WE SHOULD ALL BE STORMS
To know me is to love me but if you looked really close you would discover that there is nothing to love. Knowing me is loving me in that you only love what you discover and not the whole.
We grow up in a world where we are taught the value of smoke-screening. Our parents discretely pinch us when we are making noise and embarrassing them. They teach us to act like we have it all together and from them we learn that humans must appear flawless. I vividly remember my father kicking my shin under the table so that I remember my table manners, all done whilst smiling and keeping the conversation going because we had guests around. One time a sausage flew off my plate and went across the room, he didn’t shout, he didn’t even say a word. He just gave me a look that still comes to mind whenever I think of ordering sausage.
Humans are not the fastest, strongest and debatably not even the smartest animals on the planet. But I dare say we are the greatest and it is this greatness that is held up as a standard. Those who meet the standard are celebrated, those who barely meet the standard throw smoke screens to seem like they have met the standard and those who are far from it wallow in shame. Shame is no way to live.
Who came up with the standard? Ever noticed that it changes with every generation? How does one keep up? Evolution, adaptation and smoke screens. That is the answer. But I am daring today to think that maybe there is another answer. Don’t. Don’t keep up, just live.
Amartya Sen suggests that the lack results in shame and this has a crippling effect. I agree. In agreeing I am going to apply his principle in all situations. They say a woman must get married a virgin while her eggs are still fresh, she must have career, a happy husband, healthy children, a fluffy dog and a home. They say a man must have a thriving career, must be good in bed, must be able to father and provide for his children, must live in his house; God forbid that he is still in his mother’s house!
Oh the pressure! In whatever path of life you choose there is a pressure to meet some unwritten standard. Smoke screening can only last so long and eventually shame creeps in. Shame is this unshakable feeling that you are lacking what you need to be enough. My mother wants me to get a Master’s, my father wants me to get a law degree and I just want to have money without having to work so hard. I can’t please everyone, even myself. So I am going to contest and say I was born enough, we were born enough and the whole process of life is us proving it. But then proving it to who?
Today I feel loved and enough. God is generous enough to know us and love us; no smoke screens and filters. I am supposed to be playing gospel music but I am listening to Freshly Ground and feeling a hundred percent enough. The men I have slept with can make two soccer teams, play against each other and still have some men left on the bench. The alcohol I have drunk can kill three horses. I don’t have a million to my name. The damage I have done to myself and to others should have me in a hole somewhere crying. But I am not.
It is a miracle that I am here, listening to the whisper of raindrops and the hum of the wind. They say that if we as humans don’t worship God, that is okay because nature will. Nature does worship God in the way that it just moves on unapologetically. Even hurricanes just cause damage without any shame. Maybe I am like a hurricane. Maybe my flaws and havoc are part of who I am. Maybe I am like a storm, beating down on the earth non-stop until my time passes. After a storm there is growth and new life. Maybe we should all be storms. Maybe we shouldn’t shrink ourselves into drizzles because of shame. Yes, we should all be storms.