Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reaching My Equilibrium

When I was younger, I suffered from delusions of grandeur.  (If I still do, please don't let me know.  I'd like to keep it a secret from myself.  I have enough on my plate at the moment.)

I didn't think that I *was* all that grand, mind you.  If you know me, you know me because you have been patient enough and diligent enough to work past a wall of (almost schoolgirl-grade) shyness that has plagued me my entire life.  I have formed a habit of being introverted, and though I am still trying valiantly to take strides toward correcting this behavior, I am too old now to think that I will ever completely outgrow it.  So, with a fairly firm grasp of my oceans of limitations, I can say with confidence that I never thought I was all that grand.

I just thought that I was GOING to be.

The greatest problem with this belief, of course, was that I never had any idea in what capacity it was that I was going to BE grand.  I just always seemed to have a very firmly held, and deeply rooted, conviction that I was GOING to do 'great things'.  (I have never been one to hold onto unreasonable, and quite sparkly, amounts of confidence for no good reason.  The reason for this conviction of mine eludes me to this day.)

As a child, though, for some reason I seemed to think that *just around the corner* would lie some inevitable discovery of some God-given and GENIUS amount of talent that I had in some particular arena.  (I am still waiting on this discovery.  I think I have been more than patient.)

I discovered fairly early, however, that the arena was NOT to be an actual 'arena.'  Because it seemed that I was utter crap at all sports.  School softball games inspired in me mini panic attacks when it was my turn to bat.  (I remember thinking even then that the sport itself was ridiculous.  Hitting a flying ball with a bat??  And that proves. . . what?  Is important in . . . what way??  Yet for all my pooh-poohing of the sport, and sharp focusing of my will, I could still never seem to make the bat connect with that damned ball.)

I could draw fair enough.  I enjoyed it.  I wasn't going to win any ribbons though.

I've ALWAYS adored music, and so I thought that music MUST BE my arena.  So I played the flute in high school.  Learned to play the piano, too.  Loved them both.  Passionately.  But alas. . . I was not a musical genius.  (I was seriously beginning to feel like Michael Caine's character in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.)

I even had a passing thought that I would be an actress.  Yes, I could see it.  I would set the world on fire with my portrayals on both stage and screen.  My singing would be legendary, my performances would be the highest art, and I would walk around feeling very self-important and often refer to 'my craft.'

. . .have I mentioned that I was painfully shy? 

Yeah.  Scratch acting.

So life keeps rolling along, and I was no closer to finding the area that would be just right for me.

Then one day I had the bright idea:  Maybe I'm just supposed to HELP.  Maybe that's ALL.

And, as was my way at the time, I was convinced that THE way to 'help' was to join the Peace Corps.

. . .Did you know that the Corps actually prefers it if you HAVE a skill?? 

Well shit.  I didn't even know a second language.  (Unless the good people of Tanzania or Tibet have any interest in learning Pig Latin.  I am fluent.)

At this point in my life, I finally began to accept that I wasn't going to write the Great American Novel, or craft a painting that would move grown men to tears.  And so I began to analyze exactly WHY I felt the need to be 'grand.'

And the answer is:  I don't know.

I don't know why.  I just always felt like I had to.  Like I WOULD.  It wasn't something that others forced on me.  Nope.  Completely self-imposed.  Maybe I felt like I needed to justify the space I was taking up on this planet?  Who knows.  (I was kind of a weird kid.)

But the wonderful thing, the magical thing, the STUPENDOUS THING about this whole little goose-chase---is what I discovered today:

Maybe I don't have to.

Maybe I can be here at home.  On a Saturday, with my son.

Maybe I can make banana bread, and clean the house. 

Maybe I can feed the cats, and read a book, and change a diaper, and bitch about the high price of whatever.

And maybe that's ALL okay.

Because what I am learning is that *I* told myself that I had to do something grandiose and phenomenal.  Nobody else.  I did.

And now. . . I'm telling myself that it's okay.

Don't get me wrong:  I'm still going to try my hand at painting.  I still have time to pick up another instrument.  At some point I may discover that I have a green thumb (though not bloody likely).  And as long as my hands keep working, I'm sure I'll write from time to time.

But for now, I'm telling myself to take a deep breath.  And appreciate the fact that I have every amazing and important thing that I have EVER truly wanted.  I'm telling myself to hug and kiss my husband when he gets home, and realize that the home we've created together is FULL of laughter and love.  I'm telling myself to remember what the top of Nolan's head smelled like when he was a baby.  I'm telling myself to sit back and let it happen and just NOT CARE about the end result.  Because I APPRECIATE everything I have.  More than I know how to say.  And maybe being a loving wife, and a good mother, and an AMAZING interpretive dancer. . . maybe that's more than I could've ever asked for.  And maybe that's enough.

So for once in my life---I'm going to take my own advice.

And maybe what I'll make will turn out to be art anyway.  =)

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