My past few weeks have been about revisiting old lessons. This does not particularly surprise me. It has been clear to me for a long time that growing is circular and cyclical. Revisiting the same aspects of ourselves at different levels and different perspectives.
So first it was remembering that I can take steps to be the person I want to be in the midst of a culture of people I don’t want to be. And then it was remembering to mind my own business. And that being helpful does not always mean offering help. And then it was remembering that it’s ok to judge. That that is how I figure out what I want, how to get it, and if I am, in fact, getting it.
So this week has been about remembering that I have my own journey. That it is mine. That it is exactly the one I am supposed to have. And that it is as good as anyone else’s.
When I was eating compulsively, I had a lot of jealousy. A lot of anger at God. A lot of frustration at what it seemed everybody got that I did not.
Of course, first was my broken body. That I got a body that was fat and disgusting. That mark of my innate wrongness that God made visible to everyone. While everybody else got one that was normal and good.
But there were other things too, outside of the body itself.
There was a girl I went to grammar school with. She occurred to me as perfect. All of the teachers loved her. The principal. The office staff. The other mothers.
She was smart, and pretty. She was popular. (If the term popular can be applied to a small class in a small school in the suburbs.) And I was very jealous. Not that I didn’t like her. I did. Very much. She was extremely likable. But it seemed to me that she got a good life, and I got a bad one.
This kind of thing was common through my whole life. There were people like that in my family. In junior high and high school and college and at jobs and in social circles. Everybody had something I did not. Everybody was privy to things that were mysterious to me. I have described before that I thought that everybody got a life instruction manual that I did not get.
When I got my food under control and stopped being high on sugar all the time, I learned that a lot of what I didn’t understand about life came from my own insistence on numbing myself instead of feeling my feelings. And that part of it was also my lack of integrity. That willingness to lie, cheat and steal. That ability to numb the shame and guilt of lying cheating and stealing with chocolate cake. With my food under control I learned that life actually just works better when I honor my word. When I have integrity.
But there is something else I learned when I got control of my eating and my eating disorders. And it is that lesson I need a refresher course in this week. I learned that the life I got is beautiful and perfect. I learned that I have a place. And that it is a place that nobody else can fill. It is Kate’s place. And I need to fulfill Kate’s missions. Even if I don’t know what all of them are yet. Even if they are not worldly. Even if they don’t make me rich. Or famous. And even if they are and they do. That my life, however it twists and turns, whatever it looks like, is my gift from Life. And that it is also my gift back to life. And that I had better honor it. As it is.
Because this week, I read a book. A novel that made me ache with jealousy. For the first time in a very long time. It made me envious. And it made me pity myself. Poor me. I didn’t write that brilliant novel. And then came the (frankly ridiculous and unnatural conclusion) that I could never write something like that. That I got a bad life. That I got sub par talent.
And then I saw a girl in a perfect outfit. Simple and clean. Unobtrusive and yet stunningly fashionable. And then I realized that I could never wear that outfit. Because it was beautiful on her because she is thin and straight. And I am curvy.
I love fiction. And I have, several times in my life, attempted to write some fiction. I have written some that I thought was pretty good. But I have never gone very far with it. Certainly never all the way. And for most of my life I thought of myself as not worthy of being a writer. Because I never finished anything. Or I never polished what got finished. Because I never followed through.
And then I started this blog. And I made a commitment to write. And I have written. Regularly. And well. Granted I do not always impress myself. But sometimes I do! Sometimes I read something and I think, “Hot damn! Did that come out of me?”
And I know for sure that this is what I am supposed to be doing right now. That this is my mission at this moment. That this blog is Kate taking the gift from Life. And giving the gift to Life.
I also need to remember that this is the body I am in. And it is beautiful. And that I have a very specific style. And it is also beautiful. I have really gorgeous clothes that fit me body and soul. That I can admire somebody else’s style without needing to adopt it.
So maybe someday I will write a novel. But if I do, it will not be the novel I read this week. That one is already written. And maybe I will change my style someday. But it won’t be that girl’s style. That’s already hers.
I should remember Oscar Wilde’s perfect advice.
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.