I don’t use beautiful stickers. I’m so afraid to mess something up or wish I’d used them in a different way, that instead, I don’t use them. I keep them out of sight, usually inside a book or in the bottom of a bag, where they get wrinkled, destroyed, and bent beyond use. I choose to delay beauty for perfection, which ultimately destroys it.
When I was a little girl, my parents took my little sister and me to Disneyworld for the first time. I was in second grade, so about eight years old. I was allowed to get one souvenir from our trip. It was absolute anguish to decide what to get that would be the perfect representation of the trip. I went into every store on Main Street and touched everything, gazed wide-eyed at the colorful shelves of candies and watches and jewelry and personalized hats. I wanted something beautiful and practical (something I prefer to this day).
I found it.
A little clear box of multi-hued gummy candies, dusted in sparkling sugar, each one shaped like little Mickey ears. They were so beautiful. The clear box had Epcot etched into the case so you could see the gummies inside. I loved it so much. I proudly made my purchase and clutched the little box the whole way home. When we got home, I ran to my bedroom and placed the little box on my desk shelf, just at eye level, so I could see it every day.
I never ate one. I never even opened the box. The were too beautiful to eat. I wanted to. Desperately. But I didn't want them to be gone either. Eventually, they started to grow mold. Just at the bottom of the celophane wrapper, a tendril of green started growing. The gummies were lost. I had to throw them away. I had neither the memory of savoring them nor the ability to look at them. I don't even know what they would've tasted like.
We do this to ourselves. We hide ourselves away until just the right moment, when we’re just right – not too big or too small. We don’t want to use ourselves up. We don't want to say the thing until we have it just so. We don't want to share our work because it isn't totally complete. It’s a lie. We can’t be used up or place ourselves all wrong. We were made for this exact time, just as we are. You’re ready. I’m ready.
That part of us that says, "No, not yet" is a protective part trying its best to keep us safe. And it does. But here's the catch. The safer we are and the more protected we become, the less we are free and vulnerable to live and experience our lives. I would absolutely love to tell you that the outcome of vulnerability and risk are always good. That there's a payoff. But that's just it. There's no guarantee. We can show up and be brave and absolutely, mercilessly fall and get crushed and embarrass ourselves or have our hearts broken. The risk is not the price for the reward - only the prerequisite. The reward is our truest, most clear selves. That's what we get. The cost is great. Some folks prefer the facade. Lots of folks. But they don't live our lives for us and don't get to advise us without our permission. Go ahead and lacquer over your own life, advice-givers! The finish is perfectly shiny and completely untouchable. I've been there. There's no air under all that beautiful finish. It's suffocating.
I'm using this sticker today. On a Tuesday that's beautiful because I got to live it.
I'm going to eat the gummies. And stick the stickers. And wear the dress. And post the blog. Right here. right now. This is what we have and it's enough. This is who we are and it's enough.