I love a good story. I love telling them and listening to other people tell stories of their lives. Stories are a wonderful way to get lost in a moment and be led down a magical path of wonder. We all can be carried away in the listening of them, a wonderful thing for children to take them to a place.
When I was little I used to love it when my Dad told the story of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears.’ He named the bears Cecile, Annie and Clyde. Till I was much older I didn’t know their name was not Annie, Cecil and Clyde. Stories are a wonderful way to get lost in a moment and be led down a magical path when we know they are stories. We all can be carried away in the listening of them.
What happens when we get older is often we unconsciously make up stories about who we are and what is real. It becomes more difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Taken to an extreme that is pathological, but in the day to day interactions and tasks of living our lives we tell ourselves stories all the time about what we should and should not be doing and about how others respond to us. We also define ourselves by stories of certain standards and measures that give us a feeling of safety. If we can define ourselves based on something we are familiar with, we don’t have to live in the unknown, which is uncomfortable for many of us. The interesting thing about these stories of definition is that very few, if any, are true. Some would argue that all of them are false. Psychology has taught us the majority of what we see in our outer world is simply a projection stemming from some internal fear or desire. More stories.
One of the stories I’ve always told myself is that I don’t like to write and I don’t write well. Even as a university professor I shied away from writing as much as possible. My story was I was a dancer, not a writer. I never kept a journal when I was younger. I have never been a letter writer. Until a year ago I had never published anything. I stayed away from writing for fear my lack of intelligence would be revealed. My story was that because I wasn’t smart enough I couldn’t write anything that would be important enough for people to read. In addition to that I told myself I would be shamed and embarrassed by sharing what I wrote because I wasn’t smart enough.
When I was younger I was plagued with the thought, let’s call it a story, that God made a mistake in my family. My story was that I was the one who was ‘retarded’ and Cindy was supposed to be ‘normal.’ I carried enormous guilt with me throughout most of my life. Because I told myself that story over and over again for so many years I pursued knowledge and understanding. I graduated from college then went to graduate school, got one certification, then another and then two more. All my studying and training didn’t touch my confidence and didn’t change the story. Degrees and certifications didn’t do anything to create in me the feeling that I was enough just as I am and that I was, in fact, intelligent enough to write something that may impact others in a positive way.
My stories started to change when I made the commitment to live Cindy’s gifts through me. That decision has had a major impact on how I have chosen to share my self since she died. Now I believe that what I write is not only important enough to share but essential. The reality of loving our selves whole is a quest all of us strive towards and a universal language of the soul that needs to be voiced. Cindy, in her masterfully simple way of living her essence knew that language and spoke it with perfect clarity through her deeds and words every moment of her life.
Cindy’s birthday and mine were one week apart. Every time we talked about that she would say ‘you and me the same Mel.’ She would say ‘you and me the same Mel’ because we were both girls, and had the same last name, and both liked chocolate. She said ‘you and me the same’ to anyone who shared any similarity with her. It could be anything; age, birthdate, hair color, food taste, pets, likes, dislikes, etc. She found common ground with every person she met. No matter what, ‘you and me the same.’
Carl Rogers, a humanistic psychologist said ‘the things we feel are most personal are most general’. If Carl Rogers was right then who we are in our darkest most fearful moments, when we feel the most alone, anxious and ashamed is like everyone else on the planet when they experience fear and shame. It also means that who we are in our deepest and most exquisite moments of joy and peace and love is shared with everyone else. Our deepest feelings, our greatest fears and our highest aspirations are universally felt by others. We are more alike than we are different.
‘You and me the same’
Every single person I work with struggles with the same fears and doubts. Am I enough? Am I okay as I am? Am I worth it? Can I really be me and still be accepted? ‘You and me the same.’ Under all our fears and struggles we are all craving to be loved and accepted for who we really are. That’s what I want and I know no matter how many degrees and certifications I get I will never find it unless, and until, I do what Cindy did so easily.
She loved her self.
She loved others.
No condition, no judgement, no question.
I want to do the same.
Like a drop in the water I choose again and again to let the love that Cindy lived open me and allow me to expand outward into the world. I choose to reach and touch others with truth and honesty and the simplicity of a child. With the simplicity and beauty of Cindy Love.
That’s why I write. That’s what I write.
I am asking you to join me and let love in and let your love out. Let’s open our hearts and minds together to the truth that ‘you and me the same.’ We all deeply long to be accepted and loved for who we truly are. Let’s look for what we have in common and allow our old stories of difference and isolation to be told in another book or on another screen. Let’s write together the new stories of our lives in love and hope because,
‘you and me the same.’