ramblings, washington whimsy

the moment I realized I wasn’t normal 


I don’t really know at what point in my life I realized there was a difference between being normal and being not normal. There was a moment though, I think maybe, in the season of my life that I was made fun of for my voice and I realized people were mean, that I distinctly got the impression that something about me didn’t fit-I wasn’t normal. I wasn’t going to be the one picked or chosen or wanted.

A memory came to me tonight, very strongly, so I called my mom to ask her about it. I was young, maybe 8 or 9, and I had written my Grandma Reeve, who lived in Kansas, a card about not being normal. I remember the feeling I had when I had the epiphany, but I can’t place the why. Then, in return, my grandma had written back that she was my “not-normal” grandma.

I haven’t thought about that moment in years. But tonight my (exhausted) train of thought led me to that memory. And the moment in what I feel like every person life when they stumble upon the “us vs. them” and that begins to shape how they view themselves. 

It took me a long time to move away from the normal vs. not normal. A lot of heartache in my life and loneliness came from this place of feeling as if I don’t fit, feeling like I am not worth it. Like I don’t deserve it, whatever it may be.

I can be a pretty insecure human. I mostly have long stretches of wholeness with a smattering of rain clouds in them. I’m more secure than I was 10 years ago and I’m sure I will be more secure in 10 more. But, when it hits it hits.

And I think I wanted to write this in a place when it wasn’t hitting that hard.

I’m a firm believer that if you want to rock an outfit and you feel comfortable in it then go head and rock the damn outfit. If you have the confidence and belief in yourself to do something then do it. 

80% of the time I actually don’t care what people think. And that is a far cry from the teenager and twenty something who tiptoed around with the firm belief that she was too much and that people would run. 

It’s a far cry from the tiny human who didn’t believe she would ever fit in the box that is normal. 

This collection of words isn’t to define normal, because that’s way to cliche for me.

It’s a reminder that even in being who we are the little things can still sneak up and bite us. It’s a reminder that at some point in your life you reached a fork in the road that was us vs them and it shaped some part of you whether you know it or not.

My fork was normal vs. not normal. Those were my boxes for so long. So, when I have insecurity, when I feel not enough or more often feel too much, when I don’t feel wanted or needed, when my response is to run, I need to remember that little girl who didn’t feel normal. I need to remember what I’ve come from, what I’ve done and who is around me.  

So, as I start a new week, as I attempt to the best of my ability to show up for my life each day, I want to continue obliterating that thought process in my life. I want to remember that little girl who didn’t think she was normal. I want to hug her and tell her she was exactly the tiny human she needed to be. I want to tell her that it won’t get better, but it will get more whole. 

And I want to remind her to be kind to herself.

This week I need to go back to remembering that very thing.

Be kind this week, first to yourself and then onward.

Honest

I haven’t always been this whole.

I’ve been talking a lot these days about being whole. I speak to my wholeness on an almost daily basis. 

Most of the time it’s easy. 
But also, there are times when it’s not.

There are times when it’s easier to cry or run or let whatever is pounding at the door come in. 

I am grateful though, that the easy outweighs the hard these day

I haven’t always been this whole.

Even now, speaking out about the non-wholeness that used to infiltrate my being is tricky. 

Somewhere in my life a very simple sentence spurred its way into my thinking, thought life and being:

Don’t take up space.

This translated out into my life in so many ways: always be helpful, don’t be a burden, don’t have people be mad at you, be quiet.

Don’t take up space.

This thought from somewhere in my life colored everything. My interactions with friends, bosses, family, coworkers. It spiraled me into serious depression, burn out and thoughts of suicide.

Those four words crushed my spirit and almost killed me.

I didn’t necessarily know how to deal with them. I sat in therapy for almost four years, was on and off antidepressants. I stopped smiling, stopped living, I didn’t know who I was. 

And I wasn’t going to make what I was going through anyone else’s problem.

How wrong I was.

There’s a saying that says “it takes a village to raise a child”—but what happens when that child is raised?

Does the village leave?

Does the village throw you into the forest to fend for yourself?

No, the village becomes community. 

And we raise each other into the humans we were meant to be.

I lived a lot of my life working my hardest to not take up space. And then four years ago I chose to do this crazy thing called the world race where getting packed like sardines into a bus or in a stable or taxi cab was a norm and I physically couldn’t help taking up space.

me and the se(a)rahs literally on top of me.

I couldn’t be alone at all. Like physically we weren’t allowed to. For 11 months. And community becomes a mirror. You begin to see yourself in others. I was with the same women for most of the race. And you being to learn that who you are effects others. And if you aren’t living in your whole self, it actually makes it pretty damn hard for someone else to live in their whole self.

So, I tucked that knowledge in my pocket, stamped myself as complete and went on my merry way.

the humans with whom i spent most everyday of 2013

Then, I went to Spain, kicking and screaming, and was shoved into a huge room and told to fill the space (not literally, that’d be weird).

But, what I learned in Spain was that I was fully capable of filling that space. Easily.  
That’s terrifying. 

I’m really great at looking like I’m filling a space. I’m great at being who I am. I’m pretty awesome at my job. I’m great at communication. 

I’m excellent at being the center of attention, when it’s my choice.

I’ve come to realize though it’s not necessarily my choice.

he is the word, i am the voice, i’ve got something to say and i’m going to say it.

I’ve come to realize that me filling a space is a part of who I am. I’m not meant to be a background person, I’m not meant to be alone. I’m not meant to give up my space for someone who isn’t as great at taking their own. But a part of who I am is helping them find their seat. A wise Yoda once told me to never diminish myself. 

And that’s not just for my benefit.

A part of my wholeness is the community that surrounds me. A part of my wholeness is me taking up the space at the table that I was meant too. 

That goes for you too. 

We need you at the table. 

You don’t have to be whole. 

You don’t have to know who you are.

We can help.

Lesson one:

You, my friend, were meant to take up space.