Monday, September 01, 2014

Never 'less than' anyone -- I am enough

I am finally ready to begin the lovely and introspective writing prompts for August Moon 14, thanks to Kat McNally and her ever-fertile mind and brave writings.I am late to this party since she began emailing the two weeks' worth of prompts Aug. 10. Fortunately, neither she nor I care when they get done: what is important is that I examine where I am.

But first, let me say what is foremost on my mind today, largely because of a dream early this morning and also an innocent question asked about my recent surgical procedure.

I am not 'less than' anyone. I have never been 'less than' anyone. I am fully, wonderfully, bravely flawed and wholly exactly who I am. And that is enough.

The dream was fairly interesting, involved various electronic and film equipment set up in tight quarters perched somehow on the balcony of what appeared to be either an old church or an old school, with trailing wires everywhere. There was a gathering of people who I know, not well, from various parts and times of my life sitting below at tables and chairs, and there had been some interaction with a few of them, not unpleasant but not remarkable either. Somehow one of them was moving a film screen on the balcony, and I grabbed at the end of the bottom roll, telling him I'd help and to be careful, and with that, he pitched completely off the balcony, much to my horror and dismay! I don't believe he was injured, but it was clear the rest of the group was judging me, whispering disapprovingly, as they moved to help the person who had fallen. I was, as I have been many times before in my life, left outside, and feeling very much 'less than,' shamed, worried, and awkward.

I woke abruptly from this, and the thought "I am not 'less than' anyone. I am fully who I am supposed to be. That is enough" was clear and completely formed in my always-fuzzy morning brain.

 This week a lovely friend asked what caused the atrial fibrillation for which I had, exactly a week ago, a radio-frequency catheter ablation. It was an innocent, well-meaning question that anyone unfamiliar with the disease might ask. But it, too, momentarily made me feel 'less than,' as if somehow I had brought on this condition through some action or behavioral folly. As if somehow, if I had taken better care of my body, always maintained a healthy diet and good exercise, lived a blameless, shameless life, done something -- anything -- smarter-better-faster-healthier -- that I would not now be recovering from this procedure, or from any other health issue for that matter.

Oh, I so understand the fallacy in that.

But the feeling of 'less than' is insidious and pervasive. It does not respect celebrity nor money nor career nor lifestyle. It grabs a toehold where it can and hangs on, waiting patiently if need be, to feed. In my case, I know it has been there most of my life.

And I believe that even those we imagine to be 'more than' we ourselves are -- healthier, wealthier, slimmer, prettier, more successful -- suffer from the 'less than' feelings at least sometimes.

The person who makes me feel 'less than' is me. Nobody else has access to my thoughts, to my emotions. That responsibility rests squarely and completely at my own soul's door. 

I am not at fault for anyone's actions but my own. I am not responsible for anyone's thoughts or feelings but my own. Nobody has the power to make me feel 'less than' except me.

And I am declaring that I am enough, just as I am. I am not 'less than' anyone, no matter whether I am fat, skinny, healthy, unhealthy, whether I do yoga every day or once a month, whether I eat kale or candy, whether I am part of the wine-drinking, stylish, party group or prefer to sit watching television in my comfy yoga pants with my husband. What I do with my life is MINE to decide.

My choices are my responsibility too. I get to choose my lifestyle, my health habits, my foods, my friends, what I do in my spare time. Nobody else gets a say in that either.

 I realize that sometimes the shit hits the fan, and we get atrial fibrillation, or cancer, or name-your-disease, or god-help-us-all Lou Gehrig's Disease. It is not our fault. We do not get this because we are 'less than.'

(Okay, I will concede that there are things we can do-- choices we can make -- that lessen our odds of some disease or condition developing, like quitting smoking, not doing drugs or alcohol, exercising regularly, etc. LESSEN, mind you, not prevent. And then again, they are choices we get to make for our own lives -- and having made the choice, it also is wholly ours to accept. We are not victims when we choose our course of action. )

So this is where I am today: I am enough, exactly who I am, flaws and all. How I live going forward is completely up to me.  I will not accept anyone else's judgment of me as 'less than' -- or, for that matter, 'more than.'  It is my own thoughts that are important here, my actions, my choices. I am all that I need to be, right here.

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