There once was a true story of a middle aged woman (when did that happen?) who often didn’t know who she was. She wanted to be able to give herself a title, a one or two word answer that she could put on a business card, to sum herself up to the world. More than that, she wanted to know so that she knew what to say to herself in the mirror.
She was someone who, at 12:25 am on a Thursday morning, had just finished two (big) bowls of Lucky Charms…and someone who 16 hours earlier, was out running four miles on the trail. She was someone who practiced mindfulness as best she knew how, and yet had just spent two (and a half) hours scrolling mindlessly through Facebook and Instagram, comparing herself to people she had never met. She was a psychiatrist, and she loved to write. She wanted to be beautiful and youthful, and she preferred naps and journals over blow drys and mani-pedis. She was an introvert most of the time, and she also wanted to be invited.
So many contradictions, and yet all true stories. She struggled with her contradictions. She wanted to know exactly how to fit herself into the size of a box on her Instagram or 140 characters. And yet she wanted to be so much more than that, in ways she could never understand or explain. She wanted to discover love in the most simple, ordinary moments, and she wanted to live a grand, magical life. Two more contradictions to be noted.
Maybe one of the best gifts she could give herself was to allow herself to be all of who she was–without having to choose, without having to defend, without having to explain. Perhaps one of these days, she would grant herself permission to live a story that was full and round and didn’t have to make sense to anyone including her. Perhaps one of these days, she would embrace all of the contradictions, the “both-and” nature of life itself, and laugh at the rules that previously made her hide deep within herself.
Perhaps giving herself permission would be all the permission her children and patients and readers needed to do the same, as they created their own true stories. Yes. For a moment, as she was typing at 12:47 am, things came together in a way that made sense. One thread that was not a contradiction at all–discovering her truth, owning her truth, telling the stories of her truth, and welcoming the wholeness of everyone else’s truth–that, right there, is love. Her love to offer and receive. Her love to embody.
Love. That sounded right, like it settled into a place within her, and allowed her to take a deep breath. For now, she could hold onto love…perhaps it was the only title she ever needed.