Awhile back, I had this friend. Her name was "Willow".
That's what we called her anyway. What her real name was, none of us could say for certain.
Willow was...how do I even begin to describe her? Free spirit, yes. Hippie? Yeah...kinda...maybe, without the pot. Spiritual - yes, in her own way. She really was a willow. She moved to her own rhythm, in constant motion, going wherever the wind might take her.
I don't know that any of us knew her story. I know I didn't. Bits and pieces of truth might have come out but Willow was one of those people who would one day tell you she'd been a rocket scientist and the next day tell you she was a shaman and you'd just believe her...even while knowing none of it was true....or maybe it all was.
That was OK. It wasn't like she was exactly lying. She was...Willow...spinning her tale as she saw fit and, like at the movies, we all suspended disbelief because she was Willow - generous with her energy, fun-loving, gentle, raspy-voiced, fascinating, compelling, intuitive.
She gave the best massage I've ever had. Damn. I miss those hands.
Anyway! During a particularly vulnerable moment for her - which there were few - she confessed something to me. She said, "Jane? It's really fucking hard to be me."
And you know what? I believed her without question.
There've been plenty of times since then that, when I've been feeling blue, I've thought to myself, "Well...it's not like I'm Willow. It's not THAT hard being me."
This afternoon, I was driving home. And I was feeling pretty blue. Fact is I've been through some heartache...feeling not good, not able to say the right things, not do the right things, not be the right person...only me - and that's clearly not been the right thing to be mostly. This feels terrible, I must say. It's hard to know that you've been asked to be you on several occasions only to discover that it's not enough or right or pleasant.
And I found myself telling myself, "It's so fucking hard to be me."
I saw the con.
The fact is that it's just hard. Period. It's no harder for Willow to be Willow than it is for me to be me, or for Peej to be Peej, or for Lex to be Lex, or for the Divatologist to be the Divatologist, or for you to be you. It's all just...hard.
Yes, I messed up. I'm carrying all this guilt, shame, embarrassment, regret around for stuff that just came as a part of being me. That's hard. But it's something we all live with, all deal with, as a part of living. It's better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven't done, right? Especially when what you have done is just been loving...been yourself. And maybe I ought not to regret that...especially that.
But it's not harder than what anyone else faces in their own lives. It's not any easier. Not even compared to Willow.
The Fairy Gothfather recently asked me why I insist on thinking of myself last when it comes to needs and wants.
Well, Fairy Gothfather? Until tonight, it's because I believed...
That it was harder for someone else to be than it was for me. That it was my responsibility to give to myself what I needed - what little I needed - and spend the rest of my time giving to everyone else...because it was harder being them.
And I was wrong.
It's all just hard. For all of us...