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day 1129: leggo my ego

New Year's Day 2014. Two. Thousand. And. Four. Teen. I'm having a bit of a Bridget Jones moment, seeking to chronicle the calories I consumed, the cigarettes I (wished I had) smoked, the moments of mirror-facing melancholy and reflection, the crash of new tidal waves and old ones, the shock and the ho-hum of new freaking omg-ing years.

So here we are.

And as I do this kind of reflection, I think of the inflection points all around us, these junctures, joints, meetings of this and that; and I wonder: is it any coincidence in this year of conjoints and disjoints that this is the year my literal joints have started to hurt? That I'm more acutely aware of my knees than I ever have been? That I sleep with a pillow beneath my knees - larger and more fluffier than the one beneath my head, in the vain hope that this night, opposed to all the nights before it, they may feel less punctuated, less pressured, less piqued than they did the night before?

(And I realize [much to my chagrin] - yes, it's just a coincidence. My knees are not a metaphorical sign of the inflections of my life. They are merely reminding me that they're there and they're older. Bummer. I was hoping for a deeper meaning than that.)

So back to Bridget Jones. Today I ate two baby pancakes with a dollop of syrup, one crispy slice of bacon and some coffee. Just as easily I could have had a waffle. An eggo, which brings us to our post.

I have friends, who like to drop gauntlets. Who like to make commitments, out loud, in front of others, to declare their unabashed fearlessness to get a goal done, even when they're shaking in their boots, even when they know not what they do. And that's super cool to be on the receiving end of, so long as there's no expectation of reciprocity, no hope for a saw to their see, no ante up.

Only my friends don't roll like that, and if they're going to throw down, well you should at least have the moxie to throw right back.

Recently, I went to a panel discussion on all things "leaning in" - featuring three women, at different points in their career and different levels of household management and family partnership - telling us what leaning in really means to them. And one of the women's comments stuck with me the most:

"It's a little bit about who you're being."

Now this is a woman who's fairly bad ass in her job, and I would imagine in her larger life. She was spewing wisdom like candy out of a pinata, and the crowd was lapping it up.

"It's a little bit about who you're being" has stayed with me like the whisper weight of a veil, like the patch I used to wear behind my ear before a flight so I wouldn't puke - seeping into my bloodstream slowly but substantively until the medicine made my body ok with the tumult of flight.

"What do you want to be?" my friend asked me. I didn't have a great answer back then; and I think part of the reason might be because I was asking the wrong the question. "Who do you want to be, Maria?" might have been more a propos.

I told my friend that I worry about me, that I have a hard time sometimes articulating what I want to be or where I want to be because it is wrapped up not in what I empirically want or desire, but (gulp) in where I feel the most valued. Indeed, where others might want me to be, rather than where I want to be myself. Hell, I need the edification of others' boosts for me to make me feel like I'm home. And at this inflection point, I am lost more in the noise of where my ego feels most fed, rather than where I might learn the most, might risk the most, might grow.

That is just so. not. hot. In fact, on the greater pendulum of things, that leaves me more "saw" than "see", more Bridget than Sheryl, more me.

But as my friend wisely told me, the truth is: we all want to be wanted. As creatures, as humans, as lovers, as leaders - we all want to be wanted. The trick is knowing enough about the deepest pit of yourself to ensure that not only do you not get lost, you emerge - like "Lynda-Carter-Wonder-Woman-out-of-water-emerge" in the process.

Yes, indeed it's a lot about who you're being. And on the teeter between this moment and that, this step and that leap, this faith and that fact, I need to leggo my ego, and step with intention into my choices, into the balance, into who I want to be.

Scratch that, into who I am. Wish me luck.

Maria Kim