I’ve been experiencing an odd sensation lately- it’s almost like I’m less in control than I have ever been before. It’s impulsive and chaotic. It’s… uncomfortable. It’s disorienting.
I make less deliberate decisions. I compose fewer lists on miniature legal pads, with little check boxes next to each item. I plan and map and chart less and less each day- I am trying to avoid filling my schedule to the absolute brim. Less than a year ago, this would have been a signal to me that I have become completely unhinged.
My control freak, perfectionist yearning to present myself as a composed and cohesive person to the world is, absolutely, going a little bit psycho. I have stepped into uncharted mental territory- I have released my vice grip on my own identity. Or, at least, I’m trying my best to do so. Achieving that in full will probably never happen because I am naturally a critical thinker- I don’t just accept things as they appear to be, I question down the most minute detail. I have a compulsion to figure things out.
Not surprisingly, I have turned my superpower-tuned-tragic-flaw on myself. You wouldn’t believe how often I ask myself “What kind of person do people think I am? How do others see me? Is it the same person I used to be? I hope it is…” My brain wants nothing more than to FULLY understand myself, and how I show up in the world. It wants to solve this problem so that there is a definite right answer.
Basically, my Type A brain would like to write a textbook for itself on…. How to Be the Best Me.
You know why?
Because to my head, the idea of releasing control is scary. Because then people might see the real me. Because maybe the real me isn’t good enough, or kind enough, or interesting enough, or smart enough. Maybe the real me is not enough.
That is the lie that so many of our brains tell us. That something else will determine our “enoughness”. That it has to be assessed and earned.
But here’s the problem with that. When I think about the people who strike me as just the NEATEST HUMANS ALIVE, I come up with a list of total weirdos!
I love people who show their weirdness- and the people who have become really good at showing their extraordinary, unique, true selves all the time are the weirdest, most wonderful of all.
As far back as I can remember, calling someone weird has always been my deepest term of affection. I tend to forget, though, that they often react with dismay. And it hurts my heart a little to have to explain that it is actually, in my mind, the best compliment I could possibly give- that it means I think they are… Interesting. Curious. Fun. Silly. Brave. Smart. And altogether awesome. It hurts my heart because secretly I know that I, too, am afraid to show the things that might make me weird. The things that make me different. The things that make me… me.
I have been doing so much work on myself this year. I’ve been trying hard to start embracing who I am- my callings, my real thoughts, my natural reactions, the body I was given, the story I have lived. All of it. The web of knowledge, experience, and instinct that makes up Jadi Rae.
It’s uncomfortable. It’s new for me. It’s exciting and thrilling and surprising.
And it has completely tossed around that composed, curated, regimented version of myself. The order of things has shifted, or perhaps it has disappeared entirely.
I have this incredible anticipation in my gut, though, that tells me this: once I get the hang of it? Oh, it’s gonna be good.
I’ll leave you with this. I always tried so hard to present myself to others in a perfectly wrapped little gift, with perfect crisp creases in the paper, all tied up in a bow. But the thing about presents?
Nobody really cared about the wrapping paper- they cared about what’s hidden inside.