Thursday, October 12, 2006

What are you made of?

"Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice, that's What Little Girls are made of..."
I've been a big talker lately, haven't I? I can sit here smugly and write about seeking joy and forgiving and taking on new chanllenges...and yet I find myself frozen in fear, for reasons I can't quite grasp, at the prospect of walking into a courtroom, for a proceeding that has an obvious and expected conclusion, expecting no surprises. But still crazy afraid.

I came home tonight and consumed my new favorite comfort food, a chicken taco salad, heavy on the sour cream, and fitfully watched the episode of Project Runway that I missed last night. I respectfully got sucked in, but each time they went to commercial, I found myself up and pacing like a caged animal. Peaceful was not my name.

I climbed into the bathtub with the thought that my brain may slow down if I boiled it in lightly scented bathwater. But instead in boiled over...I suddenly remembered an article I read a few days ago and this voice, actually That voice, came thundering into my head, "Eileen, what are you made of? That's the problem, that's the question." And I have to tell you that my sweat shirt is still sticking to my body because I didn't dry off well enough because I needed to start writing this before it went away.

So the article I read was an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the much blogged about book "Eat Pray Love." She was infact talking to a reporter about her adventure which is chronicled in that book. And she said this,

"What has changed about the world, I think, is that women can now take those epic journeys, too. Joseph Campbell (whom I do love, by the way) always said that there was no such thing as the feminine heroic quest; that women have, mythologically speaking, never needed to go out there in the world and "find themselves" because, as life-bearers, as the living goddesses of fertility, we are already perfect and whole. Now, while it certainly is flattering to be deemed a perfected life-goddess, I for one don't personally relate to that icon at all."

It is really so true. I love Joseph Campbell, but this same statement has always bothered me, as does "sugar and spice and everything nice." And it continues in current popular music, when in his song, "Daughters" John Mayer tells us:

"Boys, you can break
You'll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart"

But girls we have our own quests to make...sometimes instead of away from tending the fire, we must quest instead to go through it. And to hell with them if they don't get it.

And I was sitting in that bathtub and it all fell down on my head. I'm not sugar and spice and everything nice. I'm not perfect or a living goddess. I'm on my own heroic journey. I am woman...and I'm learning...and I'm growing...and you can't stop me.

What I'm afraid of, I think, is walking into that courtroom, knowing that it's the biggest test of my life. I have to walk in there and find out what I'm made I a blow hard sitting behind a computer or am I a person on a quest? Am I sugar and spice and everything nice or am I real and confident and flowing? Will I be who I am, or will I be wearing a hockey mask?

My husband has a favorite phrase about getting ready for something big, "putting your game face on." But for me, this time, it's about taking my game face off, and seeing what is underneath. And I think he'll be surprised, at least I hope so. Because if it is what I think it is, it is nothing he's ever seen before.

It is nothing I've ever seen before. And it is amazing.

You are what you dig deep, right Neicey?

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