A few years ago I took one of those alphabet personality tests, a real one read and interpreted by a real person, not one of those FB fun tests that tell you what color you are. It showed what I knew (but was finally put into writing). I am an extreme introvert. Not only am I an introvert, the expert told me I was the MOST introverted non-agorophobic person he had ever recorded.
Somewhere over the past 20 years, while I was getting bigger and bigger in my body, I was getting smaller and smaller in my soul. I was literally disappearing behind a wall of fat and fear. I went from being a person who went out every night with friends and rappelled down cliffs and lived my life onstage to being a person who only truly existed online, through my blog. On my blog I was fierce and loud and fearless when it came to sharing my life, but in reality, I was the director of a theater company who couldn't go out after a show to meet the crowd. Fear stole in to every aspect of my life.
Last August my daughter tried on my wedding dress. My daughter at the time was 5 foot 5 and weighed 122 pounds. When I got married I weighed 133 pounds and was 5 foot 5. Long story short, the dress almost fit her. Right in front of me was a very close example of the size of woman my husband married. I cried. Hard.
But after I was done crying I picked my ass up and went to the gym. I started a diet plan and I stopped shrinking. I was still introvert to the nth degree, but I dug in my cleats and refused to allow myself to disappear. Somehow, some way, in the past few months I have opened my eyes and realized just how afraid I had become of living.
Several weeks ago I decided I wanted to start letting go of my uber-controlling personality and break some rules. I was going to start small. I was going to ride my grocery cart from the store to my car. I see adults do it all the time and nothing bad happens. I love the look people get on their face. I can see their inner "whee" monologue as the cart goes flying along. I wanted to experience a "whee" moment.
Friday I bought a cart full of groceries, packed with milk and orange juice and other heavy things. This was it. If ever I had a heavy enough cart to ride on, this was the cart. I checked for traffic, stepped up onto that low shelf and pushed off....for all of 3 seconds. But in those three seconds I imagined all sorts of disaster. My foot would get stuck and I wouldn't be able to get off or stop and I would run into a car. OR, more realistically, my weight would tip me backwards and I would crack my head open on the pavement. I immediately put my feet down and pushed the cart like a grown-up. No whee was to be had. I just couldn't do it. I didn't know how.
I love the show Californication. I don't love it because of the sex or trendiness of it. I love it because David Duchovny's character is balls to the walls and no excuses. Every time he says "Mother Fucker" I think to myself, I want to say that. I want to control my fear enough that I am not afraid to say that to the world. I want to have one moment where I don't censor myself or hide. But I can't. My brain won't let me. I am a mom, a pastor's wife and a teacher. All I think is that I could lose my job or get my husband in trouble or, God forbid, disappoint my daughter. I have convinced myself there really is no safe space for me to say that, at least, so I have taught myself.
So when I talked to Hubby about this, he agreed to teach me how to ride the cart, because he does it all the time. He is a huge rule bender and fairly fearless when it comes to breaking rules. Somehow punishment and shame have never been deterrents for him. As silly as he thinks it is that I don't know how to ride the cart, he knows that it is important to my healing, to my letting go of the protective padding I surrounded myself with.
And you better believe,
when I am riding that cart,
I am going to be nodding my head
and saying....OUT LOUD,
"Yea right, Mother Fucker."