It feels really good to say, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
I used to work hard at figuring things out.
How to make myself look good.
How to be a wife.
How to work in the business world.
How to be a mother.
We’re talking about big stuff here. It was everything. I never felt like I knew what I was doing.
Sometimes I’d think, “Wait a minute, I do know how to do this. I do know how to be in this situation.” I was so proud of myself. I’d walk around, sticking my chest out, telling other people how to do this thing I had mastered because I am so smart now. But then, inevitably, something would happen that proved, once again, that I have no freaking clue.
This was exhausting. I just wanted to know how to do something right and good.
But why? Did I want people to see me as someone who knows what she’s doing? Did I want to not have to worry about anything, ever? Did I want to never have to struggle in life? Did I want to make everything perfect all the time?
Yes. All of the above. I wanted all of that.
I learned that none of that exists. We are on giant rock, rotating around a ball of fire, in a galaxy full of stars. It makes me feel strong and invincible if for one minute I can feel like I know what the heck I am doing! It makes me feel like I’m in control.
We have no control. We’re flawed and we’re fragile. Anything that makes us feel otherwise is not helping us in the long run.
Keep going with me here. It feels a little scary when this Control Freak/Type A/Perfectionist feels out of control. Actually, it feels terrifying. You’re telling me I can’t do everything all the time to make everything perfect and make no bad things happen ever? I refused to believe it at first.
But then I started letting go, just a little bit at a time. I’d let go. Ahhh. Okay. These feels pretty good. Then something would happen that would freak me out and I’d grab hold even tighter than before. But then, I’d let go a little more, and then a little more. It took some time.
And then I starting purposely doing things that I had no idea how to do. I forced myself to be a beginner.
And then I started admitting to myself that I have no idea how to be in the world. Why would I?
And then I started saying it out loud, to other people. I don’t know how to make my kid happy. I don’t know how to make myself happy. I don’t know what I actually like to do. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.
I didn’t see that I had been showing up every place in my life in a costume. It never looked quite right. The mask was on crooked and it was uncomfortable to walk. Playing a role. Pretending, even with the really simple stuff.
I started owning it. It felt good to own it.
I finally went to Whole Foods for the first time. I felt every box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese I had fed my kids during their lifetime was in one of those talk bubbles, above my head, following me around that store for everyone to see. All these people are doing all things right and eating all the right food! They know what they’re doing and I’m a failure! Yes, I’ve got some major noise about how well I feed my kids. And yes, I totally understand, no one was thinking this of me. No one in that store cared. I guarantee it. It was all me. All me.
Sometimes I feel like I’m cursed with all these thoughts, other times it feels like a blessing. It feels like a blessing when I know I can turn them around, all by myself. By the time I left the store, I had brought myself back. I started with this – Yeah, you have no clue. You don’t know what you’re doing. Then this – Its okay. I bet a lot of these other people don’t know what they’re doing either. And I mean that in the most loving way possible. You don’t know what you’re doing, but you are here and this is just another way you are taking action to do better for your family. You are learning. You know nothing. You are learning. It’s okay to know nothing.
It feels like a giant weight is lifted off me. I feel light. And its only when I feel light that I can live this world with my mind straight.
I’m okay with being a beginner. It opens up a lot in my life. It makes it easier to try new things. It helps me be easier on myself. It helps me be easier on my kids. Sometimes I feel like I’ve unearthed a secret. And I have a hunch that there might be a lot more people in this world who don’t know what they’re doing. And that’s totally okay. We’re in this together. Loving yourself, being kind to yourself, even though you don’t know what the fuck is going on? It’s just a really fun way to live.