Vanilla Charmed Life
This isn’t a political post, but you’ll have to read past this first bit where I talk about Hillary Clinton. (But her emails, I know.)
I’ve been reading a borage of self help books. After finishing a book, I like to give my brain a break and read a novel, usually fiction, to “reset my palette” so to speak. I left off of reading, “Girl Wash Your Face” (Not a huge fan, though there were some great take-aways. I might be the only woman in America who isn’t fan girling over Rachel Hollis right now), and decided that instead of fiction, I’d go for Hillary’s latest book, “What Happened”. I’m listening on Audible, so I get to hear her voice tell the story - I really like that feature. (Btw, strongly suggest you listen to Trevor Noah’s “Born A Crime” because it’s not only an amazing life story, but ... his voice! #swoon)
Anyhoo, I told you this wouldn’t be political, so please note that I’m refraining from making a ton of comments about the current political climate (woof) and how they relate to the book. Really, I’m refraining. I mention the book because Hillary talks about her upbringing - How her childhood and life, mostly charmed, didn’t have the big salacious/juicy/underdog/wow-factor kind of story that others (her husband Bill, Barack Obama, etc) had to offer. She grew up middle class, her parents both loved and encouraged her, she went on to Yale, and her life was (sorry to muddle it down like this, Hills) - kind of vanilla. (Comparatively to a story like Bill’s, whose father died before he was born and who had stopped his stepfather from beating his Mother, as a point of reference.)
In this particular way of thinking, I too have had a vanilla kind of life. I’ve had the kind of life that parents dream to give their kids - I grew up in a home with both parents, no abuse, where all of our needs were surpassed and our wants were met too. Love was provided generously. For me, anything was possible and dreams were encouraged. And so let me begin my next train of thought by saying, I’m grateful. I really am. Vanilla may be considered “boring”, but it is the foundation for so many other possibilities.
Did you ever see that movie, 127 hours? It. Was. Great! James Franco starred, and it is based on the true life story of Aron Ralston, a canyoner, who gets pinned by a large boulder. Alone. In a crevice of the world. Nobody knew where he was. I don’t want to ruin the story for you, but he is forced (by boulder) to re-evaluate his life and make a very difficult decision. His hardship paved the way for clarity - it showed him the kind of life he wanted to have going forward, should he get that far. After watching the movie (and it’s okay if you judge me, because I kind of do too) I was ... jealous. Jealous, not of what he had to do, or lose, but jealous of that clarity. Jealous of a clear direction, of having a life changing moment that defined who he was. If I’m being honest, I go back to his story in my mind, often.
I’m in the midst of some kind of self change - I have a deep desire to grow or bloom or something big. I can’t quite pinpoint it, and it’s a little too personal/unclear to add more detail than that. Last night, in the wee hours, my mind circled over and over again - thoughts of somebody like Hillary and me and our vanilla charmed lives, and then somebody who experiences a great pinnacle of truth and clarity like Aron Ralston... And it hit me.
The boulder than has pinned me down for so long, is me. The hardship I have to overcome, is me. The only thing stopping me, time and time again: Is me. Hey girl.
I have a lovely family that loves and supports me, three generations deep. I have great friends who encourage me. I have kids whose sparkly eyes inspire me. And yet I hold myself back, time and time again. I’ll never break free of this vanilla flavor if I keep pinning myself down. Rachel Hollis comes back to mind - she said, “Nobody wants your dreams (for you) more than you.” And she’s right. With all the support I may have, nobody is pushing me, daydreaming for me, or putting in the work - that all falls on me. Not even my husband, who I believe nearly worships me, encourages me the way that I will have to encourage myself. And that’s the truth.
I guess I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been kind of waiting on a push, from someone, or something, or divine intervention. But the push I want ... is gonna have to come from me.
Being vanilla isn’t bad, by the way. But I’ve long felt it was a foundational flavor in which I’d like to add on to. Kind of like Hillary did. (Though you won’t see me running for office ... Plus, her emails.)
I’ve been a big freaking boulder in my own life but damnit, I’m ready to cut myself free.