Bookstores are a magical place where I always manage to spend more time and money than I originally intended. I have a similar love for libraries, especially because the books are free, although my husband considers them inferior because “you have to give the books back.”
As a writer, going to bookstores can also be a challenge, especially when you haven’t published a book yet, but wish you had. Looking at all those beautifully designed covers and reading all the clever titles can be a reminder of what you haven’t achieved.
During a recent bookstore trip, I found myself in the Home & Design section where what feels like a myriad of books by bloggers-turned-authors abound.
As a blogger who wants to be an author, this is a double-edged sword of possibility and despair.
The possibility comes from thinking “hey, if he/she can do it, surely I can too!” while the despair tries to silence that hopeful thought with a big ole fat turd of “never gonna happen.”
This weekend while shopping, I had a brief conversation with the sales clerk who shared that his day wasn’t going very well. When I asked him what the trouble was, he replied,”the world’s a tuxedo and I’m a pair of brown shoes.”
How succinctly that says it all.
Are you ever guilty of disqualifying yourself like this? Why is it that we are so quick to take ourselves out of the running for something we truly want?
Is it because we think the big picture end result we seek is impossible? Or is it that we just can’t see to the end of today because of all the little things that have distracted us?
Do you ever feel like an outsider? Like you just don’t fit?
As much as being different and celebrating our own version of unique-ness can be fun, sometimes it’s really nice to just fit in.
My mom likes to say that “people join clubs for the same reasons they once carried them.” Think on that for a second. There’s a certain kind of safety in numbers. Also the feeling of comfort that comes from not being the only person struggling with a particular issue.
Don’t you just want to feel seen, heard and most of all understood?
I know I do.
Back at the bookstore, I had a thought. There are clubs I’ll never belong to. Not for lack of wanting, but just because of not fitting.
I’ll never belong to the club of people whose hair blows gently in the wind without frizzing. And I’ll never belong to the club where they have the perfectly manicured nails and the clothes that fit just so and thin ankles. Or the one where people wear white linen and eat spaghetti while never spilling a drop.
And then there are clubs I don’t belong to yet. Like the one for book authors. I might not be a member today, but I won’t say never. I’ll just say not yet.
That brings us to the club for which I am (and maybe you are) a card-carrying member.
It’s anything but exclusive. There’s plenty of room for anyone who might happen to tag along or wander in or just show up.
Our dress code is not fancy. Many of us wear our hearts on our sleeves.
Nobody calls the roll and you won’t get a X by your name if you happen to miss a meeting.
There’s no collecting of dues. Although we do ask that you be yourself. [It’s okay if you don’t know who that is. Most of us are still figuring it out.]
Instead of Robert’s Rules of Order, we adhere to the natural order of life, which hardly ever actually follows any order that makes sense and keeps us on our toes, always wondering what is going to happen next.
We are the dreamers. The thinkers. The over-thinkers. The kids who heaved a sigh of relief when the teacher said it was Library day, as opposed to P.E. The ones who feel deeply for the ones who hurt deeply.
The ones who are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, even though we secretly (and wrongly) thought perfection might be possible. We are the ones who believe anything is possible.
We are the ones with single moms who worked overtime to send us to the ‘good’ preschool. Whose dads wanted to create for us a more stable and peace-filled home than they’d had themselves. We are the ones whose grandparents told us we were their pride and joy.
We were the ones who showed up, day in and day out. We were not star athletes. We were not the valedictorian. We don’t always finish what we start. We don’t always start what we want to finish. We still show up. Sometimes we feel like nobody notices us. Sometimes we hope nobody will notice us.
We ask too many questions and we have none of the answers. But the answers to the most important questions are etched onto our hearts. We love the people we love without any rhyme or reason. Sometimes this is to our detriment. We keep loving them anyway.
While the details of our stories may be different, we recognize that we all begin and end the same way.
We make room for each other.
There’s room for you.
Pull up a chair. Set your burdens down. Kick off your shoes. Today the world is a tuxedo and you are a pair of black patent wingtips. You fit perfectly here.