Forever Be Gray
I read a beautiful quote today. It was written by Anne Lamott while reflecting on what she had learned in her lifetime.
"Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides. Also, you can't save, fix or rescue any of them, or get any of them sober. But radical self-care is quantum, and radiates out into the atmosphere, like a little fresh air. It is a huge gift to the world. When people respond by saying, "Well, isn't she full of herself," smile obliquely, like Mona Lisa, and make both of you a nice cup of tea."
After reading the quote, I couldn't kick the bit about not comparing my insides to other people's outsides. It is very easy to think any other person has their life together, because we can't possibly know them like we know ourselves.
This being said, I like transparency. A lot. And so in an effort to be transparent, I am going to share some of my insides.
I am deeply flawed. Radically insecure, and overly prideful - both in random bouts. I tend to overcompensate my insecurities with makeup, filters, and a chipper attitude. These things help hide acne ridden skin, other imperfections, and the everyday sadness that I tend to experience.
I have a temper that I am not proud of. My face gets hot, my skin gets red, and my mouth spews poison. I try very hard not to explode, but occasionally I still do.
I have secrets and sharp edges in my soul. Things I have done or seen that hurt me, or hurt others. Things that taught me lessons, or gave me depth - but lessons learned at the expense of mine or somebody else's well being. I carry the weight that came with those lessons.
I can be judgmental. When I realize this behavior in others, I am disgusted. I loathe seeing the behavior in myself. I tend to get rather uppity if I feel my opinion is more "enlightened" than another person's. I judge those who I find to be cruel - I certainly don't think I am better than other people, but my pride has allowed me to believe I am better than certain behaviors. This revelation continues to embarrass me. How can I preach tolerance and not offer it to those I find intolerant? Perhaps that is skill of a more balanced person than I.
I have manipulated. I have gossiped. I have been drunk and sloppy, high as a kite, and promiscuous. (Maybe even all at once.) I have lied, cheated, and stolen. Maybe not to the the magnitude of what you might imagine ... But nonetheless, I have done things that are very unlikeable. I am ungrateful, I am spoiled, I am resentful and entitled. I have been jealous, crazy, possessive, and cruel. I am every single quality that I dislike in others.
I do try very hard to keep these behaviors in check. But a drop of black ink in a bowl of milk ... Is not exactly a crisp white anymore. I will forever be gray.
These behaviors may not be present in my day to day existence, but all of these unlikeable and very human qualities exist within me, as they exist in others.
Should you ever have compared yourself to me for any reason ... My insides are much more flawed than my outsides could ever show.
I am human. I am flawed.