Earlier today I saw a post on social media about the discomfort in buying and wearing swimwear. As I quickly read it, I was suddenly taken aback by a female voice in my ear “Tell ya, wish I could still look awful in a bikini”
It stopped me for a moment as I heard the melancholy in the soft voice.
I let her continue.
“You’ll wish you had when you get here. Had done what you wanted to do instead of worried about what people might think. You’ll wish you had done it anyway”
Her name is Jane. I don’t know who she belongs to or why she chose to intrude on my morning scrolling. But I do know that she wanted to share some points on living while we are alive. So here is her list word for word. Nothing is changed.
“You’re so scared of what people might think of you. You avoid so many adventures because you’ve been taught that you might be judged. You are afraid to sit in the middle of a restaurant because you feel guilty for eating; all because of a few pounds? All because someone, somewhere in your life told you that you that you had to be perfect. And perfect people don’t eat cheeseburgers. We can’t eat cheeseburgers here, damn, we can’t eat a thing here. We have no need for that kind of nourishment. But, listen to me. My human memory would love nothing more than to dog down a chocolate shake and salty fries. You are missing out on the incredible experience of sating your soul by ordering salad and water just to fit in. Eat. Be mindful and moderate but stop punishing yourself by not enjoying what will fulfill you.
How many times have you missed out on the adventure of a beautiful summer day? Arriving in the sand to find forty under 30’s out there in bikinis you decide that you don’t look good enough so you sit sweating like a defrosted turkey on the beach? Seriously, I am not kidding around here. You miss out on some of life’s best memories because you have a few rolls? Stop that ridiculousness right now. Get out of your own way, find a suit that covers your dimples that you hate so much, and share them with the world. No one is looking anyway. You are all too busy worrying about how you look to everyone else to care. While no one is busy looking at you, you are busy avoiding life. Get it together. You need the sunshine.
How many times I found myself wanting to join in on the music. I would walk through the streets and hear songs on every corner. All I wanted to do was to dance but I was afraid that someone might see me and find me odd. How I missed a chance to just feel free for a few minutes. Don’t do this. Dance. Tap your foot, shake your bottom, tap your fingers..but do something. You’re standing there as stiff as a board fence and you KNOW you wanna dance. Why aren’t you dancing? Take advantage of the fact that you are strong and healthy and you CAN dance.
Speak to each other. You came to the world smart. You know who is good to speak to and who you should avoid. When you feel pulled to reach to someone DO IT. Your own soul self knows what they need and what you can do to fill that need. Stop believing that you are not allowed to engage strangers. That stranger might be the one person that you need to change the course of your life. You don’t know. Stop assuming. When you feel called to respond, respond. Change your day and change theirs. It’s your job. It is your job to respond to what your soul requests. Your soul knows. Your brain gets in the way and messes up some amazing encounters.
Sing. I don’t care if you can’t sing. Not too many humans can so you are in good company. I don’t know how many times I stood in church and watched the parishioners whisper and glance about the room in shame. That’s not singing! That’s not raising the roof and creating a choir. That’s pushing away your integral right to use your voice for something amazing. I always sang. Loud. Poorly. But my face shone and my spirit grew. I felt motivated and alive. All from opening my mouth and letting my voice come through. It’s been some decades since I last did so. And no one remembers. That’s what you all forget. No one remembers you couldn’t sing. But everyone remembers that you did. Think about that.
No one remembers what you did poorly. Everyone remembers what you tried to do that made you shine.
Your memories, when you arrive to this place should be full. Your memories should include the worst fishing hats and the smallest catch. They should include the full dozen attempts to swim and sank each time. They should include your shorts and the hairy legs you forgot to shave. They should include your smudged lipstick, your less than perfect makeup and your less than perfect hair. They should include every time you tried to live your passion no matter how small the try was. You didn’t fail. You passed because you tried.
You let yourselves down. Every day and every moment. By glancing around the room fearful of judgement. By not trying to try in case you fall. By not singing because someone might be listening. By not smiling because someone may not smile back. By not being all that you can be on this journey because someone else can be that better. By not giving into your desire to laugh, to dance, to cry. You let yourselves down. By not seeking to learn, not seeking to teach, not seeking to speak. You let yourselves down.
I wanted to sit on Santa’s knee in my adult years. I wanted to challenge the thought process that only children were permitted that wistfulness. I stood year after year at the end of the line pretending to be someone’s parent. My legs wanted to walk right on over there and perch grinning wildly as the photographer snapped the photo. I never did that. I waited and waited for another mature adult to go first. They never did. I often wonder how many other adults waited behind me to see if I might go first.
I died at 65. I stood in line at 64. And said next year.
I am asking you to live. Without fear of living. To be silly, unpredictable and wise. To dance like everyone is watching you. To sing like everyone is listening. To find the worst bathing suit possible and saunter onto the beaches like you belong there.
Because you do. You belong here.
A favor for an old woman who grew old before she learned to live young?
At Christmas this year, find a Santa. Get in line and sit upon his knee. And take a picture for me. Grin wildly. And share it with everyone that you love.
That’s how to live.
We don’t ask for much on this side of life. We are afforded every beauty that we avoided in our human lifetime. We are loved deeply. We love each other deeply.
But we don’t have cheeseburgers. And we don’t have Santa lines.
That’s your job now.
Make us smile over here by living voraciously over there. Say hello to Santa. Tell him Jane sent ya”
In love in light…dance…sing…eat…live…