This post was originally published at MyBrownBaby.com
So I suppose this post might be just a wee bit too transparent; too revealing. My apologies, in advance. However, for my own sanity, I have to, once again, shed my halo and tell my whole, ugly truth. Here goes:
Sometimes I’m incredibly envious of people.
Not rolling-my-eyes-and-I-hate-their-guts envious. More of a sinking feeling in the pit of my gut that only seems to come around when I encounter those who are saying and doing things that shine the brightest of lights on my own inadequacies.
Writers whose powerful, thought-provoking prose make me want to toss my Macbook out the window and return to—gasp!—a 9 to 5 gig.
Wives who can whip up a mean, southern meal, lay it all the way down in the bedroom, and still have the will to listen ever so intently to the struggles and triumphs of their man with a smile. (Yeah, yeah, yeah. Back off fems. Today, I’m feeling uber-traditional, ‘kay?)
Mothers who appear to never get tired and have successfully mastered the art of disciplining toddlers. Especially annoying are the one who can pack lunches, chauffeur munchkins to dance class and soccer practice, volunteer for church ministries, all while looking fly as all get out.
Oh, and the sages. Elders. With all their other-worldly wisdomness and sound advice who seem to have a direct line to God, Jesus and all the angels. The devil, too, if some foolishness tries goes down.
The truth is…on any given day, I can be any one of these women. Maybe even a couple at the same time. But those days are usually far and few between. Most days, I’m failing at one or all of my roles. Majorly. And I can’t help but to be super angry about that. Not punch-a-wall angry. More like depressed-angry. You know, when your eyes burn hot with the tears of frustration but they refuse to fall.
Gosh, I hate that feeling.
My remedy for this used to be to simply mimic what I saw around me. For a while, my life read like one big proof text for every how-to and 10 step advice article written in Essence or Upscale, etc. If great writers did A, I did A. If good moms, did B, then B it is. If savvy entrepreneurs did C, well, best believe, I was getting my C on.
And sometimes that worked. Certainly there is value in watching those who are doing what you want to do and taking notes. It’s actually the very thing I encourage in my daughter as she’s growing and developing.
“You can do it, K! Watch Mommy! See?!”
In fact, as a toddler, much of what my child learns is caught not taught. She watches Mommy brushing her teeth and does it the exact same way. She watches as Daddy ties his sneakers and she tries to do it herself. So as I said, there’s value in modeling someone in order to learn a thing.
That is, until there isn’t.
During one of my more recent complaint-fests I got a rather startling revelation. The best way I can describe a complaint fest is like this: I figuratively crawl up into the lap of God and whine about my life. I moan about what promises have not come true and what dreams have yet to be fulfilled. This particular time, I was letting it rip.
“God why do I always feel like I’m on the verge of something great but never quite crossing over into greatness?”
“Why can’t I have what I want for a change?”
“Why does it seem like I can only have so much success, so much peace and happiness, before the bottom drops out or worse, everything just stops?”
Yep. Told ya. Whine, whine, whine.
Usually God, with all His infinite parental graciousness, lets me have my say without much response. It’s not like silence so much as Him waiting. Sometimes I think He’s just waiting for me to “get my life.” But I also know there’s more to it. His lack of response is also because He knows that I know the answers to all these questions. I know that my story has to play itself out. I also know that much of what I moan about is simply part of my process; part of the character building necessary for me to sustain whatever blessings He has for me.
Now true, what I know intellectually doesn’t always embed itself immediately in my heart. In those cases, being Tracey, I vent. I whine. I put up my short arms and attempt to box God. (Hey, if Jacob can wrestle with Him, then I can box!)
The beauty of all of it is that He let’s me. He allows me to come to Him swinging.
In this last battle though, there wasn’t the typical feeling of “God waiting on me” that I was used to. There wasn’t any “all will be well” reverberating in my soul. My complaint fest was met with something very different.
“Lord, please! I’m doing everything that those who are successful are doing. Why isn’t it working out for meeeeeee?!”
I suppose this last question required something more than a reminder of what I already know. God needed to set me straight. It’s funny because, call it my sanctified imagination like the old folks do, but I actually imagine Him tilting His head very Bernie Mac-ish and looking down on me like, “Wayment?!” Lol.
His words rushed me. They filled my entire being with both revelation and renewal.
“Have you ever considered, Tracey, that YOU are not supposed to do things the way others have done them? That your path is entirely different?” – God
And just like that, it clicked. When one is called to blaze a trail, there will inevitably be resistance from all that stands in the way. Yes, some of the obstacles are external but much of it, if we’re honest, is an inside job.
“Get out of your own way.” – God again.
Sure, there are many areas in our lives where we can simply walk down the paths made clear by those who have gone before us. But there are some places, dark and untrodden, where we must create the road to our destiny. For me, there is a path that is mine and mine alone. There is no one to mimic. There is no pattern to follow. I am the pattern maker. And as hella scary as that is, it’s also a kind of relief. Maybe I’ve always felt like I was stuck “on the verge” because, in reality, I’d reached the end of the place where I could model my actions off another. Pressing through that point will require the innovation and creativity that can only come from me.
How awesome, right?
I can’t wait to share this with my K. When she gets to a certain age or stage where modeling others no longer facilitates her growth, I will give her this new revelation of mine. I’ll say, “Blaze your own trail, Sweetheart.”
I can’t wait.