Someone asked me today how my book tour was going, and I found myself answering, “I’m alive.” As soon as I said it, I realize how negative that sounds. When someone asks how we’re doing and we say “I’m alive,” it implies that we’re barely more than dead. But when I said it, I honestly meant that I feel super-duper alive -- in the full realm of human experience way. As in, I feel real. I feel raw. I don’t feel numb or flatlined, in any way.
What this means is that I’m good -- and bad. I’m giddy and grieving. I’m excited and disappointed and passionate and sexy and self-reflective and curious and frustrated and open. I feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. I feel called and appreciated. I am ALIVE. What more can we as humans ask for?
When we feel fully alive, we find ourselves faced with parts of ourselves we might prefer to keep under wraps. The other night, I barely slept because I found myself faced with something I didn’t want to look at. It was one of those dark nights of the soul -- you know the ones. When you find yourself staring at the ceiling at 3:00am while the voice of your inner critic chatters away, empowered by the darkness in the room. You question everything and find yourself lacking. Every bit of your self-confidence drains out and you’re left in that dimly lit cave of yourself, the one where you stuff everything you’d prefer not to see, the stuff you hope NOBODY ever sees. Yeah. That place.
I wound up there after a conversation I had earlier that night with my friend Tricia. She asked how it felt going back to San Diego, my old hometown, on my book tour. And I confessed that, while attendance at my events was great and I think things went well, I was disappointed that so few of my old friends and family actually came to my book tour events to support me. There were bunches of fans from OwningPink.com, Twitter, Facebook, and readers of my book What’s Up Down There?. And God bless my friends Paolo, Kelly, and Kim for making the effort to come out in support of what I’m doing. But many others were conspicuously absent, and it made me question what I might have done to alienate my people. Where were they?
I mentioned this to Tricia with a few tears, and Tricia blurted, “Lissa, you’re a Supremacist.” Just like that. Matter of fact. Her words stopped me in my tracks. She went on. “I’ve heard you talk about your San Diego friends from your old life and ever since you left that life, you’ve had nothing but distain for the life you used to live. You took this big leap of faith to follow your dreams, which is all well and good, but you judge those who haven’t done the same. It’s no wonder they don’t feel like finding a babysitter to head out to some book tour event to support you, when you don’t support them.”
It hurt to hear, but Tricia was spot on. I’m not a Supremacist in the Nazi sort of way. I’m totally racially and culturally tolerant. But I DO do that ugly stuff she said, judging others who don’t choose to live their lives the way I live mine. I rationalize it by telling myself that I just want everyone to be able to find the kind of joy I’ve found in living vitally, speaking my truth, being authentic to the core of who I am, and letting my freak flag fly. But who am I to judge anyone, especially when most of these old friends of mine seem perfectly happy with lives that I might consider less than brimming with mojo?
Tricia suggested that, instead of judging myself for being a Supremacist, I try just being with it. Just own it. I am a Supremacist. So I am owning it. I am a Supremacist. But I don’t like it (there’s that damn judgment again!).
So it’s no wonder I found myself staring at the stars last night, wondering who I’ve become. Here I am promoting unconditional love, seeing with magical eyes, and uniting in authentic community, but have I alienated the very people I love the most? Am I turning into one of those people who is loved by millions who don’t know me but despised by those who do? Ick. Something’s gotta change.
I thought about the people I most love -- and realized that I can be horribly critical of the people I love the most. If only he would be honest about who he really is instead of pretending to be something he’s not. If only she would have more initiative. If only he was more aggressive and willing to stand up for himself. If only she had better social skills and knew how to read the cues of others. If only she would open her mind. If only she had the courage to bring her true self out of the closet into the brilliant light of day. If she would be more tolerant. If he would be less influenced by the opinions of others. If she wouldn’t be so rigid and inflexible. If she was willing to come out of her box. If he was more true to his integrity instead of selling out.
I honestly love and cherish every one of these people. I don’t need them to change a bit to adore them just the way they are. So why do I do this? Why do I have this ugly judgmental streak? And how can I make it stop?
I certainly don’t think I’m all that, but does my behavior reflect this superior stance I would never want to portray? Is Tricia right? Who knows the real reason my friends didn’t come out to support me. Maybe it has nothing to do with my Supremacist tendencies. Maybe they were sick or couldn’t find childcare or had work deadlines, or God only knows what else. After all, the world doesn’t revolve around me.
But what if there’s something to what she said. What if I’ve been a bad friend? What if all this work has left me so distracted that my friends and family don’t feel supported? What if I’ve sold out in some ugly way? What kind of trade would that be?
I’ll never know why they didn’t come. And as I’m writing this, I just got an email from one of my BFF’s in San Diego (one of the ones who didn’t show) apologizing for being so caught up with her two kids that she just realized she had missed my event, which was on her calendar and which she fully intended to attend. But what if she’s just saying that to be nice?
No way to tell. But I am resolved to make a change. Who am I judge anyone else? How can I possibly claim to know what would make another more joyful or vital or whole? Why is it so much harder to offer the same level of unconditional love and support I offer here online to the real live people in my inner circle? How can I become a better person?
Please help me let go of this ugly part of myself. Please open my heart to more love, more acceptance, more compassion, less judgment. Help me hold those I love tenderly in my heart, where I can nurture and support them. May my heart expand so there is an unending capacity for love for all beings, but most importantly, for those I know the best.
This was a hard post to write. It’s not easy to stare down, face-to-face, the shadows of our psyche. But I realize, even in writing this, how liberating it feels. As I said earlier, I feel ALIVE, and even in the pain of it, it feels good. So thank you, Tricia, for being a good friend.
What about you? Are there any other unwitting Supremacists out there? Instead of being like those white supremacists who perform hate crimes and want to eliminate everyone who’s not like them, can we start a movement to eliminate our kind altogether? How can we do this? How can we be more loving, more open, less judgmental, less harsh? How can we radiate such kindness and compassion that we elevate the whole vibration of this planet?
Do you have any tips? Any challenges you’d like to share? Am I alone in having this ugly trait or are there more of you?
Ready to face my dark night & release what no longer serves me,
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