I messaged my sister a photo of Kaya the other day, one I had instagrammed (but she’s not on instagram so she misses all the photo goodness). In the photo, she and her little friend are both lying in Rasmus’ arms, one on top of the other. Her friend’s mama snapped the photo so I’m not quite sure how this situation came about but what’s clear is her friend is somewhat unimpressed by the whole scenario. Kaya is giggling hysterically.
My sister quickly replied: “she looks so like her mum when she laughs”.
She’s right. When I laugh at something in that real, stomach-creasing, can’t control it kinda way, my eyes screw up just like hers and my shoulders inch towards my ears and I’m all in enjoying it.
“Is she always this happy?” people ask me, and the answer is, mostly yes. This morning she was grumpy and clingy and had a meltdown when it got to teeth-brushing time. But now she’s napping and she’ll wake up with a grin on her face.
We play hide and seek around the house and she screeches with delight when I jump out or her or she at me. We play football with the little red ball with stars on it and she giggles the entire time she’s chasing that thing down. She will stand on the balcony, holding onto the bars with one hand and pointing everything out with enthusiasm, “det, det, det”. (We think she’s figuring out the Danish first).
“I wonder where she gets it from?” a few of my friends ask with a glint in their eye. And I guess they are right about that too. I’m an eternal optimist about everyone I meet. I want to know your whole story please. From the beginning. I want to explore all the places and promote all the great things I find.
I’m an eternal optimist about everyone except myself.
With myself it’s a battle to offer the same enthusiasm, the same kindness and generosity as I will easily extend to others. My default is to doubt myself. My default is to think I can’t do it, I won’t be accepted, I will fail. It’s stopped me from beginning way too often.
I’m reading Seth Godin’s book, What to do when it’s your turn (and it’s always your turn). It’s kicking my butt.
On one page he speaks about two kinds of pain, the first kind of pain of “being a cog, of not fitting in enough, never enough. The pain of having to measure up in a world that keeps telling us we don’t…”
“The alternative is to experience the pain of being free. The pain of saying, “here, I made this”. The pain of living with the opportunity to make a difference. There’s no pain-free path. But at least you can do something that matters.” – Seth Godin
I want to do something that matters. I want to feel empowered to start some of my ideas, kick off some of the projects in my head, chase down some of the dormant dreams. But only I can do that. No one else can empower me if I’m not willing to embrace the tension, the pain even, of being free to act and free to fail.
I’m trying. This week I invited a small group of people I know to come and spend a morning together talking about writing as a spiritual practice. It’s a step. I’m not sure exactly what it will look like and it might not work perfectly first time (or even second time). But I want to try anyway. I want to take my turn. Stop with the excuses.
To start being as optimistic about myself as I am about everyone else. To reclaim that joy and curiosity that my little girl still has, even the hundredth time she ends up on her butt. She still sucks at getting back up on her own, but once she’s up, she’ll run after that ball with no less enthusiasm than all the previous times.
Only I can give myself permission to begin. So I’m going to try to do just that again today.
I’m linking up again with the #wholemama community over at Esther Emery’s place. The theme this week is empowerment and superpowers. It’s such a lovely place to meet new-to-me writers and read some encouraging words.