Yesterday I had thought I would write up some simply hysterical little blog post chronicling my totally insane day, but like most things, time changes everything. As in, no way I want to relive yesterday even for the sake of making you laugh. Also, I read my dear Twitter friend Tawna Fenske’s blog this morning and I just couldn’t help but let it inspire me. Besides, just how interesting is my normal day anyway? Yeah, I thought so.
So first off, I want to pose this: what is real? I remember my philosophy professor, David Boersema of Pacific University Oregon, laughing at my frustration when he posed such things in good ole Intro to Philosophy. I am not the most philosophical of folks without the introduction of alcohol or other agents (I’m a regular hoot on morphine, OMG) so discussions on reality were not my favorite back in the undergraduate days of my youth. Of course, now that I’ve found the wonderous properties of a good cabernet sauvignon, I’m much more likely to enjoy pondering what the hell is real. But I still am fond of how Margery Williams said it, “Real isn’t how you are made…”
There is such a long list of things that come to mind…
What is real beauty? I’ve a friend who recently told me that I was still a beautiful woman. Now, let’s put this into the context a bit. I’ll give you a hint…he and I knew each other when “teen” was still attached to our numerals so his comment mostly had to do with the fact that regardless of my laugh lines and grey hair, he thought I looked great. As in, we knew each other when we were nothing more than kids and both fully appreciate as adults that beauty is more about the process than the product. It really isn’t how a person is made, but more about what they are made of.
What is real love? If you count yourself as a “Harold and Maude” fan, then you probably put yourself in the column of “Love is Good…Regardless.” I firmly believe that the greatest gift a person deserves to receive is another person’s love. Especially the love of someone not related to them. As in a lover. Someone who makes them feel the sunshine even on a cloudy day. That is a scaffolding that strengthens even the sturdiest looking structure. I’ll risk some folks’ censure when I say this: everybody deserves someone to come home to and hold hands with into the darkness. Everybody. Real love doesn’t mean the people involved need to have certain skin tones or body parts. They just need to hold another person’s heart in their hand and treat it with care. That is real love.
What is a real woman? Does a woman’s womanliness start with a certain number and letter? Pant size? Heavens to betsy, I sure hope not. For years I was terribly upset that I had inherited my mother’s shape. As in pear shape. Then, around the celebration of my third decade on this planet, I got comfortable in my skin. I stopped thinking that in order to be a real woman I had to have boobs like Jayne Mansfield. And you know what? Not long after that, I became a mom. Becoming a mom has done absolutely nothing to improve my physical self (dear lord, stretch marks are the least of my “mothering” scars!) but it has improved my emotional self. My world is bigger than me and I must be a real woman in order to make that world a better place for three little people who see me as an expert on a long list of topics I actually know very little about. Who cares if I wear this bra size (34B…yay me!) rather than that bra size (insert favorite number and letter here)? I am a real enough woman to raise three happy kiddos.
What is a real man? Do you all remember this guy? When I was a kid, this was the basic concept I thought of as grown-up manliness. Well, in full disclosure, he needs to be a bit less “Marlboro Man” and more “Robert Redford” but whatever. I was a country girl surrounded by men who drove big trucks and knew more about the inner workings of a cow than the workings of iambic pentameter. I dated more than my fair share of young men who knew little about sharing their vulnerabilities and dreams, but much about posturing what they hoped look manly. And you know what? I am so absolutely freaking glad that the man who changed my life is nothing like that. (Well, not much like that. He is a fool over football and his Mustang.) He is what I believe embodies true manliness: he is true to himself. For when you are true to yourself, you don’t have to gain power by negating others’. Manliness isn’t in physical stature but in personal integrity. Manliness isn’t hiding behind a stoic facade but in opening yourself to those you choose to embrace. Manliness isn’t dictated by boot size, on which side you dress, or what style your hair takes. Manliness is being male and being you in whatever capacity you are meant to be.
What is a real comedian? Since January of 2009, I have been doing standup comedy with the TIME OUT SHOW which is a troupe of moms doing comedy reflective of their lives. I do adore making people laugh and I have learned so much about myself as a writer since learning how to craft a solid set. (Not that I always am successful in that quest, but I’m hitting the mark more and more!) But it is funny how people perceive comedians. I’ve had more than one person come to a show and then confess that I was better than they expected. Hmm. Curious – is there a certain look a person has to have in order to be funny? (I sure hope it isn’t Robin Williams because I am not a fan of body hair.) I am not quite sure what the answer to this is, but I do know that I perform regularly, have actually been paid to perform, and people laugh at least a few times each time I perform so I’m going to put myself in the “real comic” column thank you very much. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I am not absolutely freaked out at the thought of trying an open mic at some huge venue. Maybe someday I’ll graduate into being a real comedian with real confidence.
What is a real writer? Some folks make the distinction between writers and authors. (As in writers are the folks who write stuff and authors are the folks who write things and have those things published.) I have officially submitted my first piece for publication so that puts me squarely betwixt them – an unpublished author…maybe??? (One of these days I will add my As An Author tab, and use this picture. Really, I will. Because my sister told me I had to.) But actually, this is a huge thing for me and why I am leaving you with this nugget. When I pushed the “send” button with that short story, I pushed myself as well. The difference between a writer and an author is the dogged determination to put yourself and your words out there for judgement. That’s it. The words aren’t necessarily any better, they are just seen. I read lots and lots of blogs, articles, essays, et cetera on writing and the world of writers. And I finally took that deep breath and said to myself, “This is the best story I was meant to write right now.” Sure, I would be absolutely thrilled over the moon if that short story is published but its publication doesn’t make me any more of a writer than I am right this instant. Because no matter what, I write because I love doing so. I have stories inside my heart and head and I like to share them.
Today is Friday, April 23. Let’s all get real. Really ourselves and really what we dream of being. Get real and get real you. Because remember what the Rocking Horse said, “”‘Real’ isn’t how you’re made, it’s a thing that happens to you.”