After much joyful anticipating, I went to the Wonder woman opening the other night, expecting to be totally delighted and immersed and thrilled. Except, I couldn't stop thinking about cucumbers. Specifically monkeys, and cucumbers. And when I left I was wicked, inexplicably sad.
I'll get to that in a minute.
Most of you know I'm on a longform joy pilgrimage, to see what there is to see about and from the depths of joy, not to avoid other emotions,
but to be honest about my preferences: all things freaking considered, I'd really rather be happy.
The walking of this "joy" pilgrimage has taken me to any manner of really uncomfortable revelations (wait, I'm lying about very very essential parts of my own beingness and this is why that relationship failed! WHAT???? Now what do I do with all that cozy blame I've been back packing around my life for a decade?)
And, seeing, letting myself feel what I feel, learning, o o o O SO SLOWLY to love all the bits that compose the kaleidoscope I think of as a self,
results in a very cleaned up availability to more fully and honestly experience the joy of my own existence.
Gosh, I just want to savor that sentence, a thousand life times deep. My very capacity for joyful engagement with the essence of existence gets bigger every time I get realer. How very hallelujah of it.
But all that honesty, all that slowness, all that showing the fuck up can be a bit of a downer when you're smack dabadooby in some unraveling. Wonder woman beauty perfect face brought just such a gift to my door.
As the marvelous film went on I noticed a growing tension in me,
On one end was the joy of watching a woman step into her hero's journey with real vim and vigor, and much badassedness. The joy I felt for this was pure. And resonant with my own little hero heart.
Go girl go, all of us.
And pulling hard in the other direction was a very real confusion around the impossible beauty standard the film plays in. The warrior is heedless of other's attention, and spends all her time focusing on her journey, yet she is in full make up, full greased up, with a body that takes hours a day to achieve. All the women were that way and it started to get under my skin, and realized that this was what my joy was drawing me to have a deeper experience with.
I started to feel like the monkey with the cucumber who's seen a grape and now wants to burn down the city. Remember that study?
A researcher has a monkey doing a card trick in exchange for a slice of cucumber and the monkey was happily and willingly doing this, until, until, he saw a monkey friend getting a grape for the same card trick.
at which point Cucumber Monkey freaked the butt out and wouldn't have any of it anymore.
And me too, when I saw all these lassies up on the screen all glistening and ripped and polished and glistening and cellulite free and glossy of lip and dewy of cheek (you get the point) I found myself wanting to hurl my cucumbers back into the face of life.
The cucumbers were my own precious and hard won alignment with my unique spark as a human, my own deeply examined and mostly honestly-enjoyed sense of my own luminosity. And all the freaking work I'd done to be able to experience life as an infinite human and not a beauty object, all of it flew out the window and seemed useless and somehow really dumb.
I just wanted to glisten. And have swooshy hair. I wanted the grape.
I went home a little shell shocked by how easily unsettled my alignment with my core essential self seemed to be. I fell asleep sad.
The next morning, my daughter and I curled up in a bookstore and the book above my head was an exploration of what happens when anyone gives a rip what anyone else things of them, to the detriment of their own joyous immersion and ability to really show up for their experience. It was called "Beauty Sickness" and discussed the challenge gals in America face but what I heard was deeply personal and very important in my joy pilgrimage.
My joy brought me butt to butt with a habitual way of thinking that always sent me reeling, far, far from where my real joy lives.
I can't consider what the culture at large is or isn't doing about beauty (grape) or what Wonderwoman does or doesn't do with her abs (grape) or what all the men of the world think of grapes or even of me. When I try to consider those things I forfeit my ability to truly consider my life's work, my own joyful engagement with the real threads, the ones that are begging a weaving through me, and need my full and uncompromised, ungrape-envious attention in order to become the gifts I came here to give,
That morning I came back to the cucumbers of my own alignment with my way of being a human in this world and I was proud and refreshed in a new, less comparey than ever way.
I could enjoy the diversity of expression and find beauty beneath the surface of the various expressions, a lingering glowing kind of beauty, that feels really soft and okay just as it is.