As I’ve mentioned before, I am reading the book Life is a Verb by Patti Digh with my Advanced Composition class. Today our story was called “Don’t Stop to Wave, You’ll drown.” You can find a version of the story here on Patti’s blog.
The story opened with this quote:
“Why are women so immobile? Because so many feel like they’re waiting for someone to say, ‘You’re good, you’re pretty, I give you permission.” –Eve Ensler
Why didn’t I hear that 20 years ago?
Another great quote from the story:
“Just imagine what we could accomplish if we harnessed all the energy we spend hating and changing our bodies in order to be ‘beautiful’ or ‘good enough.” –Eve Ensler
Also from Eve, “Women have to overcome their fear of not being liked. It’s a choice we have to make between being good–quiet enough, tin enough, pretty enough, pleasant enough, good enough–and being great.”
After Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues, became famous she spoke of being drawn toward a fast-moving and powerful river, being part of that river, and of creating in and of the river.
“The only time I got into trouble in the river,” she said slowly, “was when I wanted people to look at me in the boat in the river, when I wanted to stop and wave and make sure people saw me in the boat.”
Patti said, “At those moments when we try to wave and be seen and praised, we are actually drowning.”
Patti advises, “Get in to the river. Fully embrace it and flow with it because it knows what you should be doing with your life. Move with it without trying to stop the boat so people can admire you and like you, so they can say ‘You’re good, you’re smart, you’re pretty. I give you permission.’ Keep moving, keep seeing, keep knowing, and keep saying what you know to be your truth, without needing or looking for the admiration of others. You are good. You are beautiful. You are smart. Give yourself permission. ”
The journal topic for this piece mentions the “imposter syndrome,” something I know many women suffer from.
Emil M. Cioran said: “It is because we are all imposters that we endure each other.”
-There are times in all our lives when we feel like an imposter, like someone who will be “found out.” Write for five minutes in response to this question: When do you feel like an imposter? What do you fear people will find out about you?
-Stop. Read what you have written.
-Circle a word or phrase that stands out as a hot spot and write for five minutes on that topic.
After re-reading my first journal response , I circled the word “good” as my hot spot and wrote the following:
The word “good” stands out in a lot of my writing…especially the phrase “good enough.”
What is “good” anyway? Who gets to define “good”?
Look inside “good” and you will find…
“okay, sufficient, mediocre”
Don’t I want to be great?
In this story the author says the difference between being good and great lies in overcoming our fear of not being liked.
We can be good–quiet enough, thin enough, pretty enough, pleasant enough–enough.
Or we can be great.
I choose great.
Here are some more quotes Patti sprinkled throughout her story:
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” –Dr. Seuss
“Do not carry the burden of the past; do not live in the future. The only important thing is that one lives in the present authentically and fully. Whatever your current life is, be the most you ca be by living in the moment.”–Chin Chih
My final thoughts:
It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow for my big, outdoor, BBQ style, birthday party. My hubby is stressing out majorly. I love nothing more than SUNSHINE….when I envisioned this big birthday party I told him all I wanted was to sit outside in the sun, eat good food, drink some wine, and listen to good music.Well, it looks like the sun isn’t going to happen. But, instead of letting it ruin my day, I’m going to try really hard to live in the present moment authentically and fully. I am going to love my imperfect appearance and home. And I am going to dance in the rain.