Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More Manly

My sons recently watched that hyper energetic Sponge Bob movie with a mermaid that tells Sponge Bob and Patrick (his Starfish friend, if you have been living under a rock) that they need to be "more manly". They go on a quest to be manly and when they finally get seaweed mustaches it is as if they found the Holy Grail. Now they are MANLY!
Bodee liked this idea. So he found a pen and drew a thin curly mustache on Bronson as a test subject. MANLY!
Then Bodee decided he must be MORE Manly, so he covered his face with a ink BEARD. Full on beard action all over his face. He proudly wore his beard across the street when we played in the park after dinner and showed it off to the neighbors.
His older brother cried with ridiculous authority, "That doesn't make him more manly, it makes him more KIDDISH!"

My husband and I laughed (out of earshot of course) until we almost peed our pants.
What I realized later is that we enjoyed this Manly episode of Bodee, Bronson and Ben antics so much because we can soooooo relate to trying hard to be something, only to result in the exact opposite impression.

We humans try so hard to be cool in high school, and so often our classmates see right through it and call us a dork.
We try so hard sometimes to get the right gift for someone, only to have them crestfallen and confused.
We try so hard to be loved...and end up bleeding romantic wounds that seem to never heal.
We try so hard to keep our children safe only to have panic attacks from the number of ER visits and near catastrophes.

I realized as delightful as our efforts are as a child, we often are completely blind to the fact that the very thing we are trying so hard to have happen is getting completely thwarted just by our own efforts.

What to do?
It's counter intuitive. Scary in fact. Down right threatening to our existence.
Our inner voices, the survival cave woman or cave man or committee would object with mega phones.

Want to be cool? Give up caring about being cool and be self the goofiest, loudest, bravest and boldest thing you have ever wanted to do in front of people. People will see the vulnerability in your self expression and you will be the coolest.

Want to please someone? Rather than thinking really hard and concoting schemes for days, just be chill and ask them what would knock their socks off. Give up the fear that if you ask them, they will tell you something that you cannot fullfill on, and fail. Just ask and listen and ask for more. Listening alone will have them be pleased as punch.

Want to be loved? LOVE. Put yourself out there and fall in love every day with someone or the one you are with. Wonder about who they are, marvel in their miraculous quirkiness, delight in their humaness and celebrate being THE ONE to get to be with them. Love them with a whole open raw heart, lay it on the ground before them and offer it to them. Be the one to call first, cry first and say I love you first. You will be loved when you love.

Want to be safe or have your loved ones safe? Do what people do who feel confident and RISKY! Be bold and what you want, where you want and flirt with disaster. Let your child run and climb and fall and cry. In the danger they build their confidence and learn the preciousness of their life.
Let yourself be terrified and do it anyway. The fear of safety will melt away and what will be present is the freedom and joy of being alive and experiencing life fully.

Want to be manly? Be who you are! Be a kid or be a teen, be an older man or gentleman. Be the man you are, own it, say it, express it, dive into what you love to be and be that. You will radiate your manliness in your own unique way. Being who you are, rather than something you think you should be, has others celebrate your you-ness.

There is, in our quest for who we want to be, nothing to do ...but to be everything we are.

Zen Honeycutt

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