Here are some quick facts about me:
I’m 56 years old.
I’m a mom, a grandma and a writer.
I work in a big fab shop that heats and forms stainless steel. It’s loud, dirty, dangerous, back-breaking work in twelve-hour shifts.
I live in a cramped little apartment and my car is a bit of a clunker.
I’m telling you this stuff because I want to set the scene. For several days, I’ve been getting harassed and beaten up.
The bully is my ego.
The taunting sounds like this:
- You are too old to be in that job.
- You are not physically strong enough. It’s not safe.
- There’s a reason why you are the only woman mill assistant in production.
- What were you thinking? You are in way over your head. You don’t even know the names of half the tools.
- If you were a real writer, you’d have a real writing career.
- Who are you to give people advice? You don’t look very successful.
- You have struggled your whole life. That is your life. Don’t expect anything else.
To the negative voice in my head,
Here is my rebuttal:
- I will never be too old to do what I want. Sure, my job is difficult, but I am strong and healthy. Hard work doesn’t scare me.
- I am proud to be a woman working in a job traditionally held by men. I am awesome. My manager says I’m a badass.
- Yes, it’s true that I am often outside my comfort zone, but isn’t that where the real growth happens? I am constantly learning something new.
- I am a real writer. I was born a writer. I was writing poetry when I was eight years old. I have never stopped. If I never make another dime from writing, it won’t change who I am.
- Everything that I’ve been through (including whatever struggles today holds), is a part of my purpose. I carry around a ton of Love and compassion for everyone I meet. Someone out there needs to hear what I have to say, and they don’t care that I don’t live in a mansion.
Maybe I’ll get a book deal. Maybe I won’t.
Maybe I’ll spend a few more years bringing a bit of light into dark, hard places.
Maybe I’ll still be telling my story when I’m 100. Maybe I’ll drop dead tomorrow.
When I was teaching high school English, I never would have imagined I’d be where I am today.
Maybe you are somewhere that you never imagined.
If life has thrown you a curve ball, you are learning to swing a different way. When you stumble, you are learning to step higher.
Sure you have scars from your struggles, but they are badges of honor to prove your toughness. Didn’t those things make you the person you are today? Don’t the conflicts make the story more interesting?
It hasn’t been all bad. Your soul also carries around a whole garden of beautiful memories, and there are probably many more to come.
This life is an amazing journey, an unpredictable mix of the comfortable, the scary, the joyful, and the desperate, and none of us know how it’s going to unfold. What a great story we would have to share if we could learn to embrace the mystery.
The problem is, we get stuck in what we think we should be doing or how others will judge us. “Do what’s appropriate.” “Act your age.” “Be more feminine.” “Be more masculine.” “You should be retired.” “You should be successful by now.”
Can we please just throw all that out and be free?!
How much easier would life feel if you woke up every day with a sense of wonder and adventure? Your life is an epic tale and you get to be the hero.
Anything can happen. The Universe loves to surprise us.
What crazy or sad or confusing or wonderful thing might happen today?
Here we go. It’s gonna be a wild ride.
May you be well.
May you be happy.
I Love you all!