I don’t want my daughter to be normal.
I know that sounds crazy, but let me explain:
I’ve always wanted to be liked; loved even. To be celebrated. To be respected and admired. In fact, I’ve spent the better part of my life striving for these very things and always feeling as though I was never enough. Never quite worthy of love. Never validated or respected. Or sometimes, I felt like I was too much. I was told that I had to dumb down my gifts to make other people feel comfortable. But as I’m now “knockin’ on 40” I realize that I had it all wrong. And “they” had it wrong too. Everything I was looking for, all the love and respect and validation, all the deep down in the soul connection I’d been yearning for from people was with me all along–given by the One who created me.
And I, with all my quirks, was meant to be seen, felt, and loved.
So here’s my new reality…and oh what a freeing one it is: God is present. He is here. He loves me deeply. He validates me regularly through blessings large and small and yes, even through His discipline.
Though the truth is, He’s ALWAYS been here. Even as my soul wandered. Even as I looked outside of Him to find Him.
My truth: On many days my mind is noisy with my own ambitions, my own interpretations of the scenarios life presents to me. I spend days talking to myself…not as one who lives in an asylum but as one who asylums her own heart. To manage the impressions people have of me, I lock away my vulnerability. I straight-jacket my uniqueness.
And it’s THAT ridiculousness I want to keep from my child.
WHY DO THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY OF US DESPERATELY CHASE THIS MYTH CALLED “NORMAL”?
I’ve always sought normal as if such a thing really existed. “Normal” is a cultural creation made and sustained by those of us who have decided it is better to homogenize personality rather than to allow authenticity to take root; rather than let our quirks fly free. For real? Blooming truths and flying eccentricities are the companions of creativity.
Yet everyday, we isolate ourselves and our children. We think we are managing innovation this way but what we are really doing is fencing in freedom.
“And make sure you stay inside,” we tell them/us.
Oh if only our infant hearts would ignore these false messages and follow its own beat!
Don’t you ever just want to cartwheel down a city sidewalk on a Monday during rush hour? Sing the chorus of “The Greatest Love of All” every time someone smiles at you. Just because you can. Just because it feels right and good to do so.
Okay, well maybe extraordinary, authentic, free living looks like this to you: crying out loudly, wildly, at the top of your lungs, at the exact moment when your heart is pierced by anguish or pain. No matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, just opening your mouth wide and releasing all your frustrations into the sky; into the hands of the Father. Not into your pillow. Not via puffs of air through clenched teeth. Not through silent tears making their way down aching cheeks. No more masks, no more hiding.
Yesss, that’s it! Let’s all come out from hiding!
Let’s grab our baby girls and baby boys and be our flawed but beautiful selves!
This revelation, if you can call it that, recently came to me rather suddenly. Like the ringing of a school bell, I was signaled that it’s time for a change. Time to change classes in this here life of mine. It was time to be promoted to the next grade of experiences. Time for new lessons and new teachers. Time to be free.
It dawned on me that it’s not that I’ve always tried to be more than I am. It wasn’t that I wasn’t enough or that I was too much. It was that I am more than I’ve ever tried to be.
There’s more inside. More to see and feel. More to share.
Here’s the catch though: I gotta bulldoze these walls.
For a little while now, in an effort to be more vulnerable, I’ve been tearing down the walls of my emotional life brick by brick, very careful and sweet-like. As if I’m going to need those bricks again. My cautiousness was really a defense mechanism. A means to control even my healing. A way to say, “yes, I’ll tear down my walls and let you and you and, yes, even you God in…but just know that if you hurt me, those bricks are right over there.”
How risky would it be to demolish the walls for good? To let the bricks themselves crumble into tiny pieces of dust. Unusable ever again.
To leave my heart completely open to messy people who, just like me, are prone to sin and deceit. Ohhh, man. The potential, the possibility of pain doesn’t feel good. It’s a risk, for sure. But maybe it’s less of a risk and more of a challenge. A challenge of grace.
Maybe by leaving “normal” behind and allowing my heart, my life to be completely open, I also give myself access to God’s amazing mercy. I get to fill up on His grace.
And teach baby girl how to do the same.
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This post is the latest in Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Faith & Motherhood” series.
Tracey Michae'l is a writer and educator based out of the Philadelphia area. She is a wife to William and a mother to a beautiful two-year old little girl. You can find her on the web at www.traceymlewis.com.
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