Over the past years I have been teaching myself to be happy. To steady myself when I start to get too frustrated or mean. To look around and see what’s there. To remind myself that our short lives are full of long days, and that I get to decide what each one looks like. It’s not been easy. Sometimes it feels totally stupid. But more often than not it feels good, and addictive.
I’m a very scared person. I am scared of anything and everything. Of how my body moves, how my voice sounds, what I love, what I hate. I’m scared of what people think of me, and more scared that they think nothing at all. I’m scared of how little time I have, or that I’ll have too much time and realize I wasted all of it. I’m scared my loved ones will leave me. I’m scared my dog will die sooner than later. I’m scared that I’m stupid.I’m scared that I am entirely selfish. I’m scared that I’ve invented all my personality aspects to seem more interesting. I’m scared that I don’t know who I really am.
Every bold action I take, I was talked into by my braver heart. Every time I speak up I was manipulated into it by my bravado. Every lipstick color was dared. Every blog post was goaded into existence. It’s easy to love yourself, it’s harder to love yourself back.
I’ve been pushing myself to spin.
To take a bow. To skip.
I’ve encouraged my shadow to dance,
her arms high above her head.
I’m teaching myself to embrace raindrops, to smile at birds and leaves and clouds.
To wave to children, to nod at each pedestrian,
to thank every bus driver, every barista, every customer,
every door held open – even when they don’t look back.
To leap over puddles simply to fly.
Take up the space.
Stretching up and out; leaning forward, bending back.
Gasp out loud and let the air fill my lungs.
To listen fully, learning to wait before asking questions. Savoring each individual bite. This is food someone made, this is food that the Earth grew. To feel those raw vocal cords from singing too loud; side pains from laughing too hard. To actually laugh and feel it fill me up enough to loosen the knot in my stomach.
Knock me over with wind. I’ll wade into the water up to my ankles. Walk leisurely through that rare sunbeam. Let my hands reach out and feel the dew. Let condensation fog my glasses. Filling cupped palms with cold water. Embrace my skin.
Every habit has to be practiced before it’s formed. I’ll get there.
Patience & Practice