Thursday, September 23, 2010


I know that I said I don't believe in epiphanies. But I just had one, so perhaps I'll have to make some modifications to this.

It occurred to me that I excel at being who other people want me to be. Lately I've been resetting my bearings, having been thrown off the course determined by my eleven-year-old self: "When I grow up, I will be a professor of English Literature." And my reasoning? A student teacher had said that she thought I'd make a really good teacher. At eleven, I had a sneaking suspicion that I was the reincarnation of Emily Dickinson. And yet to this day, to this very moment, I feel like if I don't follow that course, I will have failed. Geneen Roth says: "We follow instructions given to us years ago by people from whom we wouldn't ask for street directions." Even people who imagine that they're Emily Dickinson the Second.

And so I've begun exploring other options. But each time I do, I realize that I'm redefining who I am to fit whatever career I've alighted on. Of course, some modification and catering is necessary to get a job; you'd hardly want your resume to contain a list of your most embarassing flaws. But somehow in the process, I seem to have lost sight of what I want to be doing. Have I ever known?

People tell me that I'm overly sensitive, and I agree with them. Stop caring about what other people think of you! I say to myself, exasperated. Fed up with hanging on far too long to feelings hurt over trivial matters.

But here's the funny thing: having directed my life based on others' expectations, to suddenly stop caring about what others think would, in fact, be insane. That's how I've learned to function. What if -- like overeating -- being overly sensitive to others has been the best way I've found to take care of myself? It may not work out so well, but it's the path that I chose somewhere along the way.

So I'm not going to berate myself for it anymore. I am overly sensitive. I care about what you think of me. I will go to great lengths to avoid pissing you off, even if it means internalizing anger, sadness, or resentment. And since I don't like feeling this way, I'm going to try a different path in the hope that it becomes a better, kinder way to function. I have decided that I'm going to open myself up to the universe, to God, and relinquish control over my life's path. I don't know what I'm supposed to do next. And I have decided to be okay with that.


  1. Fancy, I always want to post a comment on your blog, but I never do it because I know my words will never compare to your beautiful words. Just know I read your blog regularly, and I think you are amazing.

  2. First, thank you for reading, Jodi; that means so much to me. Second, you should totally comment whenever you feel like it! I usually write most of my posts from the bathroom (sorry, all), so hopefully that puts you more at ease :-)

  3. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. (That was to your last comment, clearly.)

    Interestingly, I had a very similar post in mind for my own writing. Perhaps I'll just copy and paste yours. It's weird, isn't it? Trying to decide what we (not mom or dad or professor or piano teacher or workout buddy) love. You'd think that'd be the easy part.

    The sky is the limit. The world is your oyster. Time for an Fancy free-for-all.

  4. I had a huge ah-ha moment around this stuff lately and have written about it too...the fact that all my life I've tended to take on other people's dreams and goals because I didn't know what I wanted...and didn't even know how to figure out what I wanted.

    You wrote: "What if -- like overeating -- being overly sensitive to others has been the best way I've found to take care of myself? It may not work out so well, but it's the path that I chose somewhere along the way."

    We all have those things...the ways of being which both serve and hinder us. And here are the key words in what you wrote: "I chose."

  5. I've read this post a number of times and am trying to wrap my mind around it.


  6. Kate: You know, I think the most awesome moments in life occur while I'm in some state of undress. Writing blog posts, of course, and then there was that one time when Stefan proposed, and I wasn't wearing pants.

    Karen: Really nice stuff here, thanks. I like the emphasis on "I chose"...because it gives us hope, right? That we can make a change because we chose how to be in the first place.

    Bonnie: Please let me know when you do because I'm still trying to figure it out! It all sounds good in theory, right?

  7. It does. Sadly, it's been so long since I knew how I wanted to be that I can't remember what it was. But I'm pondering.

  8. I have to tell you - I am completely blown away by your blog - not just this post - I've read back through many, many of them. I find them helpful, funny, sad, intriguing, compassionate, insightful and downright great!! You speak for me and to me - and I need to speak for myself more often - thank you for insight and inspiration. It is an interesting journey that we take and I am alway thankful for a new friend to help and inspire. Thank you - you can never know how much!!!!!

  9. Pieceful, thank you for your comment; that is so, so kind of you to say. I'm grateful for this new friendship, too, and am off now to visit your blog.