Carmen, Be Yourself


He leaned into whisper in my ear.

We both had some moisture in our eyes, kindness will do that to a person.

At least to this person.

I was thinking about that as I flew through the park on my bicycle this evening coming home from the Mission, the cool air rolling over my body, the press of the black sky a velvet glove stroking my face, the trees full of the sound of water and the stars beckoning over head, drawing me down to the ocean’s edge.

My heart felt wide open to this pressing of sky, standing still, though moving fast.

That has what this past few days has been for me.

High speed.

Then standing still.

Letting myself be seen and not stepping away from it.

It is far harder than I suspected, this letting of self out, despite fleeting stupid thoughts that I know aren’t really mine, but just seeds of discontent trying to get themselves sowed.

Or sabotage.

Which is more like it.

I am not running away from my situation.

I am standing still.

I am letting myself be approached and known.

It feels like my heart is a big tent that I have staked out under that blanket of stars, I watch comets streak by and planets revolve in the sky, I see the crush of the heavens above and feel the absolute wonder of it all.

I have been seeing how much I want to move out of the direct line of sight, even though I write about wanting to be my authentic self, there is a great deal at stake, or so it feels, when I do that.

Not for anyone else, but for my concept of myself.

I talk the talk.

Now.

How do I walk the walk?

When someone says that I am beautiful or loved do I accept the person and the compliment?

Of course I do.

However, the voice in the head says, lose that five pounds, or those flowers in your hair, too much.

Despite being told by men and women that when I allow myself to be authentically me, they are attracted to me.

It frees up others to be themselves too.

I know this is a service.

I know that I do it.

I know, because I have been told so by people who know better than I do how to tell the truth.

But it is there, the thoughts and the conversations don’t serve me, those doubts are not flattering, are not complimentary, are not of service.

So I ground myself.

I reach out to help some one else.

I take some rebar out of my back pocket and I stake down the corner of the tent and say I will stand here on this threshold with everything that I am and let you see me.

I raise my head.

I toss my hair off my face and I let you see me naked.

Flaws and imperfections.

Perfect and human.

This past few days that is what I feel like.

Very, very human.

Not unique at all.

In fact, I find myself doing, saying, and feeling things that I really thought would only be said, done, or felt in a movie.

It’s my story, but not the story line that I thought it would be.

It is better and scary and smashing and wonderful and intense and scary and oh, look, here’s some vulnerability.

Life.

She’ll do it to you.

I practiced the principle of love today.

After receiving the beautiful little pendant from my friend yesterday I resolved that today I would love as best as I could, as hard as I could.

I wore it all day long and would occasionally touch it and feel again that vulnerability that I was allowing myself to express and be.

Pendant

Pendant

When I was with the youngest boy today he had a small tantrum about something trivial and lost it and when he was done I asked if he wanted a story and some milk and he crawled into my lap and cuddled with me and I hug him with everything I had, without squishing him, mind you, and said, “I love you.”

He wrapped his small arms around me and butted his head under my chin, “love you too, Carmen.”

“Just be yourself, Carmen.”

I don’t have to be anyone else.

I get to be silly and sweet and glittery and I don’t have to change that one iota.

No matter what is happening in my life.

I used to think that be a messy emotional person was a weakness.

I learned the opposite is true, being open, being raw, letting people see the double chin in profile, who cares, if there is love shining in your eyes.

I felt the love today.

The Japanese sugar maples on the block I work on flaming their way through November, the neighbor stringing Christmas lights and admonishing me to make sure I come by and see them.

The Thanksgiving invitation from the family I work for, though I now have plans that I wasn’t expecting, to eat with them on their holiday.

The gifts I have received over the past week, the coffee mug from Kauai, the necklace from Wisconsin, the book from my dear friend in the Mission, a ride to the grocery store and back this weekend, a movie, a meal at Thai Cottage, all so lovely that I want to give it back twice as strong and as hard.

I just remind myself that when I feel naked and seen that I am clothed in more power than I can imagine, that the universe is behind me and I am lit in love, clothed in it and the imperfections and foibles, make the perfection that much more apparent.

Standing still as I am may be the hardest thing I have ever done.

But should I move.

It is not to run away.

But to move toward.

More and more.

Love.

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