Sometimes I get a little “buzzy” as I like to call it. I don’t mean the buzz from a glass of wine or even the buzz from a cup of coffee. I mean the brain buzz. And generally my buzzy buzzard self emerges when I’m feeling vulnerable, a little on edge and well…holding my breath.
Scott left this past week for his grandfather’s memorial service in Colorado. Since I had never met his grandfather, I stayed back with Lenny our puppy. The first night I awoke around from horrible nightmares so the second night alone I had to do something before bed to calm myself. (other than the obvious: have Lenny sleep in the bed with me).
I decided to read the next chapter in the book I’m currently reading right now called Brazen by Leeana Tankersley. I spoke briefly about it in my last blog but it’s all about finding our true selves, living without shame, reclaiming our voice and living from a place of worthiness and becoming. She talked about how she has this desire to be creative and expressive but often is feels frivolous. This feeling stunts the creative process and rather than exploration emerging, one can end up feeling paralyzed.
What stood out most to me was her list towards the end of the chapter of things she loves, “the frivolous things." This list was a privilege to read as it can be almost embarrassing to admit what we like. It feels silly or immature or superficial. Reading her list opened up this little crack of light inside of me, encouraging me to explore what it might be shining on.
So that night before bed, with a police search helicopter above my apartment, all my doors locked and dead bolted and locked again, and with little Lenny curled up in a fuzzy ball next to me, I began my own list. The list of what I love. I wrote it in my journal and laid it by my nightstand and slept soundly.
I woke up the next morning and felt a little silly because that worked. My nerves were calmed because I spent some time thinking about what I loved before I drifted off to sleep. It was such a free and un-filtered list.
You know how lists can be rather rigid? Like if it’s a list about your hobbies, you need to have a couple of exercise hobbies or people will think you’re lazy and if you have a cooking list, you need some healthy choices or people will wonder about your nutrition, and if you have a list about favorite books, for heaven’s sake include some intellectual research based books!
But this list was mine. I felt no pressure to include a fictitious love of dumb bells or Shakespeare or apples. Still I was a little weirded out that I kept coming back to the list the next few days, adding things here and there and smiling to myself when I thought of my frivolous list.
My list became a place of exhale and I couldn’t even understand why.
Why on earth would thoughts of fancy coffee, and pink nail polish, Washi tape and cucumber water help me sleep?! After all the definition of frivolous is not very dignified. It means silly, trifling, empty, worthless, of little weight or importance…”
Leeana writes: “It’s our worst fear to be unworthy of serious attention. Until one day we realize how exhausting it is to strive so relentlessly. We hear God’s whisper: ‘Leeana, what if you stopped trying to be so worthy? What if you stopped focusing on your relevance? What if you stopped trying to secure your own meaningfulness?”
This really struck me as it feels like my entire decade of my 20’s was spent in some ways hustling to be taken seriously, to do something meaningful, to be worthy of serious attention. The 20’s can be a tumultuous decade in so many ways, graduating college, entering a career, figuring out relationships, wondering who is behind and who is ahead. I went straight from my bachelors into graduate school and I longed to be taken seriously. I wanted to be seen as academic but felt like my snide and humorous remarks were the best I had to offer. As a women, I felt like I was seen as just a "dumb blonde" who was fun but not intellectual. It felt like I couldn’t be frivolous and deep. I couldn’t do something meaningful and then do something entirely ridiculous.
Of course this kind of black and white thinking would make anyone a little on edge and anxious having to perform so much.
Leeana talks about “getting lost in the garden” God has given us. That we can “go to the studio of our soul” to create, explore, play, and be silly. This is a garden where I am loved as I am and don’t have to produce or create for an outcome. This garden of colors and resources and beauty that is mine to play with.
In this garden you can, “Run toward what you love with unapologetic abandon."
I’m an oldest child so being taken seriously comes with the territory. I was responsible, conscientious and deep. But I was also creative but didn’t realize it. I was also witty but didn’t know that either. Growing up my family was thrifty and amazing at saving so going out to eat was novel and renting a movie and having popcorn was like the celebration of the century (okay I exaggerate but you underestimate my love of popcorn).
Naturally I grew up to be a very good saver but unfortunately had a nasty guilt complex every time I bought something I didn’t necessarily need, but just wanted. But here’s the thing I can be both a good saver and also buy something I like, something frivolous. I can be both witty and watch silly sitcoms and be a deep thinker. I can be creative and still love browsing Target for things that are already created. Enjoying things doesn’t make me a superficial person. It makes me a human who is alive with a vibrant heart beat.
We get to love what we love you guys. We don’t have to justify or downplay our stunning souls. Our souls are deep and wide. It has plenty of room for ALL the good stuff. The deep serious stuff and the frivolous fun stuff.
Maybe there's something you love but have inwardly rejected because it feels too meaningless and trivial. Maybe you can relate to wanting to be taken seriously and so have pretended part of your soul isn't there. But what's the worst that could happen if you risked making this list? Maybe you'll even sleep better.
So here is my list of the frivolous things that I actually and unashamedly very much enjoy. You know I want to know what's on yours!
Heather's Frivolous List:
Essie nail polish
Fancy wrapping paper
A novel with a cheesy happy ending
The smell of lavender
Sharpie fine point pens
Dusk in the summer
Buying more than one bottle of wine at a time
Hair ties and headbands*
The smell of new clothes
Scott’s homemade macaroni and cheese
Cold brew lattes
* It’s the weirdest thing but buying hair stuff induces a weird sense of guilt in me like I should wrap my hair in braids with the yarn lying around my house (there is no yarn) Yesterday I bought headbands and all I could think was “this is so naughty, I am so bad, I am buying a pack of headbands for 5.99 to keep my bangs out of my face…how could you?!! How dare you?! Hence my need to write this blog.