And throughout my childhood and youth and teen years, I just could not bring myself to do it. But I knew what she meant. I was afraid to take that leap.
I have this friend who is a beautiful woman, intelligent, focused and kind. She's an incredibly dedicated mother, an amazing cook, and a source of warmth for her friends. She has a beautiful home, great parties and her kids eat healthy, adventurous foods. She has these intense eyes and an air of grace and calm. When I met her, I admit, I compared myself. She seemed wiser, more confident. I couldn't cook like her. I never even tried some of the foods she prepared. I didn't have the energy that she seemed to have to create an environment for my children which was as educational, as interesting and even as cool....
And one day, early in our friendship, we were taking a walk and she told me, after I had expressed some insecurity about something parenting-related, that she was surprised by my insecurity, that she thought I was a really great mom and that I just knew that. I was so surprised, that I didn't say anything back. Wow, I thought, this woman thinks I am a great mom??? And as we got to know each other better, she would express similar insecurities back, would say that she felt like I had it together, or that there were ways she wanted to be like me. And again, I was shocked. How is it that this incredible person wants to be like me?
And I know it's not the first time I've blogged about this...but what I think is so important that EVERYONE knows...is that we're all just walking around being our imperfect selves, forgetting that there's no one else like us, and there shouldn't be. So many of us are looking at other people, sometimes comparing ourselves, feeling like we're not as good as.... So many of us are walking into the room pretending like we're the best thing in there, but not really believing it. We're all full up of the questions and insecurities and confidences and thoughts in our own head that though they feel bright as neon signs---NO ONE can see. Wouldn't it be freeing if we never thought we had to be like someone else? Wouldn't it be lovely if we all just knew we were the best person we could be, and if not, we tried harder and forgave ourselves when we just weren't the best selves for that day or that week or that hour?
When I was a kid, my dad would walk around the house singing Frank Sinatra's Too Marvelous for Words. But he'd change the words so he was singing
I'm just too marvelous
Too marvelous for words
I'm absolutely fabu-tron
To marvelous for words
Thinking about this now still makes me giggle. And I know now that my grandma didn't always think she was the best thing in the room, even as she acted like it. And now I know that my friend, like me, compares herself to other people. And now I know that my dad didn't feel marvelous all the time.... Even though to me, he seemed like the funniest, most interesting, most marvelous man alive.... But each one of those people--my grandmother, my friend, my dad--and you and me too...we are all amazing, and great, and flawed....and yes, too marvelous for words.