I like to have things all planned out– and like it even more when things go according to plan. But sometimes, life! This post wasn’t in my plan for this series, but it actually helped me name something I really believe, but hadn’t yet put words to.
I was coming back from my car this morning when something bright red caught my eye. The closer I got, I thought it was a toy solider or maybe a toy lizard. But then it started moving. And I realized it was this guy (I’d say girl… but in nature the fellas always get the brightest colors!) just sort of hanging out, and maybe hoping that I didn’t step on him.
Such a small thing– you know– it’s a lizard. (Or someone said, Salamander). But seeing him really got me thinking. First I thought– “Lucky for that guy that he was so brightly colored! If he hadn’t, I would have made a valiant effort at stepping on him as he was directly in my path. Both of us would have felt very sad about that.” But then my thoughts took a different direction: “He’s so VIBRANT! That’s just how I want to be.” Which also immediately made me think of the times in my life when all I wanted was to hide. To blend in. To not be a cause for notice.
When I was 250lbs, that’s what I wanted. I had a mane (yes, a mane) of long, thick, curly hair that was perfectly ordinary. And it did a reasonable job of hiding my round face. I wore clothes that were way too big because I sure didn’t want anybody to know that there was a body under all that fabric. For a lot of reasons, that was a hard period in my life. I was mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and any other “-ly” way I could be worn out. I didn’t have the energy to be vibrant– nor did I have the energy to deal with being noticed. Because I felt like being noticed was just going to be a cause for ridicule.
As I started feeling better in my skin, I stopped wanting to hide so much. I cut off my mane, so people could actually see my face. I started wearing brighter colors, without worrying that someone in the distance might confuse me with a circus tent. And I started smiling infinitely more. But losing weight wasn’t the only thing that was happening– I was starting to see myself as strong enough to handle whatever “it” was. I was strong enough to do my life, on my terms. I didn’t like lots of the chapters in my life book, but I was finally ready to do the work of rewritng so that I had a story I wanted to live.
These days, though I hadn’t put it into so formal a thing as actual words, I try to live with the V words: vibrantly and vivaciously.
Living vibrantly, at least to me, means crafting the life you want and being proud of who you are in this very moment (but while continuing to bring your Amazing to its full potential.) It’s refusing to settle. It’s imaging things for your life that are beyond your right this minute reality. It’s embracing the things that make you quirky and unique, the thing the world is asking you to be courageous enough to offer up for the good of all of us. Living Vibrantly is, in the words of Marianne Williamson, refusing to play small. It’s living an “exclamation point life”, and making the verbs of your life strong, powerful, joyful verbs.
I realize now how backwards my mindset was for so many years. I wish I had had the strength and courage to live vibrantly through every chapter of my life, even the ugly ones.
No matter where you are in your journey, you have a lot to be proud of. What makes you amazing? Strong? Write it down and keep it somewhere that you can see it!