Chapter Six, Spearheaded by Wendy Goldstein
Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! I wish you a safe, healthy, and joyous New Year. As we launch into 2016, I want to thank you again for being a part of this journey. We're already half way through.
Before we begin, I want to reiterate some information I put on Facebook about making comments because it’s important to me that everyone understand diverse points of view are welcome here. This is what I wrote:
You do NOT have to be a huge Brené Brown fan to post comments about the book or what we're talking about! It helps, of course, because most of us are big fans of her work. After all, that's why I wanted to start this project. HOWEVER, ALL OPINIONS ARE WELCOME. If her work isn't hitting the bulls-eye in your heart, I'd love to hear about it. Also, comments do not need to be long nor do you need to comment on every comment as I have been doing. (That's a lot of "comments.") Anyway--the point is, It's up to you what and how much you'd like to say and I, for one, want to hear it!!
Catch up on the previous chapters here:
I’d like to again thank each chapter's spearheader, but particularly this week’s “header,” Wendy. Wendy was hesitant to participate, but I encouraged her to do so if she could do so in a manner that made sense to her. She thought about it for a while, so long in fact that I assumed she wanted to pass and asked Maria to take over. Maria kindly agreed. But then I opened my email the other day and surprise! Wendy took the plunge. I happily offered to post both Maria's and Wendy's posts this week, but Maria graciously bowed out. Below is what Wendy wrote. I know you’ll all give her love and support as she has, by facing her fear and embracing her vulnerability, embodied the essence of badassery. Here we go. Thank you Wendy!
Chapter 6 – Sewer Rats and Scofflaws; Rumbling with boundaries, integrity and generosity.
Although I haven’t commented – I have followed along with the book, and have read the comments on each chapter. I think part of the reason I have been so hesitant to participate with all of you became clearer as I read Chapter 6.
Tracey asked me to identify one concrete part of the chapter that lead me to my thoughts – so here goes (follow this if you can)….With every word I read I tried so hard to ‘apply’ it to myself in an effort to fit in with the cool kids. My book is dog-eared, underlined, and asterisked galore. But I couldn’t find that one thing that resonated with me. Until I read the section where Brené was describing her experience of having to share a room with her polar opposite. It made me think of an episode of Friends when Monica’s identity was stolen. Monica met the sewer rat/scofflaw and before she could bust her for stealing and using her credit card and name, she was intrigued by fake Monica’s zest for life and sense of pure adventure. (You see this is where we may differ…I have seen EVERY episode of Friends about 11 times). Where the parallel of that scene from the t.v. show and Brené’s experience lies is that both the written and the real experiences led them to a reckoning. For the fictional Monica – it was a lesson in living life to its fullest, putting yourself out there, and taking risks. For the real Brené – it was the beginning of her SFD and some key learning about blaming others less, taking responsibility for your own well-being, and making choices.
The Reckoning: The feelings of inadequacy I am having for not having a “story” like the rest of you. You are an intimidating bunch! Sure, I have my share of trials and tribulations being the mom of a 16 and an 11 year whose husband works long and hard in a career that he loves. I have seen tragedy and joy in my 51 and 11/12ths years and 20 years of marriage. I have recently re-joined the work (for a paycheck kind of work) force after a 14 year hiatus. I worry about money almost all the time – 2017 is looming closer and that year I’ll have a Bat Mitzvah, a high school graduation, my mortgage needs refinancing, 1st year of college and the list goes on and on.
But I don’t have a ‘why’ when it comes to this book club - I am not writing a memoir, don’ t have a loved one with mental illness, and I am not trying to find myself or discover the real me. Frankly – I am just not that deep. The fact that I read this book and what comes to mind? A scene from a '90s sitcom? And that, my friends, is the rub. I am reckoning with (read: grappling with ) the fact that I have been impersonating a deep, mindful person for all these years.
The Rumbling: I rumble with feelings all the time. I rumble with feelings of inadequacy constantly. Not good enough wife, friend, mother, human. I am ‘not doing the best I can’. I turn to snarkiness and cynicism to mask those feelings. “Oh look at her – she’s so ‘smart’ and witty. She’s got it together!” When in actuality, I cower at the thought having to be social and smart and ‘on’ all the time. There are very few people with whom I am truly comfortable. And I am not one of them.
I guess I am just such a pessimist – a glass is more than half empty kind of pessimist. I have learned not to set expectations too high, because the let down is only that much greater. And I resent others for having the ability to live loftier, more soulful – dare I say mindful lives.
What’s worse is that I am poisoning my children into having the same shitty feelings and destiny.
I am a scofflaw with proviso.* The proviso is that while I know the rules, and follow them most of the time – I don’t mock people who follow them all the time, I judge them. Worse – I pity them. I’d rather be made fun of than pitied.
This is where I found my story – as I just wrote my Shitty First Draft. I am reading Rising Strong to save my girls from myself.
Up Next: Chapter 7, spearheaded by Martha Sullivan