This box is too small.

You know. You have to know. Because anyone who comes here is utterly misunderstood. Most of us are trying to just get through the day without being shunned to an island full of fellow misfits…even though it doesn’t sound all that bad. At least they won’t try to impose societal rules upon us. You must wear pants, and all the related cockamamie. Even though, that’s a really ridiculous yet important right for us, as women. Which is insane…that it was ever NOT okay for us to wear pants…and that there are still places, many places, in this world where women cannot wear pants.

I digress.

I’m here as a spokesperson for the misnamed “Weirdos” today. For all the ones who have had ideas or aspirations and were told they were silly or strange or odd. That they were acting like children. That they needed to grow up. Get their bearings about them. Start making grown up decisions.

And for the past few months I’ve really tried. I’ve tried so hard to start a path toward a “proper” career. And that’s all fine and well, but the thing is, nothing pulls me. Nothing makes me feel passionate or thrilled or want to go off on full on tangents about how wonderfully amazing my thing is going to be.

And all the job postings out there are, like, Accountant, or, Data Analyst–which I pronounce all wrong, and apparently that’s inappropriate. And the careers for writers are so god awful if it isn’t what you want to do. Copywriting sounds just so arduous to someone like me. And some people love that. Some people get real into their careers, and that’s fantastic. But nothing does that for me. It’s part of why I’m still slinging liquor on year three at twenty-six-years-old. Because at the end of the day, at least I get to meet new people. At least it doesn’t get boring.

So, I’m stuck, in this troublesome rut that society pushed me into. I’m stuck here because I don’t fit in the little box. I don’t fit in the Stay At Home Mom box. I don’t fit in the Career Woman With A Family box. I don’t fit. I don’t fit. Which has always been my biggest flaw. That no matter where I go, what I do, who I know, I’m always this strange creature with just enough cleverness to not flounder terribly at the bottom of the social hierarchy sea. I’m fooling people into knowing what the hell I want from life, but really, I am utterly lost and confused and my head is filled with stories and odd creatures and odd timelines and if I truly spoke what was on my brain everyone would run away screaming that the dimpled one is a loon.

And then…this thing happened. I don’t know if it was Doctor Who that did it–the fact that Twelve, even though he’s old and wrinkled and gray, is still in there, after all. I don’t know if it was my cousin who patiently listens to me whine, or my Bostonian friend who reassuringly quiets my angst, but I realized, that I’m trying so hard to fit in that I’m losing who I am. “Be enough for you,” someone smart told me. “Try to be enough, just for you.” Something clicked.

I’m trying so damn hard to squeeze myself into this teensy little box of perfection that I have forgotten to do all the things that I love. I’ve forgotten that the only thing I’ve ever truly loved is writing. Pursue a Marketing degree? Sure, that looks spectacular on paper, but it looks a lot less happy when I can physically feel my soul being wrung out to dry. Veterinary Technician? Molly, you literally are still having PTSD flashbacks of the dog fight you had to break up. Not a good idea.

I’m fighting an invisible army, I feel. I love, and I mean love, the fight for women. I love strong women. I think every woman should be allowed to be strong. To be weak, if they want to be weak. To be whatever they want. To simply be. We are people, all of us, and we all deserve the same things. But I felt this push to be more, to do something huge. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel it, but what I’ve realized is that I have to put the work in. I have these big aspirations, but I can’t take a detour or a bypass to get there. I can’t achieve what I want by taking some other, seemingly simpler path. The things I want are extremely difficult to come by. They mean rejection. They mean getting beat up emotionally, which, in a lot of ways, is so much more intense than physically. And that’s something that terrifies me. That after everything, I’m going to learn that it’s all been for nothing. That everything I am and have worked toward is meaningless.

But I’ve got to try, right? Because not trying is so, so, so much worse.

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Maybe we’re different, or we’re all about the same.

I have to confess that I haven’t been myself at all lately. Or, in truth, maybe I’ve been more me than I have been in quite some time. I’ve fallen away from a lot of social norms, or things that have strangely become social norms. Like updating the universe on my whereabouts and daily happenings. It use to seem like something essential, somehow. Like waking up and going to sleep or pausing to make myself something to eat. Each time, I’d pick up my phone and take a look through the open window of the world.

What’s everyone doing out there? Sharing their feelings? Their lives? But they aren’t, not really. A few are honest, mostly. But most are not honest at all. They share the sugar, but not the spice. They live their social media lives feasting on whipped cream and perfection. No one ever talks about the meat. Or potatoes, for my vegan friends.

