Last year I wrote about the word of the day that I had received that morning. The word was ken — which means knowledge, perception, or cognizance, the range of sight or vision. A side note — I never noticed until recently that the word is used in “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” from The Sound of Music. “Timid and shy and scared are you, of things beyond your ken…” It’s amazing what the ear ignores that is unfamiliar. I hadn’t known the word before and didn’t even realize it was used in the song. Anyway… that’s pretty meta isn’t it?
I’ve been thinking about my awareness and acceptance of myself lately. I do try to be self-aware, but can we really be that without feedback from others? I’ve gone so far as to ask for it directly lately. I want to know how I’m doing, in my relationships, in my work — I think a lot of times we think we want to know, but we don’t really. We fear harsh criticism or even kinder remarks that might help us along our way and show us what we need to improve. Maybe we have to get to a certain level of self-acceptance in order to be able to face what others might really think. Until then, it’s head in the sand, heels dug in.
It’s not that I want to fit myself into someone else’s idea of who I should be, rather that I just want to improve through my own filter. I think it takes a lot of self-love to be willing to make even subtle shifts. When there is an absence of it, pain is usually at the forefront of the personality in one way or another, and pain hates change. It seems that if we have a lot of it (show me the rare person who doesn’t), it rules us until we find a way to work through it and start to let it go. Pain makes us stubborn because we’ll do anything not to feel more of it, but we only start to let go of it, in most cases, when it gets so bad that we can’t carry it anymore. Only then do we start to rewrite the script. Only then do we start to make changes. And sometimes that takes a while.
I’ll be forty-seven this year. I have wrinkles, frizzy hair, and am not happy with my body though I’m trying to love it the best I can. I recently went blonde to deal with the white hair that is now growing out of my head. I get botox twice a year. Perimenopause or whatever the hell this is is about to kill me. I wake up in the night sometimes sweaty beyond what could be considered at all cute and have to carry a paper fan in my bag at all times incase I have a hot flash in public. I take more showers per day than I used to. I’m full of strong opinions and apparently don’t shy away from making them known. I’m also apparently blunt and honest, sometimes uncomfortably so. I am impatiently patient. I have money anxiety. I will sometimes do anything but what I need to be doing. But you know what? I’ve got a lot of heart. And I’m trying to love all of me the best I can, particularly my flaws, because they need the love the most. Just like the pain does. I know I’m probably halfway finished with my life. I want to make the second half as good as I can, and I want to do it with a clear-eyed sense of myself and stay on my toes so that I can be worthy of this incredible place and the beautiful creatures with whom I get to roam it. It isn’t easy. But now and then I think it’s a good idea to ask, “How am I doing?”
I’ll just leave that right here.
Happiest of Wednesdays and lots of love to y’all.
PS — Thanks for reading.