Something dawned on me this morning. The way a hammer dawns on a nail. Ouch.
It was Ego.
Here's the story:
Ego, heretofore unrecognized as separate from her body-host, wanted to cry because of another pulled muscle.
Wahhh, why does this always happen to me? First it was my shoulder hollering with push ups, then my achilles screeching with jogs. Next, it was my calf-muscle refusing the stretches. And now this? My right-side obliques?
She wailed and wailed.
If I keep getting injured, when will I ever be able to run an easy 10k? Or do that pull-up? Or create visible muscles on my body?
With her face pulled into a sour fist, she begged the empty room: How do people do it? Why can’t I do it?
(Dramatic pause for a sudden integration of self and self-awareness...)
And then with the slamming pain of shame and embarrassment, the hammer fell on my head and awakened me: this is not about a personal quest. This is not about graceful aging. I have to tell the truth. This, it turns out, is about Ego.
A mixed-race woman born in the early 1970s, I grew up in the “exotic” box ----a curiosity, a puzzle, and - it must be said - a target. For thirty years, probably five of every seven days, someone asked, sometimes kindly, sometimes leeringly: “What are you?” I generally longed to say “I don’t know.” Instead, I usually said: “Mixed?”
My identity developed in a world that had no place for brown girls with "good" hair. This world that understood white and black, but possessed no consciousness of any other peoples, decided my racial ambiguity meant I was some sort of erotic jungle-bunny, and it exaggerated what was already amplified for girls at that time: the importance of physical appearance. And just like every woman my age, I could horrify you with a million Me-Too stories, starting with my 6th grade science teacher.
But then there were those feminism classes in college, and my appearance hang-ups shifted from beauty to strength. Afterall, there’s power in strength.
What was the thought I had? Power will make me equal? Power will make me safe?
Or was it any of that?
Maybe, actually, it was this: power will make me worthy. (Insert red-faced, stricken-eyed emoji)
Skipping ahead of the less and less relevant past...
My body is getting injured because I’m doing too much [working out], too doggedly.
I’m doing too much, too doggedly because Ego is driving me.
Ego is driving me because - until now - I didn’t have enough self-awareness to be honest about my thoughts. And it doesn't matter, sisters - it doesn't matter where the thoughts come from.
What matters is that where our ACTUAL power lies is in our ability to DECIDE WHAT TO THINK GOING FORWARD.
So here’s the lesson: DO LESS, sisters. YOU’RE ALREADY WORTHY. Put that thought into your bonnets so Ego can quiet, and you can get wherever you're going.
(More on cooking without a recipe next week! Who knows --there's probably Ego there too!)