As a kid, I often heard: “Don’t be full of yourself.”
I remember my mom sitting on the hamper beside the tub as I took a bath.
Holding out my arm to her I said “Look at my tan!” My parents worshipped the sun.
“Lisa,” she said. “Don’t be so vain.”
“You’re So Vain” was on one of our six 8 track cassettes and I knew every word, would sing along and ponder its meaning, staring out the car window. (The song has a very cool intro.)
Our family had an unspoken mantra: Even if you’re good at something, don’t show it. Make yourself small so no one can cut you down.
Decades later, when I picked my daughter up from pre-school, I asked her teacher, “How’d it go today?”
Our beloved Gay Gay replied,
“It was great! Your daughter is so full of herself!”
She smiled her huge smile and laughed her cackling laugh, like this was news to be celebrated!
Her words and positive energy seared into my brain.
This new interpretation felt like a window opening letting a cool breeze into a hot yoga studio.
“It was great! She is so full of herself!”
Here was my daughter: a self-possessed three year old, full of her interests, her curiosity, her body, her life… full of herself!
This past weekend, driving home from a glorious walk along the San Francisco Bay, I listened to my friend Suzie telling a story and the old expression escaped her lips: “So and so is so full of themselves” and not in a good way.
Remembering Gay Gay and my epiphany that day, I interrupted Suzie, “Wouldn’t it be great if we were all full of ourselves?! Isn’t that what we want because, sh*t, what’s the alternative?”
She squeezed my arm. “You’re right. If we’re empty — void of ourselves — then who or what will fill us? Whatever comes along and these days there’s too much bad stuff to fill us if we don’t fill it with ourselves.”
Here’s the bee in my bonnet for the start of 2022…. Let’s all be full of ourselves and encourage that in the ones we love.
I aspire to be more full of myself this year and invite you to do the same. I don’t know exactly what that will look like, but I’m excited to pay attention and find out.
Please let me know what it looks like for you!