This week at the schools is "literacy week". It's kind of awesome. It is one big week celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday, reading and dressing up each day of the week. Some of the kids have wondered why I haven't spray painted my hair or come to work in pajamas. (trust me, I would have loved it) I've brought in a Dr. Seuss giant 48 piece floor puzzle and countless Dr. Seuss books for my clients this week. I love the way Seuss tells a story with a deep and meaningful message.
In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday I would like to shed light to a new favorite book of his called, Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories. My husband, Scott got this for me when the introduction copy came out in book form in 2014. My ex-roomie, (aka first life partner) had a sleep-over last night because Scott is out of town for work. Of course we had to read some Dr. Seuss books as our love for him as an author dates back to us fighting about who found what vintage copy first at used bookstores.
This specific story is about a little yellow guy who is affectionately called a Kwuggerbug and of course, Horton, the sweet and faithful Elephant. The Kwuggerbug somehow persuades Horton to take him on a journey to find his Beezelnut tree (which we learn is a nut in the jungle to eat and which by far was the most sweet) Of course Mr. Kwuggerbug turns into a bossy pants dictator who orders Horton around, having him swim through crocodile infested lakes, climb a giant boulder mountain and stretch his trunk into a bridge, all so he can get to his nuts.
"The climb", sighed poor Horton, "will kill me, no doubt.
But a deal IS a deal, and I cannot back out."
He drew a deep breath and threw back his shoulders
And he dragged his tired legs over rocks and big boulders.
He stumbled and staggered uphill, over stones
That tattered his toenails and bruised all his bones
While the Kwuggerbug perched on his trunk all the time
And kept yelling, "Climb! You dumb elephant, climb!"
He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb.
But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum.
His hearing grew faint. And his eyesight grew dim.
But he clum and he clum, and he clim and he clim
From quarter past two until four-forty-five
Till finally, old Horton, more dead than alive,
Had carried that bug to the very tip-top
And then, only then, did the elephant stop.
And he gasped to the bug as he sank to his knees,
"Now where are my Beezlenuts, sir, if you please?"
Now we have all Kwuggerbugs and Beezelnuts in our life. The Kwuggerbugs shouts at us to hustle and tells us we aren't good enough while also telling us to try harder and work harder.
The Beezelnuts are the dreams. They are the car. The job. The house. The relationship. The new business. The new baby. The big trip. There is nothing wrong with chasing our dreams and going after our Beezelnuts but when we have our inner gremlin shouting at us and demeaning us with toxic thoughts, we need to take a step back and consider why we need these dreams to come true so badly.
Sometimes we get to the top of our mountain and realize the whole thing was over-rated in the first place, but sometimes we get to the top and feel victorious and ecstatic at our accomplishment. But poor Horton was exhausted and weary.
I can relate to Horton in that way. I have worked for years and years on my Marriage and Family Therapy career, jumping through hoops and red tape, dealing with ethics and legalities and mountains of paperwork. I have dealt with patronizing comments about this specific career as well as impossible standards to attain in order to be "successful" in this career. I have heard the hardest, most gut-wrenching stories and then have to literally file them away in a folder while I hold my breath. This climb feels un-ending. I make it to one milestone only to find there is another steep climb ahead of me. I get to the top and realize I have massive student loans and a high need for a very long nap. Not exactly your victorious stance.
My Kwuggerbugs are those nasty little internal and external gremlins that screech at me to hustle, prove my worth, and act out of a place of scarcity rather than abundance. They tell me I'm just a poser, that I won't pass the license exam, that I won't ever get licensed, that we'll always be tight financially, I'll always get triggered by ____, and finally that ultimately I'm not strong enough, smart therapist(ish) enough, academic enough, good enough christian enough enough enough... and on and on the Kwuggerbug howls in my ear.
But listen, here's a little secret I'm going to tell you. Elephants are bigger than Kwuggerbugs. We are bigger than those toxic voices. We are larger and stronger than the critical gremlins. And yes sometimes we listen a little too long to those nasty little bugs and sometimes they make us oh so tired and weary.
But we do better once we know better.
My journey might be steep and there might be crocodile infested waters ahead but I can manage it much better without a sneering Kwuggerbug at my side. I'll take deep breaths and rest when I need to. I'll stop and reflect. I'll listen to Love and what She has to say to me.
And if I need to I'll snort that Kwuggerbug right out of my nose if he's not nice. (Okay, go read the book now)
What are you personal Beezelnuts? Who and what is your Kwuggerbug? Is it time to tell him he's no longer desired on your trip to Beezelnut land? You'll get there eventually and if you don't, just remember that those nuts are often over-rated and over-sensationalized. Every day is a good day to dream a new dream.
P.S. I hope everyone finds their nuts.