I came into this world as a confirmed pack rat. I hated to let go of anything that I thought I might want, need or simply die without in the next, oh, fifty years. Thankfully, I was derailed from my path of finding future fame as a star of Hoarders by the simple act of moving out of my parents’ house and into my first apartment. An entire zoo’s worth of stuffed animals and every book I ever owned were simply not going to fit into a 500-square foot studio.
I am still a zealous convert to the Church of Our Lady of Decluttering. I love the feeling of lightness after discarding useless kitchen gadgets (RIP electric mango peeler) and hideous articles of clothing that I’d like to think I bought while under the influence of psychedelic drugs (nope, I just had reeallly bad taste). And I almost never regret getting rid of things.
Except when it comes to my writing.
Full disclosure: I am a show tune-loving geek. I think It’s
because they are so colorful, dramatic and unapologetically
over-the-top…qualities I long to display when I’m feeling stagnant, stuck and
small. The times when I allow myself to feel trapped by circumstances and
wonder if I should just get “STATUS QUO” stamped on my forehead and call it a
And while I am exceedingly grateful for the life I live, I
gotta be honest: this is the emotional limbo I’ve been in for the past few
weeks. I had imperceptibly slid down the proverbial rabbit hole of thinking
that just maybe I could be okay with
less than I’d dreamed of. I mean, life
is about compromise, right? Even Mick Jagger said, “You can’t always get what
But because God has a sense of humor (and I have satellite
radio with a Broadway channel), I was given a much-needed moment of
enlightenment via a flying witch with a five-octave range.
I am a great one to tout the wisdom of “eating the elephant one bite at a time.” And in more rational moments, I actually follow that sage advice. Unfortunately, when things hit the fan I tend to revert to my old habit of looking the proverbial pachyderm square in the eye and attempting to shove the whole thing in my mouth at once.
Our recently completed move to Cleveland, Ohio had me in that exact space. And quite frankly, still has me there on more days than I care to admit.
This is an admittedly bizarre title choice for someone who once bawled her head off when taken on a fishing trip as a child (early indication of a future vegetarian). But the words came to me the other day when I realized that – as much as I like to think I’m a “go with the flow” kind of gal – I’m still prone to giving in to the temptation to put my dreams in a headlock and wrestle them down the path I’m oh-so-sure is the best one.
Of course, the wiser part of me knows this is a recipe for disaster (or at least disappointment). But sometimes the id screams like a toddler being forcibly removed from the toy aisle and the hubris of me insisting on doing things my way prevails.
So…what to say about why I haven’t posted in a few months? I could point to everything from family drama that ended with a relative in rehab to the standard-issue workload that comes with adulting. Maybe throw in toiling over a final edit on my novel and some good old-fashioned writer’s block to make it an airtight case.
But while all of the above events may be true, they’re still excuses. And if I championed them, I’d be creating an absurd rationale for why I’m not doing the one thing that makes me feel the most alive: putting words on a page.
So, why do we go silent on our life’s passions?
There is nothing new that I can say about grieving. And others have spoken and written about it in much more profound ways than I ever could.
But we’ve all been there before. And I’m there now.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
The choice seems obvious: you’ll be much happier in a constant state of wonder than you will be feeding on a steady diet of cynicism. But the decision to view things as beautiful in the face of a world filled with suffering and discord can feel self-indulgent at best, and completely delusional at worst.
But choosing to see everything through a divine lens isn’t just some Pollyanna panacea. It’s a perceptional shift that will change your life, and quite possibly the lives of those around you.
“We are all peers in the human experience.” – Maru Iabichela
We’re all made of the same basic building blocks. We all eat, drink, work, sleep…lather, rinse, repeat every 24 hours. The Constitution even confirms that we’re all created equal.
But somehow, we just don’t get that “all” includes us, too.
“No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a strange, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” – Martha Graham
You may not be redefining the world of dance like Martha did (my own musically-induced gyrations have prompted people to ask if they should call 911), but there is a bit of habitual dissatisfaction in all of us.
And I think it’s awesome.
But I didn’t always feel that way.
When I was a kid, I thought being famous had to be the best job in the world: everyone taking your picture, clamoring for your autograph and hanging on your every word. Never a moment of insecurity or doubt about your self-worth or inherent awesomeness.
I remember my last night as a grade-schooler, unable to sleep as I pondered my upcoming first day on the big bad junior high campus. Instead of the same familiar pack of munchkins I’d been running with since kindergarten, I’d now be forced to meet an entire legion of new students.
And I was terrified.