All in all is all we are.
Sometimes I forget that I have a darker side, that I am a lover of the night. The sight of graffiti makes me happy. I light up when I hear Rage Against the Machine or gangsta rap with explicit lyrics. I have one tattoo and plan on getting another. I feel most alive when I am taking risks. I start my day with strong coffee. Suburbia bores me completely. My favorite people are people with an edge, usually several.
But I am also a lover of the morning, of puppies, roses, and the color pink. My heart swells when I am preparing vegetarian meals in my sunny kitchen. I believe that kindness is more important than strength and I try to grow it within myself. I am in love with sunshine and yoga. I am a second grade teacher. The photo above was taken at 2 a.m. in the Salt Lake cemetery by my dear friend and phenomenal photographer, Zoe Rodriguez. It was incredibly daring, fun, and freezing cold. Four hours later I got up, showered, and went to work. For me, these are all integrated aspects of the multi-dimensional life I am lucky enough to live.
Beyond ideas of darkness or light, good or bad, I am a hopelessly flawed human being. Sometimes I yell at my students, loudly. I often am often wired or anxious. When I buy organic almonds in bulk, I write the non-organic PLU on the tag because they cost less. I am incredibly vain and do not appreciate the wrinkles taking up residency on my face or the five pound weight gain that won't go away. I worry on a daily basis that something will happen to make my life harder. I worry that I won't make it through. I still get trapped in comparison and greed and artificial identities I construct for myself.
There is a lot of Internet talk about "embracing imperfection" and while I understand the intention, I disagree with the language. Our lives are perfect exactly the way they are. I have a great love for this perfectly imperfect human experience. It isn't perfection I want to shine a light on, it is pretense. Pretending is the sweeping-under-the-rug of anything that might be considered ugly, dark, or undesirable. It is taking the airbrush to our lives until they are soul-numbingly boring. Pretension is the act of erecting walls between us and other people, or between us and the experience of being alive. It is completely rooted in fear. It blocks the natural flow of our impulses and the generous support we can receive by being permeable. Pretension is isolating.
There is a real sense of life that comes from tearing down those walls. There is a freshness that comes from the ability to relate to people on an even playing field. There is a lightness that comes from not needing to be the good guy or bad girl (or vice versa) but in just being who we are- flaws and all.