*Warning: naughty language ahead.
Are you afraid of being too much? Me too.
I’ve decided the only way to navigate my fears about being too much is to become even more.
Let’s become even more honest, loving, larger than life—more real.
For years, I’ve worried about doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong thing, wearing the wrong thing, writing the wrong thing. This much micromanaging is too much. It’s exhausting.
I’ve actually come to love my too muchness.
Trying to artificially contain it makes me physically uncomfortable.
I get headaches, weird spasms, and anxiety. It sends me into downward spirals of depression and insecurity. I spin out, overthinking and analyzing, and it robs me of the precious vital energy that I need to fuel my passion, purpose, and creativity.
Like so many, I’ve tried to gain approval and win love and acceptance by performing or shrinking, and by making sure I don’t ever ask for too much, or show too much.
Don’t let them see how wild, sexy, or intelligent you are. Don’t be too loud or take up too much space. Don’t be hungry. Don’t have needs. Don’t burn with desire. Care, but not too much. Communicate, but not too much. You don’t want to seem like you’re too interested.
Well, fuck that! I’m interested.
Why would I want to be blasé about care? I care! It’s one of my most charming qualities. We need to care—about things, about life, about other people, about causes, about the environment, about our families, children, friends, lovers, partners, and playmates.
Care is what gives our lives meaning, and shapes our destinies. When we withhold care, we restrict the flow of life itself.
I’m baffled by this modern attitude that being uninterested is cool. If that’s the case, I don’t want to be cool.
I want to be the nerd who cares fervently, who risks, who laughs loudly, who cries and keeps going. I want to be the geeky girl, wearing glasses, typing away on her silver sticker-covered Mac while sitting in the corner at the tea house, sipping a rose tea latte.
I want to be the woman who’s texting her lover a sexy photo or a sweet message, knowing he may be too busy to respond right away, but that it’ll make his day. I want to be the daughter who is driving from Montana to Texas, in the middle of a pandemic, to pick up her mom, not out of obligation, but for love.
Yeah, that’s me. Too much of me is just enough, as one of my closest friends says. And I like me that way.
When we’re too afraid of losing our cool, we risk chilling the much needed warmth of our hearts.
We can nearly all agree that we want love, belonging, safety, and freedom. We want to be seen, held, heard, and understood. We want intimacy, empathy, and to feel alive with other humans. This hope has a high cost—our cool.
Cool is the antithesis of connection.
When I think about one of my favorite childhood movies, “The Goonies,” the characters knew they weren’t cool—they thrived in it.
They cared for each other. Sure, they were kids and fictional characters, but they respected each other’s differences, quirks, and talents. They knew that their group was better for each one’s individuality. And because of their care, commitment, and sense of community, they beat the encroaching soulless corporation—with courage and camaraderie, in the spirit of adventure. How deliciously human.
Individuality can be overemphasized in our society. It can become out of balance without an established sense of belonging. It can become an isolationist concept in which we become too self-important to compassionately interact with other humans. Yes, we need to know that we matter, but we need to hold that awareness with humility and dignity.
“Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.” ~ Serbian Proverb
Our respect for our own and others’ uniqueness is one of the ways that we can collectively agree that we all matter.
When we whitewash our history, our stories, and our emotions, we sink, unceremoniously, into a sea of grey.
Neutrality is not a state to be sought—internally or externally. We deserve the wild variety of life, manifest in all the glorious diversity of nature.
Homogenization of our humanity is the birthplace of all of our neuroses. According to Brené Brown, belonging is an irreducible human need. Not fitting in—belonging.
Belonging is an agreement that is made between individuals and in groups, that our quirks are welcome, our needs are valid, our feelings and our bodies matter, and our creativity is us living the dreams that must be expressed, birthed, and ushered into the world.
We need all of each other—not fragments, not parts looking for their other halves, cutting off limbs to fit into boxes. No. We need wild, wholehearted humans with whom we can live, love, and grow together.
We can’t keep compartmentalizing—breaking ourselves and others down, asking each other to sell off parts of ourselves, to sit on our souls—if we want to know the unshakable acceptance that we all so deeply yearn for.
And where do we start?
We begin as we are, right here in this moment. We breathe into this sacred vessel, letting a sigh escape our lips, our own holy surrender. Not an indication of defeat, but the herald of our desire to be born again—more alive, more real, more deeply saturated with feeling.
We must be willing to sacrifice the gods of conformity upon their altars of consumerism. We must be willing to let the false gods, fake masks, and heartless institutions burn, even as we are consumed by our commitment to beauty, and honesty, by our dedication to the real reality that dwells within our breasts and minds, and by the vision of a more beautiful world that we know is possible.
How do we create this world we yearn for? How do we find ourselves in the kind of love our souls know we are capable of?
We must give ourselves—and each other—permission. We must write those permission slips that let us slip free from the bonds of our familial and social conditioning. We need new agreements that make the care of our souls and the soul of the world our primary purpose.
We must discover the living temples that dwell within and all around us, the achingly vivid life that too many of us are trying to numb, nullify, and escape. We must embrace this ache, we must welcome our joy, our knowing, and yes, even our anger, fear, and pain.
Our new creed must be: there will be no heaven except the one that we actively—with these hands, hearts, and minds—create.