Sometimes it takes a comparison to really understand and appreciate a difference. Sometimes the only way to know who and what you are is to spend time with or stand next to someone you are not. I mean, how do you know you may or may not belong until you have someone or something to compare it to? What if you were only 4 feet tall. What if your world was specifically designed for you. Then you would be perfectly standard and fine just as you are. You would not think you were “short” as all the things around you supported who you were just as you are. Your life just fit.
Now, let’s say your four footed self comes across someone who is 6 feet tall. Well, that is a game changer, is it not? That person does not fit into your world and you do not fit into theirs. All of a sudden, things change. Who is right? Who is “normal”? Who is better? Who is different?
I run into things like this all the time. I am living my life just fine until I hit that wall. Until my four footed self spends time in the six foot world; metaphorically speaking, anyway. How I talk, what I wear, how I spend my time, even my age, income or lack of … it all suddenly matters. I start to worry and fret and feel different. I am reminded of my unconventional and nontraditional life and my alternative choices. I am reminded of my differences. Then, in the blink of an eye, I fall back into my life, my world, and it is all OK again. I am that four-footed person in her four-footed world and none of that other stuff matters.
There are times I am buttressed against conventional life and I feel strong and proud and confident in my choice. I stand with my hands on my hips, feet spread slightly apart, my cape and my hair flying in the wind. I am woman hear me roar! Then again, fear and worry creep in and I doubt. I question, I pause and that roar becomes a kitten meow. I feel small and inadequate and unsure of myself. Fear and worry overtake as I question. I get distracted and I forget. I doubt myself.
I lose track of those moments in my happy place. I cannot find that which feeds my soul. I stop listening to my inner voice, I stop living the pilgrim way. I let convention overtake me like a solar eclipse that blocks out the sun. I lose touch with the very core of that which sustains me. Then I breathe and I remember. I stop, listen, shut my eyes and look inside.
It may take me a minute, or a month, or a day, but I get it back. Some thing or some person brings the light and I find my voice, my strength, my self again. I regain my confidence in my choices, my resolve in this life, my commitment to myself. This process of doubt and question and fear stop and I slowly, but surely, return to me.
The opposite also happens. My four footed self enters that six footed world and I joyously celebrate. I am unphased and have no idea anything about myself, my life or my surroundings is out of tune, out of step, or unusual. There are times when I can be hit with differences all day long and it only serves to feed my resolve, my confidence and my joy. Ha! Says I. Look at me living according to my rules, making my life what I want. Ha! I shout while assuming my Wonder Woman stance.
I continue to live my life according to my rules. I strive to stay the course, retain my confidence, my resolve, my satisfaction. I work hard to preserve my self and my inner core, no matter what challenges arise or what comparisons are thrown in my face. I mean, I do the best I can given the limitations of my human condition. I access my supports when I need them, feed my soul when it starts to feel empty, and pitch a bitch to a friendly ear if so warranted.
I also spend time in nature, where I am most at home. I walk among the trees and return to my place devoid of traffic, air planes, sirens, neighborhood dogs and most other noises that dominate the lives of most people I know. I do those things I enjoy, like kayak and canoe, hike and explore. Sometimes I just sit and listen. I work to stave off doubt and fear and comparison. I work, and mostly win, the battle and carry on with my warrior self, my cape and my hair flying in the wind. I wake up happy more often than not and I count my blessings. I hang on to myself. I hang on to this life I chose that, although alternative to many and bat-shit-crazy to some, suits me just fine, thank you. Just fine indeed.
Cheers to all of us who choose our path despite pressures to relent.
Cheers to the warrior in us all.
May s/he forge ahead!