But when they are honest, it’s too much. We get run down. We can’t consume all the angst and the anger. The misery. The sadness. The drama is too much because we have enough we’re trying to stifle in ourselves. They’re soiling our dreamy fantasy world with all of their yucky life stuff.

No one is inherently happy, and yet we act like we’re the happiest people in the universe.

News flash, friends, we can’t all be the best at anything.

There are little blips of joy. There is the pursuit of happiness, which is where most of us reside when we say we’re happy. Or maybe, we had a great day. A great experience. That’s a brief moment of pleasure, but it isn’t our entire life.

And the problem with spreading our falsely joyous selves thin all over the interwebs is that once we put it out there, we have to live up to those expectations.

And the sneaky little secret is that the fall is so much harder when we can’t match up. We can’t be perfect. We can’t be everything. We can’t be everywhere all the time. There is no comparison between us and them, and frankly, there is no us. There is no them. There is simply all of us trying to find our way in this insanely confusing maze of life without getting stepped on or spit on or left on the side of the information highway for dead.

Social media is this brilliantly overused tool that first connects us, nurtures us, holds us, and then breaks us. It’s a phenomenon we don’t realize. It’s one we don’t understand because we are addicted to the knowing. At the click of a button we can know anything we want to know. Where someone was today. What they ate. What they said. We can look at someone’s struggles and think, “Oh, well, at least we’re doing better than they are.”

Tell me you don’t have thoughts like that scamper through your brain.

The worst part of it all is our need to compare. We are incapable of being simply happy for someone. That emotion doesn’t exist, nor is it a state of mind. It is impossible for us to be overjoyed for the sake of someone else without an added hitch. There is always that secondary question. It isn’t always loud. Sometimes it’s so quiet we almost don’t hear it, but it’s there. Always, always there.

I’m so happy for them, but–

And this opens up a slew of tragedies inside of us that further our existential crises.

Why not me?
Why can’t I?
Why didn’t I?
Why don’t I?
Am I not good enough?
Am I not smart enough?
Am I too strange?
Not strange enough?
Did I waste my time?
Do I still have time?

And at the end of the endless downward spiral we find ourselves melted in a puddle of pity that can’t even collect itself enough to get dressed and brush its teeth let alone live up to the false expectations we’ve plastered for the world to see. And so we sink further.

We sink and we sink and we sink until loneliness is the only thing we know.

Loneliness, when we are surrounded by people who love us. And yet, we can’t even see it because we’re so consumed by everything we are not.

That is what happens. And yet, we keep coming back. Because this has become the new society. We can’t get out because this is the only place that anyone will talk to us. The only place where anyone talks at all.

When you think you are a Disney character, but then remember everything originated from the Brothers Grimm…

There is this heavily wooded trail I like to bike on. I turn on some Reggae, pop in my earphones, and ride until my legs start to cramp. It’s a way for me to think, and oftentimes, an escape from thinking at all. A peacefulness in this exceptionally loud and chaotic world.

For an hour or so, depending on how lazy I am that day, I am enveloped in this tiny, modern version of an enchanted forest. I feel like Snow White, minus the hunter trying to carve out my heart and store it in a wooden box. Cardinals and Blue Jays float on the same magical breeze that combs my hair, butterflies flutter next to me for entire stretches of road, bunnies hop along in that way they do, and the entire time I am half expecting woodland fairies to come out and weave me a flower crown.

By the end of it all, I’m covered in glitter–or maybe that’s sweat–and filled with so much fresh air and sunshine I’m deliriously happy. Or maybe just delirious because I usually forget to drink water, or bring water, or apply sunscreen.

It’s this one little thing, though, that is mine. And even though there was this moment today where I was trying to save this baby from this fire and in doing so I hit the front brake instead of the rear brake and I completely flew over the handlebars in a way that I haven’t since I was ten-years-old, it’s still this thing that makes me happy. The baby was fine, by the way, and real or imagined, does it really matter? Everyone was fine in the end.

Where I’ve been and what’s been consuming me.

Statistics and logistics…
Who’s in charge here?
Is this world run by men?
Or are we merely allowed to play pretend?

We’ve created rules and currency,
Unnatural means of dollars and cents.

We place worth on things that belong to no one.

And hatred is a cavern
Where we throw the ordinary man to ferment
Until ready to consume.

This is not our world to break.
This is not the way we found it.
And yet we consider over coffee and tea
Ways to break what isn’t ours.

We try to find a new earth
Not to connect,
Not to feel less alone,
But because we need a new place to destroy.

What more can we ruin?
What other species can we eliminate?
What else awaits us to claim as our own?

But it was never ours.
It was surely never ours.
Like everything else,
We took out the magic and made it something ugly.