George Carlin left behind a legacy with routines adored far and wide. Among them is the infamous Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV. Don Miguel Ruiz gave us The Four Agreements. That Covey twit spews out seven habits and makes a killing off merchandise.
As a redhead known for her ribald humor, I’m only human. A girl filled with hopes and dreams that I’m doing my damnedest to see through to fulfillment and beyond. While my language blue and middle finger most prominent, a joy I’ve come to embrace in my (dare I say) adulthood is my humanity. My capacity for compassion. The ability to fill my own vessel and feed others from the overflow. This week began with a Bitch Slap and I’ll end it with Four Indispensable Things.
The Four Things are surrounded by ego, fear, pride, shame, vulnerability and more emotions/consequences than my mind can conjure. They’re simple and universal while being the most difficult things we can ever let eek out our mouths and traipse through our minds.
They’re also Four Things that I’ve promised myself that I’ll never fear again. Maybe today’s blog is more for me than for you, my readers, and if that ends up being the case – I’m sorry. I always write with you in mind and I can hope that something here will resonate with you. The ability to embrace and say the following things more often will do nothing but make this most beautiful life I lead even moreso. Frequency, intent and honesty – traits each of the Four Things share on every level.
I watched Swimming With Sharks last weekend under the pretense that it was a comedy (holy shit, was I wrong, and thanks to everyone who ever recommended that movie to me and “forgot” to tell me it’s not a comedy). Throughout the movie, the characters repeatedly state: Don’t apologize. It’s a sign of weakness. That’s bullshit. It’s a sign of strength, confidence and character. All to often I find myself saying “I’m sorry” as perfunctory as “How are you?” We don’t really mean either. They’re pleasantries at best. I’m not always right and I don’t always handle things the right or best way. In those cases, an apology is in order. There’s incredible strength inherent with I’m Sorry. Not only is it a phrase that allows you to engage and grow with someone, it’s one that allows someone else to better understand your character.
What’s the stigma with telling someone “no?” The ability to tell someone no is essential to our growth. We’re continuously presented with opportunities to participate in any myriad of events and projects. If we jam our schedule so full with any old event that comes along because we’re afraid to say no, then we’re not leaving any room for the things that come along that we really want to do. As I stated earlier this week in The Bitch Slap – we all have responsibilities and obligations. Understood. But if we repeatedly say yes to the things that take our time, where will we find the time to give when something comes along that captures our attention…passion…hearts?
Exhibiting thanks…again, such a perfunctory and pedestrian behavior. While a pleasantry in and of itself, it comes from a very vulnerable place many times. We are all superheroes in our own minds, equipped and able to handle every curve ball life throws us. Ready to face every day’s challenges, quandaries and fuckups with infinite energy and unlimited expertise. We can choose to feel overburdened by the pile of crap on our doorstep, bound and determined to go it alone. Or we can ask for help. It’s not easy and often, rather unpretty. But if we stop and look, we are surrounded by people who are more than happy to lend a hand. Whether a coworker, neighbor, lover or friend – help lurks in the most obvious and unlikely of places in life. Reach out, request, receive, give thanks. That sounds a bit more religious than I’m comfortable with, but to hell with it.
I Love You
“Three words that became hard to say / I and love and you
What you were then, I am today / Look at the things I do”
~The Avett Brothers – “I and Love and You”
The most difficult. Most vulnerable. It’s the scariest and most lovely thing we can ever say. Whether said to family, friends or lovers, those three words place us in a position to be shot down. To fall. To be disappointed when expectations aren’t met. Opening yourself up to the consequences and rewards that simultaneously accompany I and love and you is an exhilarating journey. When you say those three words, you’re telling someone:
Hey, for all that you are, you fill me up. Thank you. You add to my life. I’m not perfect but you accept me and you’re not perfect either – but you know what? Screw it! You’re wonderful. From the maddening way you eat your dinner from the outside of the plate in to the way you feel next to me in bed each morning. You many never know what to get me for my birthday and I may never remember you hate olives. You’ll have shitty days and some of mine may even be shittier. But with all of the good, I want the crap, too. I want every little bit of your crap and I want to roll around in it like a hog in mud and bask in the sunshine until it dries all over me like a protective chocolate outer coating on a Ding Dong.
I want the crap. I want the unadulterated bliss and sheer agony that accompany each utterance of I and love and you. You can’t go anywhere in life if you build up walls so high that no one can climb over them. And when we’re lucky enough to have a Trojan Horse come along and park itself outside the gate, I’d much rather go through life thinking it’s more like the Monty Python “Trojan Bunny” – a laughable, contrary, unexpected surprise than one filled with a legion of heart-thrashing warriors ready to bring me to my knees.
And those are the Four Indispensable Things, my readers. I believe I have a life-long project ahead of me.