So let’s just say that over the last few weeks, lots of things in my life have gotten stuck, broken down, and otherwise not played by my rules. Big things, small things, important things, stupid things. I’ve worked too hard, rested too little, and otherwise gotten into a very grumpy place. . .the Valley of Victimhood.
When I’m in the Valley of Victimhood, I forget that I get to make my choices. I forget that I am in charge of my one amazing, wonderful life. I forget that my ego does NOT actually call the shots, and while it is only trying to keep me safe, it is also generally a really huge jerk.
So I’m saying adios to the Valley of Victimhood, and I’m traveling on to the Hollow of the Hero. (The theme park rides and funnel cakes are WAY better there, just FYI.)
I’m driving this bus, so everyone should just MOVE ON OVER.
Because Food is at the Center of Everything
Helping me make this shift has actually been a program dealing with food. I’m currently taking a class with Isabel Foxen Duke. She’s young and tough and only slightly crude, and that works for me. Because here’s what we’re aiming for: not giving a shit about food. I’m learning that wanting to eat when I’m not hungry makes sense—it’s a great coping mechanism. Food is good; eating it should be pleasurable. So wanting to eat good food, whether or not I’m hungry, is not a failure on my part. And it really. . .doesn’t even matter that much.
Today I went into Nothing Bundt Cakes to pick up dessert for this evening. They always have samples of their cakes lying around, which I used to resist. This would often result later in me eating more cake than I would have if I had just eaten a sample in the first place.
So today. . .I didn’t eat a sample. Because I didn’t want one. And you know what that means about me? Absolutely fucking nothing.
Nothing. It doesn’t mean I’m good. Or bad. It doesn’t mean that I made the “right choice” because I listened to my body instead of my mind. It just means that both participated in the conversation, and then I made a choice. That’s. It.
Tomorrow, I might make a different choice. And that’s totally okay, too. Because the more I try to restrict food, the more I try to fit into x size or base my happiness on how I look in a bathing suit, the more likely it is that I will dive straight into a box of cookies. Because a caged animal always tries to break free. And food restricters always end up losing that battle eventually.
And Here’s how This all Relates
Perhaps, then, it’s time to stop taking EVERYTHING so fucking seriously.
There’s a person in my office who is a great, and he has good motivations, but he’s gotten into my sandbox a few times. It took me a while, though, to figure out that this was not because I was failing at my job, but because I had not set the boundaries. And, you know, possibly because he was doing what he thought was right, what was asked of him.
Yesterday he announced that he’d be calling together a group to look at something that falls in my area. Something that has always fallen in my area.
I got somewhat peeved. A woman in his position wouldn’t have pulled this shit. And the woman who was in that position before him couldn’t move things nearly as quickly as he has. And, in my professional, expert opinion, this is because he is a man and she is a woman. And this TOTALLY SUCKS.
But I think this has more to do with lady bits vs. male parts, with society’s view of us, as well as a long history of patriarchy in certain industries. It is because many of us, as women, have learned to play small.
I certainly did. I learned to play small from just about every female boss or coworker I’ve had. I learned it from the religious tradition I grew up in, which would let women run VBS or just about anything else, but not serve in a leadership position. I learned it in school, where good girls were rewarded and bad boys were expected.
And I have to say that I am fucking DONE playing small.
My friend Ali—who is amazing in her own right—reminds me often that I’m not small; I am BIG. So I shouldn’t play small, and I shouldn’t listen to people who want me to. She also reminds me that one of my favorite authors thinks I am cool; she even wrote this down on a napkin for me, which I carry in my wallet.
My friend Lorna—who is an epic fucking badass in her own right—tells me not only that whatever I decide will be the right thing—she also tells me that I am beautiful. And she doesn’t need to lie. Lorna is a beautiful soul who is not to be trifled with.
So I’m done. I’m done doing the right thing because someone else thinks I should. I’m done being nice because it’s expected. I’m done thinking I don’t deserve what I want. I’m done not trying because it might be scary, or because I might fail. I’m done letting my jerky ego call the shots.
I deserve a big, juicy, fabulous life. But no one’s going to hand it to me—I have to build it. Every day. Every decision.
Does this mean I will always get my way? No, absolutely not. Does this mean that I’ll become a huge bitch? God, I hope not. I’ll play the B-card if it’s necessary, but that won’t be very often.
I want to set boundaries or disagree calmly. I want to make decisions from love, not fear. I want to speak words that are true, that improve on silence, and that are kind.
I can do all these things and still live BIG.
So seatbelts on, friends. Here we go.