Where does it come from? For the better part of my life, the answer to that question was anywhere but from within. I found inspiration and permission externally. Perhaps the word for that is the opposite of within.
I compared my success to that of others. I beat myself up. I lost myself. Hidden by the no, no, no, nos you see in the graphic. Come sterilized. Offend no one.
Everyone else’s conversations were more important than my thoughts and feelings.
Today, I join conversations inspired by my thoughts and feelings. And the damn amazing this is that I seem to have created (maybe cultivated is a better word) a community of people who do the same.
From yesterday’s passion-fueled pittings to and fro on my thoughts surrounding the media hype over Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In to lamentings on LinkedIn etiquette, you’re here.
You stop by. You ponder. You launch. Some of you lurk. You’ve found a conversation worth joining (while some join on occasion to say its worthless). But however you do it, you do it respectfully.
Perhaps we’ve found the great equalizer — online, we’re all equal.
While there are many places online where people wrap themselves tight in a cloak of anonymity and blast forth spew that a septic tank service wouldn’t…service…I get to wake up each day to a place where people agree and differ regularly and respectfully.
I think that’s a byproduct of being myself, as you have permission to be yourself and know that you is appreciated right here.
That’s why today is Fuck Yeah, Friday. Because you let that happen each week.
Close your eyes. Think back to a moment when you were excruciatingly happy.
Where were you? What were you doing?
Take 15 seconds and relish that memory. When you’re done (and it’s okay if it’s longer than 15 second), open your eyes.
Who were you just then?
I’m betting the answer was YOU. In that moment of sheer, unadulterated bliss, you were YOU.
You weren’t male or female (though you might have felt incredibly masculine or feminine — whatever those labels mean to you).
You weren’t impossibly rich or fuck-my-life flavored poor.
You were, however, wealthy — as in that moment of memorable joy (you know, the one that immediately popped to mind as opposed to the moment you had to dig for) you had permission to be yourself.
We don’t have to imagine
When we silo ourselves based on gender, race, religion, geography, profession, sexual orientation, and/or whether or not we get a certain twitchy feeling when we see pictures of Clive Owen — we’re selling ourselves short. We’re cutting ourselves off, quite willfully, from the people who can create the world we want to live in.
You know, the one where you can be you and I can be me.
When we have to imagine a time where we were happy, there’s something wrong with our present, our perspective, and the people in it.
If you’re pissed about where women stand from your viewpoint, stop creating women-only groups. Create masterminds where people, not genders, gather, discuss, and contribute their talents. Why are you recreating the environments that you hated? I’m pretty sure you’d be even more pissed if a group of dudes created the <insert your city here> Men’s <insert sector/interest of choice here> Collective. If you want change, perhaps change your behavior towards including instead of excluding. Speaking of behavior…
If you’re pissed about your weight, change your life. A diet changes your behavior. Real change comes from being willing. We bitch about being ready and know we’re able, but willing is the asshole we invited over for dinner.
If you’re frustrated about not being able to speak your mind, change your environment. That happy moment? You can have that and you sure as hell don’t need my permission to recreate it. Stop viewing being yourself as a luxury reserved for rare moments and find an environment, friends, colleagues, and pursuits that make YOU the rule.
It took me 37 years to find me — my hope is that you can take my glorious fuck ups and learn from them. I’ve screwed up enough for roughly 14 people. I want you to go forth and create new and glorious fuck ups — and I want you to be you when you do it.
This week, Mourning Goats published an interview I’d given and it sparked an appreciation for my “me” once again — much like yesterday’s lively discussion. Interviews like that are possible for me because I turned off my filter and said fuck it.
There’s more power in being me than anything I could imagine. I agreed to the interview because everything that site does features people being themselves. That’s the kind of fuck yeah I want to wake up to every day.
People will never appreciate you until you appreciate you.
We can’t MAKE people appreciate us. It’s something we earn through acceptance, not tolerance. And it’s certainly not something we earn by separating ourselves from the greater of society.
The relationship we have with ourselves is the rule. The foundation. And I ask — if you could do an interview with Mourning Goats, how would you answer?
Would you edit until the cows came home…
or would you lay down what needed laying down, drop the mic and get on with the shit of the shit?
I thank you for trusting me with your you. For affording those who stop by this place, just like you, the respect you’d be comfortable with receiving. For letting this be a place where you shed all those who have at some point, made you feel as if your you isn’t good enough.
Happy Fuck Yeah, Friday. You’re the reason mine’s bright, as whatever I’ve done to bring you here — you can bet your ass I’m going to keep doing it.