As it turns out, I'm not alone.
And I don't mean that I just now realized that I live with a husband and three children. No no, this is different than that.
I mean I've discovered over the last 8 months that very little of what I feel and/or think is singularly unique to MY BRAIN. That's a big deal pour moi.
While we were on vaca, my husband was by the pool, trying to get a book to load on the Kindle. Neither he nor I could see the apps or words very clearly. The screen was super dark, even though we were in the shade. He was sure the thing was broken. He went to settings and increased the brightness. He powered it off, waited for five minutes and powered it back on. He tried everything he could think of short of calling tech support.
Then he started laughing.
"What?" I asked
"I had my sunglasses on!" When he removed the polarized lenses, the screen was crystal clear and bright. I took off my glasses (which were tinted with Transitions) and he was right, the screen was fine.
This illustrates my recent learning experience perfectly.
I used to think that I was the only person who ached to write and felt that if I didn't it betrayed something deep inside. I used to think I was the only person who felt a captive by her obligations and responsibilities. I used to think I had a great responsibility to use my many talents to help and that I was - by extension of those talents and abilities- the only one who could help certain people.
I guess that last one is a bit of a Savior complex, but it's not really what I meant. I didn't think I was the way, the truth, or the life. I just bought into the idea like "Maybe you were born for such a time as this," stuff. "You never know the life you can change." or "To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world."
Well then I was pretty pissed when I wasn't "the world" to ANYONE. Someone else can sell a book as well as I can, or even write a book as well as I can. Someone else can smile as pretty a smile as mine or a voice as interesting. Someone else can also be good. But then where did that leave me?
"Everyone is special, Dash."
"Which is another way of saying no one is."
Basically, I thought I was broken. Because no matter my talents, choices, help, service, love, humor, hugs, work, or beauty I didn't seem to be good enough to be "the world" to anyone. I wasn't needed. Not especially. It made my ability to be a Jack of All Trades really look like just a Master of None. I wasn't special, so I wasn't enough.
To me, being SPECIAL meant singular, unique... the word special carried so much weight in my mind. I had to be special to matter. My experiences had to be singular to Chelsea for them to "count" in my account of my life. (I mean, sure, Robert Redford said I was cute. But he's very likely said it to hundreds of people and puppies over the course of his life. So it doesn't count because it wasn't a phrase said only to me. It's a dismiss-able moment in time.)
So to that end, I've become a sort of dare-devil or thrill-seeker. Except I was seeking exceptional. Anywhere I thought I could get recognition for it. The privacy of my mind or my heart wasn't validation enough. I wanted my achievements, my talents, my sharing, my love, my writing, my singing, my service, my magnifying of callings, my participation to be something so unique and so special that I would become necessary.
I wanted to matter. This even extended to my relationship with God and Jesus Christ. If I wasn't in especial pain or unique circumstances or dire straights, or exceptionally righteous and valiant, I couldn't justify the idea that They would make time for me.
Ah...I was trying to be the squeaky wheel, but in a good way. Not by doing bad, but by striving so much to do good - and in so many areas! - I wanted my good works to shout "Here I am!! See me!!" It might actually be that this method just shouted "I'm overwhelmed and prideful; I don't need help because it's not bad enough yet..."
But good news! The point is that I'm shifting my thinking.
Look! I don't even have an exceptional mess! All the messes are basically the same as someone else's somewhere! That's why they can be messages! Because every mess will ring true to someone and the message will come through!
Awareness makes me insightful. I have become aware of my previous need to be seen and my previous need to be a LONE example of (insert talent or way of being here). It was a filter through which I saw the world and I'm removing it. Like the sunglasses. I'm not broken, I just couldn't see clearly.
I matter. I am enough. I am not alone.