This week has been kicking my butt a bit. Every now and then I go through an existential crisis of sorts and it never feels nice, and then I feel guilt around having such a privileged life that I even have the ability to fret about such indulgent things. “I don’t know who I am”, I say to Joel and like always, he braces himself before responding to his crazed wife.
“Who am I?” I ask. “Tell me who I am.” Even though I know he’s incredibly confused because how one is supposed to answer that question, Lord knows – still, he sits down on the couch with me and says, “Um, well….. you have good energy and people want to be around it.”
I appreciate him saying so but it doesn’t really answer my question. “But what’s my thing? What’s my style? What are my talents when I’m just a hodgepodge of bits from here and there? How am I supposed to design a website when I’m all sorts of things. How can I make something that screams THIS IS ME. I like so many different styles, how am I supposed to represent myself? I can’t exactly just say I ALLEGEDLY HAVE GOOD ENERGY AND PEOPLE WANT TO BE AROUND IT. What even am I doing? Am I too much? I’m too much, aren’t I?”
“Rach,” he says. “Look, it’s better to move in the wrong direction than not move at all.”
“So what if you design it wrong? So what if you don’t like it in a few months? So what if it doesn’t work? You learn from it and then you change it. That’s far better than sitting here, worried, doing nothing.”
Not for the first time, I tell myself I married well.
“What will make you feel better?”, he asks, and without missing a beat, I tell him pumpkins. Pumpkins will make me feel better.
“Will you decorate the house with me? Put up pretend spiderwebs and fairy lights and festive pumpkins? Let’s make the house all Halloween-y.”
Not for the first time, he wonders if he married well.
But he does it anyway and only groans once because our counsellor has told us that there are things we must to do “for the relationship” as if it’s a third entity we need to nourish. Which it is.
And so it came to be that yesterday marked the official day we Halloween-ified the house, a day I feel deserves proper recognition here in the tent because, if nothing else, we folk here say THIS IS HAPPENING AND WE ARE HEREBY CELEBRATING IT.
One of my favourite bloggers posted this the past week:
“The big things that make us come alive are the tiles that will change the world. But the small things that make us come alive are the grout that holds the tile in place.” She goes on to say, “We need the grocery store pumpkin displays and weather shifts. The pajama hugs and syrup puddles on Saturday morning waffle heaps are where the big ideas run to quench their thirst.”
And I sat there thinking that’s exactly it.
My head is forever swirling with big ideas, ways to change, things to start, ways to contribute to the world and passions to focus on. But because they are big things, by very definition they are piled with overwhelm, laced with identity contradiction. My counteresponse? Go small. Small is fuel. Small is clarity. Because the carving pumpkins and spooky spiders and wide eyed children all excited by the ritual of celebration give us the respite we need, and in the end, answer the very question of Who Am I and What Am I Doing?
Who are you? You are a collection of all the things you love, unable to be reduced by a sentence or a logo or a catch phrase or a single chosen job or any branding that fits into a successful marketing model. You are everything you love.
And right now I’m loving spiderweb lanterns and pumpkin twinkle lights and children for whom I can make things special.
So while I cringe at past posts I’ve written and terrible photos I’ve taken and dead end streets I’ve walked down and that voice in my head who is really not my friend, I’ll bottle up my husband’s words and carry them around in my pocket all day long.
It’s better to move in the wrong direction than not move at all.
Move those feet, sweet pea.