“We know what the world wants from us. We know we must decide whether to stay small, quiet, and uncomplicated or allow ourselves to grow as big, loud, and complex as we were made to be. Every girl must decide whether to be true to herself or true to the world.” ~ Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior: A Memoir
I’ve been reading a lot of quotes lately about embracing that place. You know the one. That place between no longer and not yet. Where you’re no longer the person you used to be, but not yet the person you are becoming.
Well, if you haven’t experienced it for yourself, let me tell you something: it sucks.
I’ve been there for three years. More really. A whole lot more. But I’ve been in the thick of it for the past three.
Waiting for the definitive answer to come—to all of the questions—because I am questioning everything in my life.
I keep thinking there will come a time when I will know, for sure. There will be no more doubt. No more questioning.
I. Will. Know.
Well, guess what? I’m sick of waiting. I’m tired of going back and forth in my head every single minute of every single day.
I live a charmed life. An easy life. An incredibly blessed life.
There’s this hole.
A hole that I cannot seem to fill. No matter how hard I try. No matter what I try and fill it with.
The only thing that has worked this long is laying a beautiful area rug over it. A plush, white, fluffy, luxurious faux-fur rug. One that covers the hole up, makes it look pretty, and allows me to pretend that the hole is no longer there.
I’m so good at pretending. It’s one of my superpowers.
Glennon Doyle Melton, talking about the masks we wear in her book, Love Warrior: A Memoir, called that self who wears the mask her “representative.” The person she presented to everyone. The one who said and did the right things. The one who blended in.
She told a story that still sticks in my head about getting together at a playgroup with other moms, and while the children played, the moms talked. Only she tried to talk about real things. Things that mattered. Until she saw the way that all the other moms looked at her and she realized, “Oh…we’re not doing that here.” So she put her mask back on and sent her representative in her place.
I know that mask. I have one just like it. Do you have that mask?
The one that you put on when people ask you how you are and you respond automatically with “fine” because you know they don’t really want to know the truth. They were just being polite. Like people do.
They don’t really want to know that you are drowning, because from where they stand, it looks like you have everything.
So you put on the mask and have your representative answer those questions. You save the real stuff for the people who you know really care. Who really want to know. To help you and support you. No matter how strong you might appear.
But the problem is that I still know that hole is there. Even if it is covered up by a beautiful, fluffy white rug. I also know how to gingerly step around the outer edges of the rug. I know exactly how far it reaches, and I also know exactly where to place my footsteps so that I don’t let the hole swallow me up.
I know how to distract myself from the hole’s existence with my kids’ activities and work and family. I can go for months at a time without acknowledging the hole’s existence. I’m an expert at it.
Some of those distractions end. And I have more time on my hands. Which means time to think.
To face the void. And no longer avoid.
And then the universe puts something in front of us that makes bells and whistles go off in our heads and hearts, and we cannot stop thinking about it. For months.
It was an article about Soul Projects. I immediately loved the idea of it so much. The idea of a project that means so much to you, it’s more than just an annual resolution to clear out the clutter. It’s such an important project that it comes from deep within your soul.
Anyone who knows me knows that language like that lights me up.
A frickin’ Soul Project?! I. Am. In.
And when I gave myself a whole two seconds to close my eyes and think about what my own Soul Project would be, there was only one thing that came to mind.
Save. My. Self.
Not just Save Myself.
Save. My. Capital S Self.
There is actually nothing else that it could be, really.
And believe me, I tried to come up with something. Anything. Anything at all on God’s green Earth, for the love of Pete.
And there was nothing.
Because quite simply, it’s time.
It’s time to stop ignoring that small, quiet voice that whispers to me all day, every day.
But then there’s that other voice. The one that says I am blessed beyond measure. That I have more than anyone in this lifetime could ever wish for. The one that says it is absolutely, f*cking ridiculous that I should ever desire more than I have right now.
Do you know that voice? She can be a little bitch. Quite the nag, really. Because she never shuts the hell up.
But that first voice is the one that is talking too quietly to be heard most of the time. Unless you’re really listening. Unless you’re really paying attention. And in those quiet moments, she’s telling me to stop waiting for anyone else to make me happy.
My husband does everything right. Everything. He would—without thinking twice—give his life to make me happy. And yet, it’s not enough.
All those loving friends and family members who would do anything to make me happy—it’s not enough.
Simply put, it’s up to me now. Just like it always was.
It’s time for me to woman up, feel all the frickin’ feels, find my lady balls, and listen to that quiet whisper that I’ve been scared to listen to all this time.
The one who needs to save herself.
The one who wants to be the one to save herself.
The one who wants freedom.
The one who wants to answer to no one but herself. (So she can finally stop muttering, “You’re not the boss of me…”)
The one who wants to do it all on her own.
Who wants to pull out her sword and rescue herself.
I am the hero in this story.
White knights need not apply.
The plan is still formulating, and I am brainstorming the details.
But I can promise you this much…
It won’t look anything like what we see in any ridiculous fairy tale.
But there will absolutely be a happily ever after.
“I’m trying to strip myself down to my barest essentials so I can figure out where I begin and where the woman the world told me to be begins. I’m going back to the starting line.” ~ Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior: A Memoir
Author: Christy Williams
Image: Deviant Art
Editor: Travis May