My Enlightened Shadow-Side
So I was listening to a meditation this morning (no, don’t worry, I’m not going to get all enlightened on you. For one, I don’t know how. For two, well, just refer back to one) and it talked about opening up to our dark sides, the areas of our lives we’d rather not look at…our Shadow-Side. And in doing so, we would be modeling a way for others in bringing our darkness into the light. And I thought to myself, I do that all the time! Look at me, I’m an enlightened soul!
Okay, not so much. But it did get me thinking a little and wondering why exactly I feel so compelled to point out my flaws, my screw ups, my stupid assumptions all over facebook and now on this blog. And when it comes down to it, I write it because those are the funny bits. Those are the parts of my life that make me laugh (and this is all about me remember, so if it makes ME laugh, I’m putting it on here. Who cares about you! Okay, I’m kidding. I couldn’t even let that go without a disclaimer. Definitely an overactive need-to-please gland…). But getting back to things: my flaws, my screw ups, those are what makes me, well, me. They’re what make me quirky and funny and sometimes annoying and sometimes endearing, depending who you talk to.
And isn’t that true for all of us? Aren’t we all who we are because of our flaws, not despite them? Don’t we all have Shadow-Sides we’re trying to hide from the world, bring into the light only that which we want everyone to see? And isn’t it terribly exhausting? I look at someone who is trying to keep up a perfect persona and I think, “Wow! That must take so much work!” And we all do it on some level or another. For instance, I refuse to leave my house without makeup. Hell, I refuse to look in the mirror without make-up. To further that, it was noted the other day that I am “not a sweatpants kinda girl.” That does not mean I don’t dress comfortably and slobbily, just not in sweatpants (yesterday I spent my entire day in long underwear, let it be known that I am NOT one of THOSE girls).
And what is wrong with you if you are, “One of THOSE girls???” (It can be further noted, what’s wrong with being a slob as well, but that would lose this train of thought so I will not go further than that.) Who the hell am I even referring to? Girls who wear make up? That’s me…check. Girls who like to dress nice…that’s me too, check. Just my nice is jeans and a sweater while other’s nice might be ballgowns and pearls. But for the sake of this, I am talking about the girls that show the world only their plastic side, the store-mannequin side (And yes, guys, I mean you, too. I am all inclusive here.). When we try to be perfect, faultless and flawless, we end up rather fake. Because without darkness there is no light. Without ugly there is no pretty. And in aiming for perfection, in striving to show only our good, we end up isolating ourselves in hiding our bad.
That didn’t come out quite right. And that is what happens when I try to be enlightened.
What I’m trying to say is, if we hide our shadow-sides, it makes them that much darker. That much lonelier. That much more isolating. If we try to pretend we have never screwed up, then when we do, we are so much harder on ourselves, so busy beating ourselves up for showing the world the wrong face. And because everyone else is so quick to hide their flaws, we think we’re the only ones who do it. And so, to cover up our own imperfections, we choose to point our everyone else’s lest they discover ours.
So, I have made it my mission to stop hiding my flaws (within reason, of course. I am still going to brush my hair and do my makeup and try to coordinate my clothes. And try, at least try, not to swear. At least not around little kids.). But I don’t want to be someone I’m not. I am the kind of person who has yelled at their kids, and then regretted it. I am the kind of person who people like to make fun of because I am so good at making fun of myself. I am the kind of person who pees with the door open (which, my parents did and I swore I’d never do). I am the kind of person that swears I’ll never do something and then goes and does it. But aren’t we all? Don’t we all have varying degrees of faults that we are scared to show?
Hell, I have a great deal of major blemishes that I’m terrified to show. I might never, ever reveal all of them, not even in a bestselling biography that comes out once I’ve made it big. But I am willing to share some if that will make one person feel a little less alone. If that makes one person who is looking in the mirror right now, hating themselves, know we’ve all been there. And yes, you might be thinking, but the flaws I’ve mentioned are silly little things like saying the wrong thing and running into walls (yes, I do that) and backing into things with my car (3 times within the first week). But there is more, so much more. I have struggled with bulimia. I have fought self-loathing and depression. I have been a terrible wife, sister, daughter, and mother. I stole a pack of gum when I was six (okay, probably more too, but I can’t quite remember, I probably blocked it out it was so traumatic). I have been selfish and petty and mean and said things I regretted, done things I’ve regretted. Damn, my list could go on and on and on.
But that’s the crux of it. We all have lists that could probably give the bible a run for its money (you want to talk flaws, well, don’t get me started on the bible!). And that is okay, because that makes us all who we are, doesn’t it? And I gotta say, it’s pretty freeing to go ahead and start listing them off. Because the only way I know to bring my dark shit (I can swear as little kids can’t read or would have gotten bored with this after the first line) into the light, is to do just that: bring it out and into the open. So, for those of you who follow me (which I think is about 9 now? Whoop whoop!) and those of you who don’t, post a few of your own flaws and imperfections. Or don’t. But know we’re all in this together so we might as well let it all hang out! (within reason, of course.)