More specifically, this battle:
To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
e e cummings
It means wearing Birkenstocks from the day you first slipped your feet in them at a family reunion at some water park in Salt Lake City when you were about 26 and realized your feet and your back didn’t hurt when you wore them.
With no regrets.
But admittedly with a tiny bit of smugness when some of your fashionable friends who mocked you most bought their own Birkenstocks a couple of years back when they came into fashion.
It means, unlike Hermione, mostly not caring about what the back of your hair looks like since you were about 14 years old. On some days maybe you don’t really care what the front of your hair looks like either–you just want it out of your eyes.
It means getting excited over simple things. Laughing at puns no one else appreciates. Being unabashed about your love of clouds and weather and rain and snow even when many of your friends want it to be endless summer. (You are consoled, somewhat, that some of your kids love the rain and the snow too sometimes.) Being the only one who doesn’t love the movie Elf or red velvet cake or Las Vegas. Or the only one who laughs at your jokes or cries at over TV shows. Or movies, even when you’re watching them on a crowded plane on a tiny screen on the back of someone else’s airplane seat.
It means not being afraid to own it (or working to own it even when you are afraid) when you make a mistake or sincerely say “I’m sorry” when you hurt someone, even though a sincere apology is a rare, rare gift these days.
It means trying really hard (even though you’re not perfect at it, or even always that good at it) to see other people fighting that same battle for who they really are, believing the best in people even when they disappoint or–even worse–hurt you. Looking past their shape, their clothes, the color of their skin, their hair, the way they speak, and trying to catch a wisp of their stories. Because the stories will tell you.
It means being square with yourself.
Digging deep, deep down when the world even–maybe especially–when the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally repeatedly tell you that you are not enough and deciding you belong, your weaknesses along with your strengths, to this place. And you are enough. Both because you are you. And in spite of being you. Mostly because you are God’s. You are in a state of becoming. And you trust God will make you whole.
It means working hard, even though you are flawed–and sometimes it hurts, and sometimes it’s hard–to let others be enough. Being patient while they become. While God makes them whole.
[Day 63 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]