I sit underneath a straggly little tree in the park, mostly shaded from the afternoon sun.
Slivers and shards of light seep onto my skin—a golden kaleidoscope of shadow and sun.
Children run and play, some at recess, some doing a martial arts dance class, yeah, I can’t quite figure out what the hell it is.
But, whatever it is, it’s unthinkably adorable. The kids prance around, so unencumbered by life. Not holding back at all.
They try each movement courageously, without fear, jumping and kicking, not worrying if they look foolish.
In fact, they cherish being silly and looking silly.
They understand that life doesn’t always have to be so serious—so intense, so busy, so important.
They understand, that sometimes, life just is. And in that, there’s joy. Pristine, juicy joy.
I don’t often remember that or understand that—at all.
As the breeze blows, I smile like a cheshire chat, delighting in the sounds of their unedited laughter and unapologetically loud voices.
One boy, called Oliver, keeps getting yelled at by the dance teacher.
Oliver does not care.
He won’t be quiet.
He won’t stand still.
He won’t follow the rules, like the other children.
He is stubbornly doing his thing, wholly unimpinged by what he “should” be doing.
He has a mischievous glint in his eye and a fantastic smirk on his face.
I like Oliver.
I like him a lot.
His laughter travels through the faint music in my headphones, uproarious, unable to be contained, crescendoing to deafening degrees, much to the tired-looking teacher’s dismay.
I am so struck by this.
Don’t we all have an inner Oliver?
A troublemaker. A rebel who is f*cking tired of being told what to do. And who to be. And what to say.
A part of us that is exquisitely free, without apology.
A part of us that dares to laugh loudly, even when we are being told to shut the f*ck up.
A part of us that isn’t remotely afraid to look like a complete idiot. Or speak the truth.
What if we let our glorious inner troublemaker out, and let him/her run around in the playground of life for a few minutes?
What would happen?
Would it shake up our worlds, violently and deliciously?
I let out my inner Oliver this week.
I lost my sh*t. I yelled at my neighbors, who have been doing construction for the last six weeks. I mean, I lost it. I dropped my sweet smile and I completely flipped out. I “should” have been nice, sure, but I couldn’t take it for a second more. The sounds of hammers above my head in the morning and booming music in the afternoon became too much, and I was sick of plastering on a smile and putting up with it so politely.
And you know what?
It felt amazing to speak my mind and not worry so much about being nice, because I was finally being honest.
It felt amazing to own the powerful pulsations of my anger.
I made waves—I made trouble.
And yes, I pissed off my neighbors. They now avoid me in the driveway, looking at me with strange pity in their eyes, like they think I’m a little bit crazy.
But you know what?
It’s okay! It’s okay to not be liked and loved by everyone. It’s okay to get angry and speak our minds. It’s okay to not be nice every single second of the day. It’s okay to piss people off.
I mean good lord, we take things so seriously. We fall in line, like robots, afraid to offend anyone.
We don’t walk on eggshells—we live on them.
Living like that does not serve our souls.
Our souls are not here to be liked.
This is so hard for me to learn; isn’t people-pleasing a life purpose?
It’s not. It’s really not.
Our souls are here on a messy adventure, a wild safari, a chaotic and at-times painful learning journey.
Let’s make some trouble. Piss of a few people off. Be honest.
Let’s not always be so eager to be “good.”
Being “good” is often terrible, draining, soul-sucking, exhausting.
Subscribing to the status quote is shit. I’m sorry, but it’s shit.
Let’s demand something more authentic from ourselves, from others, from this crazy beautiful world.
Making trouble can be meaningful; mindful; healing; delicious.
Let’s quit nodding our heads in polite agreement, like numb, spaced-out zombies.
We can have a more substantial experience.
We can have a profound interaction with our raw, unedited realness.
We can be honest.
And true to who we are.
Let’s challenge ourselves and others.
Life doesn’t reward our fake smiles and faux-kindness and the blatant suppression of our feelings.
It rewards what’s real.
Author Sarah Harvey
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock