Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Being the Verb...Becoming the Noun

No one lives in her head more than me.

I have an extraordinary gift for analyzing the shit out of nearly every mountain and mole hill I encounter...real or perceived.

I create hypothetical fantasties, proverbial pro and con check lists, wish lists, back-up plans, worst case name it...I've thought it through.

If you value intellect, discourse and lunatic-laden strategy, I'm your girl.

But if you want to get shit done, well...

Listening to one of my favorite podcasts while running errands, I heard the incomparable actress, Ellen Burstyn interview the equally incomparable activist, Gloria Steinem on "Death, Sex and Money."  Both women are in their 80's, staring down an impressive amount of life lived with both hope and regret.  With no intentions to stop working and living purposefully in the world, they purported a concept that I became fixated on...

Be the verb until you become the noun.

I began to tear up on my way into Trader Joe's.

This simple example of living has unconsciously permeated the way I DO everything in my life. 

I had no idea how to be a mother and so I just started mothering.  I got up when the baby cried and nursed her.  I made sure that they had help with their homework and cheered on the football field.  I listened to piano keys bang out notes that made sense and others that were getting there.  I showed up.  Day after day.  Year over year.  Until one day, I legitimately felt like it was fair to call me a mother.  Not a perfect one--not by a long shot--but a who mothers.

Five years ago, I wanted to inhabit my body again.  I bought a pair of running shoes.  Loaded some songs on an iPod.  Borrowed a Garmin and tried to make it around the block.  I ran nearly every day seeing the sun rise, my shins catch on fire, my hips hurt, my back ache, pounds shed and my confidence restored.  I just went through a dresser drawer and decided to donate several of my race shirts.  Looking at the overflowing bag, I felt like I could call myself a runner.  Not an elite athlete--but a who runs.

At the same time, I started running, I began publicly writing a blog..."Kelly's Hot Mess."  I felt like a fraud...but I was desperate to no longer be an isolated, stay-at-home mother and to have some accountability with putting pen to paper or keystroke to the web.  Over 600 posts later, I feel like a writer.  Not a Penguin press-worthy author--but a who writes.

And so it is, that in spite of myself, the best things I have accomplished have come when I just start doing them, especially, when I have no fucking idea WHAT I'm doing.  When I listen to that tiny part of my heart that says, "just try it for five minutes...if you hate it, you can always stop, what do you have to lose?"

In the doing or the being, I get out of my head and back to my heart and my hands and my legs and slowly, bit by bit, me as the verb, eventually, becomes me as the noun--one I can claim and identify with.

As I watch my 6th, 4th and Kindergartner growing up, taking on new challenges, with far less baggage than me, I realize that this process of doing until we become is the only way that true change ever manifests itself. 

No one is ever ready...EVER.  We must stop using that language.  We need to strip it out of our vocab.  The best teachers and lessons have almost never come when we are ready.  They greet us when we least expect it, primarily because we bothered to show up and welcome them into our worlds....mole hills and mountains alike.

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