You’re going over to their house for dinner. Yep, right now. It’s not far. No, they’re just a short walk away. So you slip on your uncomfortable, stylish shoes and a sweater that goes with your outfit even though it makes you itch, and out you go. But you forget the wine so you go back inside. It’s on the counter. Red. Your favorite. You smile. It’s going to be a nice night. You can feel it.
They greet you at the door. She wears a lovely perfume and he immediately offers you a drink. You really want wine but you say water is fine. You probably don’t need the alcohol anyway. And besides, it was meant as a gift. The wine. That you brought. Your favorite. You try to be proud of your self-control. But it’s only temporary. Because just after you sip your water, you start to ache for the wine. You swear to yourself, but smile kindly to each and every guest you meet trying not to scratch your itchy arms like a lunatic. Or to walk funny since now your feet hurt because of your uncomfortable, ridiculously stylish shoes. Yes, you smile like a good person. Like the good person you suddenly feel like you are pretending to be. When all you really want is wine. And slippers. Well, and maybe a few other nice feelings.
Then comes the food. And good lord, it practically begs you to chew it with your eyes closed, to make sounds like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. But of course, you don’t. You do everything you can to eat with small respectable bites and to listen politely to conversation that bores you to no end. Then your neighbor decides to start telling you what’s wrong with the country, yes, your country, except he guesses your political perspectives completely wrong so you’re constantly having to hold your tongue, the tongue that is dying to take in every last bit of the deliciously sensuous food. If you had it in you, you might just scream!
When suddenly, it dawns on you. You’re hit with a blast of fresh thought. You’ve been doing it all wrong! It’s not about self-control! It’s not about being what you think you should be or doing what you think you should do. It’s about being Real!
So you push your chair back (but not before leaving your horrid shoes behind) and you walk over to the sideboard with the fancy silver candlesticks and the tea set that looks like it came over on the Mayflower and you pour yourself some wine. And then, after you swallow a big fat swig, you set the glass down politely, you turn to look back at the table, and you scream! You really do! You belt out a big heartfelt scream. And then, after you’re done, do you know what you say?
“I’ve had it! I’ve had it with pretending. I’ve had it with doing what I should do and being something that I’m not. And I’ve had it with pretending that its ok for you all to pretend right along with me, too. Because it’s not. It’s a lie to be something other than who we are. And do you know who I am right now? I am a happy soul enjoying a glass of wine with good people and I’m going to sit down and enjoy the rest of my gorgeous food with my eyes closed and probably swaying to some wonderful music playing in my head because that is the only way to fully taste all the incredible flavors. And if anyone talks to me about anything other than love I’m going to smack them with a kiss right in the middle of their face. And by the way, when I’m done twirling would anyone like my sweater? It was very expensive but I hate it.”
And as you twirl, your face is all smile, your eyes all sparkle, your body a wild, life-intoxicated happy …
As your host and hostess stare
And the rest of the table is dead silent.
Like a brewing storm cloud,
They all burst into laughter.
And they don’t stop … letting it spread … to every creak and crevice in the entire home.
“Anyone for dessert?” the hostess sings out across the laughter, throwing off her own shoes. “It’s the kind you can only eat with your eyes closed, too!”
And every single hand rises up with “Me! Me! Me!”
“Forget the waistband!” says one.
“Dive in!” says another.
“Can we eat and twirl?” says a third.
“Wanna talk about the politics of love?” says your neighbor to you.
And you laugh and laugh and laugh … no words even close to fitting.
Yep, you broke the dam. And wow, does it ever feel good.
* * *
Every day we are expected. Expected to act, to be, to do certain things. And every day we make a choice. To be who we think we should be, or to be who we want to be, yes, who we are.
And who you are can be traced back to how you feel.
When was the last time you really honored how you felt?
When was the last time you were really your Self?
When was the last time you Broke the Dam?
The one inside, holding back all your You.