How long have we been saying, “Keep your head up,” or “Keep your chin up?” But that’s about pride, and dauntlessness, and elevating the self above others. It’s about staying out of reach, where nobody can quite catch you in the sticky web of social distress, where nobody quite knows his or her place, and then even the ones who do are on crumbling precipices.
We miss the mark every time we repeat these refrains to our children. It’s not about disconnecting to keep your pride or hide intact. It’s about remaining relevant in our very own eyes.
When one child casts out another child, in that elusive truth way, where one can never quite explain it well enough to tender-hearted, intervening adults after the fact, it hurts. It hurts everyone involved. The indescribable, intangible things that make us lift our tails high and slap others with them, like the high strung Arabian mares we sometimes embody, almost never make sense later.
We are creatures with a deep and lurky subconscious, and boy are we ever compelled by the things swimming in there. Compelled to grasp for control, relevance, acceptance, and a place.
Placelessness is our mighty affliction, but no one can define your place for you. As herd dynamics grow ever more complicated, we become ever more confused about why we are doing the things we find ourself doubling down on. If someone’s place feels too place-ey, and a playmate’s place feels too slippery, well…her freckles were too freckly. Her smile was too easy.
“She doesn’t want to play with you,” the other girls say, and they think they are riding the wave of a place that feels real and warm. They think it is a good place, but the ground in that place is tricky. There are things lurking. Lessons, the things are lessons.
It’s not uncommon. The smaller we feel, the more we are striving to find a hold on that precipice. We’re all reaching for something solid.
So we all need to learn to be more solid. It is relevance in our own eyes that will keep us from joining the slippery places in life. We must know our place, and that it is just as good as the promise of something that looks better.
Step off of slippery ground. It’s no good.
Back away from crumbling precipices. The fall will happen.
It’s not your heads you need to hold high, young ones, it’s your hearts.
Hold your hearts high. Stay tender, and look for the kind people. Those are your people.
Know friends come and go. There is a Friend Ship. People come onboard. People fall off. People jump off. People return. Be a steady ship. Watch people come and go.
But don’t suffer fools, and don’t invite mean people onto your ship. It won’t go well. Instead, hold them in loving regard and fiercely keep them from poking holes in your sails.
Repeat this every time the pain tries to hook you in your softest parts: I am free and you are free. You owe me nothing and I owe you nothing.
Our time together was fun, and now it feels different. I wish you well.
May you be healthy. May you know you are loved. May you be open to healing and bringing all that makes you cruel into the light. May you be well.
Yes, if you have been hurt, don’t feed that which has bitten you. Those that thrive on the wrong things will take your best efforts and leave you weary. Instead, with love, leave it.
If you’ve tried to communicate clearly, to clarify and repair the rift, and you’ve led with kindness, even if the situation’s gotten the best of you a few times, leave it. There’s work to be done and it’s not for you.
Hold your heart high. Be light of heart. Be confident. Be sad. Be tender. Be brave. Be honest. Be kind. Be free.