(Harder than it sounds. But way more fun than I thought.)
When I was a baby, I was brilliant. So much so, my parents used to say (out loud!), "We made all our mistakes with her brothers and her sister. So Tina came out perfect." I was mortified. But I was perfect.
I had to be.
Oh poor me, my parents loved me and told me so. Poor me, they encouraged me, they said I could do anything, they paid for a lot of it, they never put me down. What a burden to bear!
This is the sarcastic voice that's always loaded and cocked, ready to fire.
How dare you feel sorry for yourself! How dare you voice any hint of difficulty whatsoever! You have no idea what difficulty is. You're swimming in a sea of white privilege. Ease and comfort are the water you move through, the air you breathe. You have a passport past the velvet rope of anything, anywhere and you don't even know it. Don't you dare whine to me about what your parents did or didn't do.
My siblings really got the short end of the stick. I was idolized while they were discounted. I feel bad for anyone who wasn't born in a pot of cream like I was.
But, as it turns out, being perfect was a dangerous game of reverse charades. I was acting out the opposite of everything starving for nourishment and acknowledgment in me.
When I was a baby, I was brilliant. I was perfect.
I'm in my late sixties now, and I'm learning to be more real. To be slow and wrong and forgetful and imperfect and real. I'm learning how much I love that me. I've been so lonely all my life. But now that i'm sneaking out of hiding, there's a friend in my heart who sees me and understands. I can get lost, arrive late, lose the list, forget the salmon on the way home, say the wrong thing, get the appointment date mixed up...and it's all right. I'm still okay. I'm still just another human being getting up in the morning and doing the best I can.
And I get to wrap my arms around that one, my blemished, messy self, the one who fails daily. I get to laugh with her and tell her YAY FOR YOU 'cause you SHOWED UP. And we have coffee together, messy self and me, and do the crossword puzzle and dream up ways to be good anyway, in secret...drive by blessings we can bestow, cryptic kindnesses and the like. It's fun.
So my message to you today is, throw your arms around the you that's showing up today. Remember you can tolerate whatever you've done that came out uneven and with a limp. That's part of showing up for yourself. It's part of being human.
(Do you hear that rumbling? That's all your protestant ethics rolling around in their graves.)
When we develop kindness for all the versions of who we've been in the world, we will have the wherewithal to be kind to everyone. It just works that way. You don't have to do anything but practice.
May all beings be free of suffering, may they be happy, and may they live in equanimity.