Permissionaries

Some people seem to be born with some sort of boldness to chase their dreams and be who they really are. Somehow, the Earth (or maybe just their parents) granted them with this wisdom that what they want is worth chasing and exactly who they are is worth being. It seems so easy for these people, whether it is or not.

If you’re anything like me, I’ve always felt like I needed permission.

Most times, it’s hard for me to be bold. I have a tendency to want to make peace instead of start fires. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or inconvenience anyone. I want everything to be beautiful and harmonious and full of rainbows and sunshine. But that’s not how growth happens. That’s not how change happens. It’s not even how we love best.

Sometimes loving and doing what you love takes courage. And often it takes a reminder from someone else that you’re worth it. I’ve had authors, friends, guest speakers, and acquaintances give me these life-altering reassurances.

“Who you are is enough.” “It’s time for you to be seen. It’s okay for you to be seen.” “It’s okay to question everything.” “It’s okay to love yourself.” “You have something the world needs to see.” “Find what you love, and do a lot of that.” “The only thing you have to be is yourself.” “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

This summer I had the privilege of spending a weekend in the company of Laurence Cole as well as many other vibrant souls at a gathering called Village Fire. Laurence is a songwriter and elder, writing songs that can be spread through oral tradition that encourage everyone – singers or not – to lift their voices in song. Though he said many wise things, one that stuck out to me was a term I had not yet heard before.

Permissionary
Someone who spreads the good news that people are allowed to be their true selves and follow their passions. 

Having people like this around can be essential to our growth. Imagine what the world could be if we fully lived into our capabilities and loved with all we had. Till then, I’ll keep looking for the permissionaries and striving to be one myself.   

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Parents Are People Too

I was the first little being my parents got to bring into the world – they were just three and a half years older than I am now.  I know I was so absolutely deeply and truly loved by them, but I’m sure my mom and dad used to say to themselves regularly, “What in the world do I do with this thing?” As a little girl, they were my ultimate authority in all things. They knew how to cook food and bathe and drive cars and read books and sing songs and play and work, and man, that was cool to me. Each word they said was law and truth and the right thing to do. 

But there comes a time in your life when your parent(s) will fall. They will break your heart, even if it is only for a short time. They will no longer meet our infantile expectations of complete perfection and knowledge. They may give you advice and you feel in your gut that you should do the opposite.  But here’s the thing: 

They’re only human. Parents are people too. And expecting a level of perfection from them will only hurt us. 

I recognize that there are too many children and adults whose parents did not give them adequate care and love. Many times that lack creates great obstacles for people. No one should have to endure that. This is something that breaks my heart daily. I have no authority or right to tell you to forgive and love your parents when horrible things have happened to you. But I will tell you and assure you time and time again that no parent has been or ever will be perfect. 

I used to be under this illusion that one day, maybe in my late 20s, I would have undergone enough hardship and learned enough about life that I would reach some higher state of consciousness. Once I reached this state, I would consider myself an actual adult and I would be able to deal with anything life threw at me in the best way possible. 

But there’s really something the matter with this and mostly I’m ridiculous for ever imagining that because 

Life doesn’t work this way. 

And if this was my view of adulthood for myself, was it my view for everyone else, too? How was I viewing the “adults” around me? And how was I viewing my parents? 

For some, life is marriage and children and stability. But our lives are always changing – even within the stability we are growing, shrinking, sprinting forward, rolling downhill, and climbing mountains till the day we die. Imperfectly. Human. Children, Teenagers, Adults, Parents, Elders.

When we are babies, we are only takers. Of course, we give our parents things like joy and smiles and satisfaction. But for the most part, we are totally and completely reliant on them. But as I grow, that relationship requires more and more give from my end to stay alive and healthy. I cannot sit there and wish it could be better – whether I like it or not, I carry just as much adult responsibility as they do now. 

There will probably come a time when your parents need you. They might ask for your advice. Maybe you’ll somehow find yourselves at similar life crossroads and you can genuinely share ideas with one another – as equals. Because they’re not infallible. Parents are people. And maybe, just maybe, they need you too. 

 

 

Confessions of a Chronic Apologizer

There are types of people that go through phases of their life always apologizing. They will do this until it becomes destructive and someone close to him or her holds a small intervention. Someone has to very sternly tell the chronic apologizer he or she is not allowed to say sorry for a very long time until it becomes a learned special phrase again. And the apologizer almost says, “Sorry for saying sorry all the time.” 

I am a chronic apologizer. I have had many of these interventions held for me. Old boyfriends, best friends, people I barely know. “Why did you just apologize for that?” I find myself stuttering and honestly responding, “I don’t know.” It’s an instinct that I’ve somehow developed. When I fall into these phases, people ask me, “What happened? Where’s your confidence? Where’s your enthusiasm?” When that happens, I wish I could say they’re on vacation, they’re expected back next Monday, they just needed a little R&R. But I don’t know when they’ll come back – probably through random bursts of energy, maybe after a conscious conditioning of not saying sorry. 

How does this happen to me? I’ve tried to predict the patterns – it seems to happen when I go through long periods where I feel like I am the lesser. I’ve tried to explain it – maybe it was my childhood of saying sorry for my sins every night before I went to sleep. I could go through self-analyzation after self-analyzation, but deep down, I don’t think that will get me anywhere.

Instead of merely silencing your apologies, maybe it’s knowing the things you really love and really loving them, no fear, unapologetically. 

I have a lot of loves. Good coffee. Dancing so the joy spills out of my body. Making up silly songs on the spot. Popcorn. And VEGETABLES. Vegetables grown in people’s backyards and fields that are hand-picked and then given to me to make into something incredibly delicious. 

I love going into places where I don’t know or look like a single soul and I can just watch the ways people move and talk to each other and encounter each other. The friends I have managed to make in my lifetime all have beautiful, fire-driven souls I am constantly trying to harness parts of – I love them like crazy. I love waking up slow. I write blocks of words that are on the fence between poetry and prose – I have journals and journals filled with these things. 

I could go on and on with this list. I’ve imagined several more paragraphs already. But do the people I love most know even know how I feel about these things? Maybe, but maybe not. I’ve been too busy apologizing, “Sorry for being so crazy. Sorry I’m hungry right now. Sorry for wanting to follow my dreams.” Basically, “Sorry for loving.”

When I look at the woman I aspire to be, she moves with a fire in her belly for all the things and people she loves. She passionately dances and sings through life. Unashamed. Unapologetic. I know that person is inside of me, and everyone else too.

The intervention has already taken place. “No more saying sorry!” I was told. So here’s to that – to the fire in our bellies and the spring in our steps and the unapologetic love in our hearts.