I like that last one. Quite dramatic, no? Perhaps I feel a song coming on?)
I have longed to do big things that could affect people from ALL walks of life and encourage them back towards vulnerability and living honestly. Un-squelch-ifying themselves, if you will.
I say this unabashedly. For years I have tried to squelch these dreams and feelings and inclinations towards big things because I thought that it was just coming from a place of PRIDE. Something in me that craved attention and affirmation. Something that was too good to be true. So, I started to box up some of my bigger dreams and I stuffed them on a shelf in the deepest places of my heart. And the boxes? They've sat. They've collected dust. And I'd nearly forgotten they were there.
But something is stirring inside of me. Something that has led me back down to the storage room to shake and prod at the things I boxed away so long ago. Like discovering a stash of old toys up in your parent's attic. "Ahhh, I remember these!" you breathe as you pull each toy out one by one and smell the years of confinement idleness on them. Something is whispering "This is how I've made You. You are not being prideful by being who I've made you to be." Something is encouraging me to air out some of the musty dreams, throw back some of the drawn shutters, and prepare myself for the "something greater".
But, at the same time, there is also a sense of "not just yet". A sense of this time in my life being more about pouring the foundation and less about the fancy architecture. Twice in the last two weeks I have heard people speak about the eagerness of young people to go and DO, DO, DO! We feel we must make things happen, must figure out who we're going to be for the rest of our lives so that we can switch on the cruise control ASAP and just follow the charted the course for the next 50 years or so.
In both cases, I've been encouraged to focus less on the WHAT and more on the WHO. As in, don't freak out so much about the job or the house or the degree or the 50 year plan... Allow this time to be a time of CHARACTER BUILDING. A time of shaping WHO you're going to be rather than WHAT you're going to do.
This is ringing so true with me lately. I know I have big dreams in my heart, and if I had my way, they'd all come to pass TOMORROW. Yet, I also know that I'm not quite the person I would need or want to be in the midst of those big dreams. I've got some growing to do, some learning to acquire, some experiences to collect, some character to form before I'm really ready for those things.
So, for now, I wait. I wait and I trust. But this time, I don't stick the boxes back on the shelf. I bring them out. I look. I put each dream in my palm and shift the weight of it back and forth between my hands. I display them. I speak of them. I begin to believe in them all over again. And as I do these things, I start to believe in myself again. And down in the corner of the very last box, I find HOPE.
And, along with hope, joy.
after reading sufferingsummer's dare,
but then was too chicken to post my own shots.
So, here's one of them. **Blech! squirm! blush!**