Who we are is often defined by the way things appear to others. We go out of our way (well most of us do) to “look” like all is well (even when it isn’t). The grocery store clerk or bank teller asks “how are you today” and regardless of how we really feel, most of paint on a smile and say; “fine thanks, and you.” Are we really fine? Does the clerk really care – probably not – but does it really matter? Perhaps we tell ourselves what we would like to believe but in doing so fail to recognize what is.
There is a me inside, a perfect version of myself whose life is beyond fabulous. This elusive person has escaped the context of (my) reality for as long as I can remember. She is the person that exists in the land “when (fill in the blank) happens.” Unlike me, her 2012 holiday lights have already been taken down and put away, her laundry is freshly folded and put away, her house immaculate, and her cats don’t have fleas. Her understanding of what really matters provides her with the peace of mind to take care of the things that don’t.
The man next door is taking his dog Molly outside for a bathroom break. I have never met him. I have never seen the dog. I do know, however, that at certain times throughout the day and evening, he and Molly will venture out into their backyard. On the nights that Molly decides to do her own thing, I hear the frustration in his voice. He calls gently at first – but is eventually reduced to bargaining with an animal that clearly doesn’t give a damn; “Come on, Molly!” “Molly, come here right now!” “Molly, please come on.” He waits – and when she is ready- Molly comes inside.
My children are downstairs playing a game and making far too much noise. The cat box needs to be changed. There is paperwork that needs to be faxed and appointments that need to be made. My hair is uncurled, make-up undone, my outfit doesn’t match, there are stacks of files and folders, and my nail polish is chipped in so many places that it looks like a checkerboard. This is my life. This is the part that the world doesn’t see – but this is who I am.
In this moment, Molly and I are kindred spirits. My responsibilities are calling me – but I am doing my own thing. I am giving myself permission to enjoy the feel of the computer keys and engage in the conversation that is taking place in my mind. My cat is resting comfortably on my leg – the other is curled up on my side. I am authentic and it feels pretty good.