I don’t really wake up with a stretch and a happy yawn this past month. I wake up with a creature crawling around in my head spewing its nasty ideas and accompanying emotions. I barely notice the idea, only the emotion, but when I pull it out of my head and observe it objectively, I read that I’ve grossly overestimated my ‘significance’ in this life.
I decided to get away to Iowa and my family for a few weeks so I could recuperate from life’s recent changes. As my mom was making me toast this morning, I described this shitty waking-up feeling. She responded by expressing the worry that she had built me up too much as a child; that she had convinced me that I was going to do something unbelievably fantastic for the world. I kindly thanked her for fucking me up. We laughed.
I think this is the modern malady of parenthood, convincing their children that they are just the most wonderful thing that ever hit the planet. It’s great that we build our children up instead of beating them down as we have for generations, but I think we’re still sorting out how to do that in a healthy and realistic way. Some parents have convinced their children they are little demi-gods, as Speaker 7 laments here. Now, I do think we are all god, but spoiling your child’s ego in a dog-eat-dog world is not what I’m talking about here. It’s not about being better than the other kids at field hockey or surfing or spelling bees or break dancing. It’s also not about proving other people wrong.
I’m just another person sorting out how the hell to navigate this mask called Jami in this holideck called Earth. We are special for the sole reason that we are individuals capable of making a contribution. But we are still a part of a whole, and just by being ourselves and contributing in a way that is genuine to us should be enough. And isn’t that a beautiful relief, when we realize that the world isn’t going to fall apart when we’re not utterly fantastic at everything we try?
I have been asking myself lately (pretty much every time I start the self-abuse): what is more important, that people admire me, or that I’m happy in my own skin and able to genuinely love myself and others? It sounds like a really lame question, but honestly, how many of us live for admiration? Really ask yourself.
And by the way, my mom was right when she told me I was going to do something fantastic. I love.