To Be Real

Friends, the exhaustion prevails. I don’t even know where yesterday went, but I do have faint recollections of smiling children at the park after school and warm-ish sunshine, unexpected. It was a day for rest and following whims. It was a day for worry and looking at numbers. It was also a day I finished reading Women Who Run With Wolves. I had never read it before, but I felt the stories in a way of remembering. They spoke deeply to me. I’m very inspired to tell more stories; to be a storyteller as one of the many unconventional, intuitive job titles I wish to bear.

I don’t want to grow up to be an astronaut. I want to grow up to be one who, in living true to her essence, finds many small and meaningful tasks, and names them with imagination and intuition. A tree, with many branches. A wise woman. A mother wolf. Etc. I guess what I’m saying (and I’ve said before,) is I want to be Galadriel when I grow up. Can I get a laugh-cry smiley?

As fun and fanciful as it is to dream up the future, I’m looking at how I can be present to my story, here and now. In the past, I’ve blogged some think pieces without really tying it to my story. I’ve shared ideas and opinions without showing how I am acting on them in my real, everyday life. This is something I need to do more than just some of the time! I cannot talk about my work and not live it, so I am exploring ways to bring authenticity to my writing.

Do you know how hard this is?!!! It’s like the same reason it’s hard for me to take a selfie before I twist the camera into the perfect angle so I can effectively hide all my quirks or asymmetry. I forget quite frequently that the most important thing is being present. We might think the perfect photo is going to say it all, but what is actually going to matter most is to be able to say “we were there,” rather than “we were thin.” (Or choose your body-image struggle of choice. I’ve just told you mine.)

I want to love my life right where I am, taking up as much space as I need to take up, and refusing to let shame color my ability to be all here, with joy, in the world. There’s such a difference between giving an image of myself and giving of myself. My desires are torn between those two things. It’s a very human thing, this struggle to be real. It takes practice. It takes love. It takes small next steps.

What are you practicing? What are your small next steps?

Jamie Bagley