I had yet another friend send me a beautiful piece she wrote about fully becoming herself. About undoing the story she had so carefully assembled, painting number by number until we all believed the masquerade. The gorgeous home, perfect backyard BBQs, beautiful child, incredible careers.
“Not THEM?! They were perfect.”
The story is played out over and over. We do what we think we should because that’s what we’re raised to believe is the one right way. You become a grown up, you get married, you have the babies and that’s it, right? That’s the finish line. Yay! Trophies for all.
Except. So many of us, so actual fucking many of us, didn’t really want that but did it anyway. I read her describe not wanting to be a wife, not fantasizing about a wedding as a child and going, YES, me actually too. I was also that girl who just knew she wouldn’t ever fit anyone’s mold. I knew I wanted babies, but I didn’t really want to be a wife. When I played “house” the Daddy was always away or just not.
I am not saying I didn’t love my husband- I did, very much.
But the prescribed roles. The turning into a mock version of ourselves. The hanging just outside of the frame, writing the story but not actually being IN it (which OMG, hang onto your hats when you read Glennon’s new book; cause she talks exactly about this and I was like YES YES YES ME TOO ME TOO. More on her book soon).
All of that? Nope. Just nope.
I had a thought come into my head yesterday; it was sort of just placed there and I went “huh look at you, yes.”
Side note: of course, I texted it to the man-friend somewhat mysteriously and it probably (absolutely) made no sense out of the context of my brain and constant, un-dying, inner monologue, and he was super gracious and like “say more about that baby” (he’s so kind)…
The thought: I want to do relationships well. Not in any way based on “should” but on “well.”
See, there was this playbook that we all somehow agreed to without even knowing it and so many of us, mostly the creative weird ones, were like “this doesn’t fit.” It’s itchy. It’s twisted in the wrong places. It’s just not me. It’s should.
But we marched forward anyway. We walked down the aisle and we gave it our best. The problem is that our “best” didn’t match our insides and the dissonant chords made it so hard to hear anything else. If you’re like me, you tried to control the shit outta that situation so the masquerade would hold up. You single handedly kept the world spinning.
No wonder you’re tired.
My friend messaged me the other day and told me about a dream she had, starring yours truly:
…you were starting a piece of wood on fire to make your point and said, “everyone thinks you need all this fancy stuff, when all you really need is a little spark.” Then using a flint with a couple of sparks, the wood started to crackle!!
All you need is a little spark.
Friends, this is the same as “do relationships well.” Throw away the damn plans. You don’t need a roaring blaze envisaged with architectural drawings and a side dose of physics, a team of firefighters on standby– you need a spark.
You need to start with one little warm flame that you, together, stoke and kindle. Not following the path laid out for you by anyone else, but created by your jacked up hearts. You learned from the last blaze; you know when things are burning out of control, so take your damn time and learn from the pain. Sit in it, together and for each other.
I don’t know where this next journey is taking us, but I am going to just sit and let it wash over me. I will love my people well. My boyfriend, my kids, my family, my friends. “Well” requires work; “well” requires a team; “well” means reciprocal.
I will do relationships well.
While I wish this wasn’t a bold statement, it is. It’s the next thing. It’s the next march forward. It’s quieting the dissonance.