I fall in love all the time.
Some might say, I have no right to do that because I’m a “happily” married woman. How dare I give one ounce of my attention to someone else other than my husband? Here’s the thing. I used to feel shame about this. That’s why it took me 44 years to get married. I didn’t think it was possible to be with just one man for the rest of my life. So I ultimately got out of every relationship I was in. Better to stay companionless so that I can enjoy all the different people that God created and stay within the comforts of “societal boundaries.”
But that’s not fair. I like being in a relationship. I like having someone to go through life with. I also like spending time with people who aren’t my husband so that I can enjoy others’ glorious takes on life and as a result, be lifted, confused, exhilarated, anxious, thrilled, angry and everything in between. I could shame myself for those feelings or I could say: “Interesting. Interesting that your heart is feeling that way. You know all feelings are temporary, right, Georgia? You know just because you’re feeling this way right now doesn’t mean ____(you fill in the blank) or that you’re always gonna feel this way, right?”
If I’ve learned anything about life it’s that you can take the craziest, saddest, most shameful view you have of yourself and FLIP it on a dime. Any time you want.
That’s what I do.
When I’m feeling shame about feeling a certain way, I flip it. I say “Wow! That’s really interesting.” I replace the word “shame” with “curiosity” and suddenly I’m not such an awful person. I’m simply human. I realize that to act on everything you want is another story but to shame yourself for simply having feelings about it? Nah.
Isn’t being “human” about experiencing the gamut of what life has to offer? Within the boundaries you make for yourself?
Being married, I have certain rules that are important to me. But a big part of why I can have any feeling I want and not be ashamed of that, is because I chose my mate well. I chose someone who doesn’t feel threatened by whom I choose to go have coffee with and is comfortable in his own skin. His lack of need to control his wife just makes for a happy wife who gets to go out and explore life and come home and want to do nothing more than honor this precious human who encourages her to live life to the fullest.
Curiosity is what parents foster in their children so that they can problem-solve as they get older. Play requires them to use their imagination so that they can grow up and know that anything is possible. The minute a little girl turns in a picture she colored of a green sky and blue grass and the teacher says “That’s not correct, Little Beth. The sky is blue and grass is always green” is the minute Little Beth begins to question her own imagination.
Curiosity is encouraged in functional, healthy work cultures so that people can freely (without judgement) connect dots so that they might come up with the next great idea.
One of the greatest tragedies I’ve experienced growing up, is letting the world chip away at my sense of wonder at the mystery of this great universe. Somewhere along the way, curiosity became a bad word.
I’m taking it back. I’m reclaiming that motherfucker.
So the next time you’re curious and feeling something you’re not sure about…look at it from a distance with intrigue, not judgement. Pat yourself on the back for feeling something – anything – and then let that curiosity lead you to places you never even knew existed. You might be amazed 🙂