Relapse. Redo. Reset: Part 3

If someone tells you the grass isn’t greener, they’re really just trying to keep you behind the fence.

This reset is an act of rebellious vulnerability. It is me taking active steps towards the hopeful, rose-colored glasses, fingers crossed future that I want. I’m not playing the cards I’ve been dealt. I’m not setting realistic and attainable goals. I’m not practicing gratitude for the things that I have. I’m not making the best of my situation. I’m going to become the person I really want to be. I’m going to build the life I want to have. I am going to write my own damn story, because being a supporting character in everyone else’s isn’t working for me anymore. I’m getting to the other side of that damn fence. I know I will have to scrape and claw and work my ass off to get to that greener grass, but I will live there. I will thrive there. I am desperate and determined - the best kind of motivated. It’s scary to put that out into the world, because I know will fail along the way - miserably and a lot. But giving failure a big hug is part of this story. So here I am. Here it is. The Reset.

I wish I was a little more loved
Trying to find a way to fix that
So many people inside my head
Momma taught me not to talk back
But they’re pretty good company
They cheer me up when I feel bad
Is it my insecurities
That keep me going?

My heart and I don’t get along
It’s something that I’m sad about
Everybody needs a pick me up
But I should probably slow it down
But it’s pretty good company
It cheers me up when I feel bad
These are my insecurities
That keep me going
— These are My Friends, Lovelytheband

I think y’all know that I am into stories. It is my goal in life to collect them and live them, so that when I die, you can tell them at my funeral. If I do life well, you will stand around with your glasses of bourbon, tell stories on me, and laugh until you pee your pants. When the whole thing ends, you should all be shaking your heads, smiling, and saying “That woman was a handful!”

In all my adventuring this year, I wrote A LOT of new stories. They are nothing sort of magical and I will share some of them in the coming weeks. But more importantly, I got enough space in my life to understand and articulate my “this is how I see myself and my place in the world” story . . . pool time is very good for that!

Unfortunately, my story sucks. I mean it sucks so hard and I do not want any of you telling it at my funeral. No one will laugh or pee their pants. You see, the story I have written is a sad, lonely, pitiful story about a sad lonely pitiful girl. And that is not who I want to be. Yes, it’s a true story, but it’s really only part of the thing. It’s not the whole of who I am, and is not meant to stand alone.

My initial impulse was to reject this sadness outright. But that’s not quite how life works. In the reset, I get a chance to write the rest of the story - the story of me as a whole, complicated, hot mess of a person. In the story I want to have, I am a person who has seen pain. Heartbreak. Suffering. Who knows what it is to struggle. Who knows what it means to fear. And because of those things (NOT in spite of them) I belong, and I create belonging. I am loved, and I love. I am visible, and I see others. The world is better because I am in it with all my good parts and bad parts. That is the whole story. It is sad and pitiful and hopeful and brave and dark and sparkly and cynical and inspiring. That is the hot mess of a person I want to be.

Now, I’m going to level with you. I can write those words down, but I do not believe them. I don’t know how to believe them. I don’t have a damn clue how to make that real. So for now, they’re just questions I ask God every morning:

Good morning, God. Do I belong? Am I loveable? Am I visible? Does it matter that I am alive? Teach me something today.

Then I go out in the world and see what happens. I am a bit stubborn, but I am teachable. I’m the only one who can do this. I’m the only person who can write my story. None of you can do it for me. But y’all, I need lots of help. I need coaching, I need cheerleaders. I need encouragement. I need people who will call me on my shit when I need that. I need loads and loads of help to get to that green, green grass.

Enter the characters of my life.

These are my friends, these are my friends
I love them, I love them
These are my friends, these are my friends
I love them, I love them
And they don’t care who you are
They don’t care what you do, no
These are my friends, these are my friends
I love them, I love them

If I were writing my own life story, this would not be it. But, damn, I have the best people!!! Over the course of the last 21 years, I have collected the best and most fantastic group of people. I know the smartest person. The bravest person. The funniest person. The most passionate person. The kindest person. The wisest person. The coolest person. The most forgiving person. The strongest person. People who do unconditional love. I know the people who are going to change the world. I know the Women Who Get Shit Done. Not to brag, but my phone contacts are the Who’s Who of Badass. Seriously. These are my friends!!!!!

And for some inexplicable reason, a lot of these super amazing people love me. They don’t love me for my accomplishments, or my potential, or my resume. And they don’t need me to be on my best behavior, or wait for me to get my shit together or to perform for them. They love me for the exact goddamn disaster that I am. What?!!! Is that a thing?! They also somehow believe that their lives are better because they know me and my hot mess. Why? Not a freaking clue. But they do! And when I’m with them, I belong. I am loved. I am visible. In fact, when I’m with them, I am pretty and sparkly because I reflect back all the bright shiny things they see in me. My friends believe that I am worthy of my fingers-crossed, wishful, imaginary-life future. When I creep towards the fence, they yell “GO FOR IT!!!!! RUN!!!!!!!!!!” These people have been with me me every step of the way on this crazy adventure. They cheer when I stumble and trip on my feet. They cheer when I’m throwing pity parties. And they cheer when I jump over that fence. The fact that they believe in me makes me think I just might make it.

So here’s to my friends. And here’s to the green, green grass on the other side of that fence.

Open the gate. We’re about to have some fun.

Bill Clinton, the Washington Post, and Shame on Me

Dancing with Relapse