Responding to criticism and spinning in the fields

The most common criticism of my writing and radio show is:

“You need to talk more about your problems; you need to be more real.”

I know what people are trying to say, but the truth is, at 41, I am finally being real.

Here's what I know - when something happens, I don’t just see what’s in front of me, I see the whole picture – why it might have happened and how it relates to the bigger picture. 

I like to think of it as a wide-angle lense. I don’t see things or people as inherently bad – I see how things fit together or didn’t fit together to create a situation.

As a young kid this felt great – let me tell you, I was one of those life-loving kids spinning in a field of flowers looking up to the sky thinking about how life is GOOD (not really, but that’s how I always perceive my little self). 

But people, formal education, experiences, caused me to question my perspective.  In my life I have been called naïve, unintelligent, unsavvy, uneducated, unaware, and disconnected from reality. 

Basically people wanted me to wake up and notice that life sucks.

I get it, and maybe I needed to acknowledge a bigger picture. We all need balance.

But viewing life in this way, seeing life through a lense of fear and problems, actually caused me to feel unaware and disconnected.  It caused me to lose my way and I was left feeling confused and depressed.

So many years ago I began working my way back to the spinning kid in the field. I began to realize that being born as her was my life’s gift. 

I suck at many things – math, directions, reading manuals, understanding technology, board games, test taking, staying organized, understanding fashion, drawing, and I am most sad that I can’t sing or tap dance – I always wanted to have a great singing voice, I always wanted to dance and be Madonna.

I suck at those things, but I was born with my wide angle, I was born looking up to the sky. 

I see good stuff everywhere. I feel good stuff in people.  When someone asks me a deep question, information just pours into my head – some of it comes from experience and some of it comes from formal education.  But some of it - I have no idea where it comes from.  I can write something one day and not recognize it the next.

I spent a lot of my years pushing this away, thinking I was stupid or missing something that others seemed to understand.  But now I get it.

Like all humans, pain, crisis, fear and sadness are part of my life experience.  The truth is I feel these things deeply, sometimes too deeply.  Sometimes I feel other people’s stuff deeply – stuff that has nothing to do with me. 

Mine has been a hard fought battle to balance what I can feel with what I can control.  And most things I can’t control, so I practice letting go. 

I cry a lot.  I take a lot of baths and showers.  I sit in quiet and breathe.

Living life is a practice; there is no “got it”.  But I’m better at it.  I can now walk through the world without feeling exposed to the elements. I can have deep talks with others without feeling like I’ve been hit by a ton of bricks.

And even more important, I am brave enough to use my real voice again, the one I used to hear in my head as a kid.  I get to talk about love, compassion, and joy with my kids, my husband, my friends. 

I get to do what comes naturally for a living.

So when you tell me to talk more about difficulty or when you tell me that other people see the world differently, it kind of reminds me of when people were telling me I was unaware, it reminds me that it can be difficult to be "seen".

I do have challenges, and I share these challenges with the ones “who have earned the right to hear them” (thanks for those words, Brenè Brown).

What I share in my blog and on the show is what I have come to understand based on those challenges. 

Over the years I have become more fully myself, but I think the people who have known and loved me the longest will agree that I’m talking about the same thing, only maybe a little louder.

So I hear you that you want me to talk more about my problems, but if I talked about problems, I would be doing it for other people’s comfort.  And for me, that’s a step backward.

Being myself through writing, talking, and teaching are the ways I sing and dance, the ways I use what I have to be of service and feel good.

It's just me, spinning in the fields.

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