I woke up yesterday morning sure as hell I was leaving. I was going to go to Marrakesh. I was going to pack my bags, kiss my kids and my husband goodbye and head overseas. Oh, I’d be back, maybe in a month or two but in the meantime I’d be off wandering open air markets, riding camels for fun, and eating all the humus my heart desired. That’s what one does in Marrakesh, right??
Frankly I knew nothing about this city. It’s in Morocco, right? But I did know- if I could throw a stone over the ocean, from the beach where I mediate each day, I’d hit this far off land.
And flying over the Atlantic to a distant world, where I wasn’t me, where my problems didn’t exist seemed like the best solution…because frankly I was sick of me….this me anyway.
“Traveling Me” wasn’t failing her family, her friends. “Traveling Me” didn’t have a house to keep clean, children and a husband to keep happy. She could make mistakes without causing a whole household to tumble. Traveling Me wasn’t needy, insecure, a victim of her own imaginary tragedies.
For months…years… I told everyone I was going to fix things… that’s right, everything I hated about myself. I was going to erase horrible Becky and bring in a better one….no…a perfect one!
I had a plan. I read books on how to be a better person, made motivational charts, wrote blog entries, gave myself mantras, prayed to the sun. Yet in the end I always failed.
The pain of imagining how horrible and unpleasant of a person I must be was getting unbearable…but somehow when I looked around, I saw that everyone still loved me, deeply. They didn’t care about my motivation charts, the mantras I chose. They loved me. Just me.
The only person who thought of me as a failure was me.
The day before my imaginary plans to Marrakesh began I was unloading cans onto the pantry shelf in our kitchen. …Actually I was shoving cans into the shelf because I had failed to clean it off, for weeks. It was overflowing . Yet another reason to loath myself. And so as I rested a can of chicken stock onto the stack, CRASH! The shelf collapsed causing a cascade of other collapsing shelves….and what did I do? I collapsed too. Right there in the kitchen. I cried and cried and cried. My eight year old twins came running into the room asking what was wrong.
What was I to say? I’m a horrible person? I’m sorry I failed you again?
I went upstairs to my room and sobbed until I reached exhaustion. I was so tired of failing.
Now here’s the thing about me, when it comes to emotional intelligence I’m not dumb. I understand my psyche quite well. I know I’m not a horrible person. I know people love me. I know this. I know I’m not depressed. It is just I keep playing forty year old “tapes” in my mind, tapes that say ‘You will never be good enough for the people you love.’
That’s one crappy burden to carry. In fact, it’s become a self-fulfilling prophesy. I get so sick of trying to attain imaginary heights that I say “fuck it! It’s not worth it anyway. ” Why bother?
And so yesterday in the face of my Marrakesh dreams I looked at my husband and said, “We need to leave.” He looked at me confused.
“I’m getting a hotel room in Daytona,” I said
So, we set the twins up with my 16-year-old son and we drove the 30 miles to Daytona Beach.
And during the drive, I poured it all out…all of it…about my struggles to be “good” and the “voices” who are telling me who I should be. I talked the poor man’s ear off, and he listened, saying little, as I shared my bare ugly truth.
But here’s the deal, at the end of my soliloquy I felt better. I realized maybe it all wasn’t so ugly. This needy, tired little girl was just a piece of me. She is the one who tells me love is conditional, that love can only be attained through song and dance, though saying and doing just the right things.
But the truth is, love is not based on the state of your pantry, the nutrition content of the food put on your table, or for me as an author –the number of books I sell. Love permeates it all.
In the end the act of trying is useless. The true secret is being, because love doesn’t care how many hoops you jump through, love just is.
May you, in your journeys know that you too are loved by just being beautiful you. There’s nothing to prove. Love is all there is.
And hey, who knows, maybe I’ll see you in Marrakesh!