It’s OK to Just Be Real

“You’re a healthy reminder that it is okay to just be real. Thank you.”

This sweet, sweet compliment came across my inbox on a day when my spirit didn’t feel fully bright. I woke up at 3 a.m. to take a dear friend to the airport shuttle, and while I got a few more hours of hard sleep before my alarm finally woke me again, I’ve been a bit in the clouds.

What does it mean to be real? For me, it means to not beat myself up. I talk, write and think about fully letting go all the time. But truthfully, it’s one of my biggest challenges and struggles. I’m really hard on myself and set sometimes ridiculous expectations to succeed at work, in relationships, in my neighborhood and the various communities I’m part of, and I don’t easily let go. I’m learning to stop saying “I’m sorry” or make apologies for who I am, whether it pertains to the way I love, mistakes I’ve made, or even the way I get irritated.

(You’re not sorry, you’re radiant!)

And sometimes, it takes unforeseen, uncontrollable circumstances—like weather, that white stuff—that FORCE me to let go.

Part of what unfolded for me this weekend wouldn’t have been an opportunity if I hadn’t been able to let go, though, or realize I couldn’t fulfill all of my obligations. In fact, I wouldn’t have been able to spend time with a dear friend who helped transform my freshman (and only) year at Rhodes College. We laughed for at least three minutes upon seeing each other. I wouldn’t have been open to the last-minute gift of two tickets to see Jeff Mangum at the Bijou on Friday and spend time with the Knoxville family of friends I haven’t seen in months. I wouldn’t have been able to visit my mom and Grandmother yesterday afternoon, and celebrate Grandmom’s 90th lap around the sun..

I didn’t arrive at this place—or any of those places this weekend or in general—without some frustration, bickering and almost tears. But with all of those emotions came breath and support from loved ones that took the form of a car share, a friend, a phone call, a meal, a bed and warm place to stay.

All that to say, I’m happy I arrived at this place, I’m happy for the journey, and all of its highs and lows, I took this weekend that threw me off from my plan, and I’m happy to say… it was a blast.

I think I’m getting better at being real. Cause it’s not just OK to be real, it’s freeing, it’s luxurious and it’s everything. Thanks, Kevin, for helping me keep it real.

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