Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Becoming Me — Breaking the rules, yet again

Whose dogs are these anyway?
Achieve. What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

One of my favorite movies in the last few years is Becoming Jane. It is of course about Jane Austen, the world that made her into the sister, the daughter, the writer she would become. I always cry at the end in part because of the love story, how she let go of the love of her life — sometimes you just have to let go, to become — and how years later he comes back to hear her read and brings his daughter (spoiler alert!!!) whom he has named for his own lost love. But I also cry for the writer. About how it takes that letting go of the very things she loves the most, to become who she is meant to be.

To say that I identify with this story on many levels is too obvious. Though a big difference is that though I did leave one love in my life a very long time ago, I found another, and he's going to gripe about taking the Christmas tree down in a couple of days, but he is walking one granddog right now who became ours a couple of years ago, and another who will be going back to NYC on Friday — and I didn't have to ask him to. This from a man who didn't really like dogs when we first met, but gave me one anyway, just because I did.

And that old love? He loved dogs, so much so that he took back a dog I gave him once because he was not in a position to take care of it. He had sons, though I doubt seriously whether he would ever have named one of his children after me if he had had a daughter. And he has never once shown up at one of my author events, though his wife did buy a book from me for a Christmas present the year my first book came out.

James McElvoy in Becoming Jane

But back to Becoming Jane. Standing there with his curly locks looking a little bit like that boy I knew in the 70s, James McElvoy just pulls all the tears I have inside me right on out.

That boy from my high school and college days became himself once we broke up, not somebody I tried to make him to be. Come to think of it, he actually always was himself, never pretending, like I often was (am).  

And me: I sort of became myself. 

But here's the thing: I think there is more to me than I realize, and some of it isn't as good as I would like. So that's what I want to achieve in 2011. To become me, finally, at 53. (Ok, so I will be 54 in 2011, but not until WAY into the year.) And I have a feeling if I do that, finally become me, it might affect more people than just me. (Not that I have that much influence or anything, but still.)

* I want to become, the me who: 
creates more honestly; who gives love without worrying about the crusty patches on my skin or the fact that my eyes don't look so good through my glasses; who drops everything for a friend, even when I don't feel like it or have something else to do; who picks up after myself (I mean really, how many receipts do I need to save? And when am I finally going to put my shoes away?). The me who arrives early and prepared so she will never have that dream again about showing up in class without her homework. The me who forgives, especially when I REALLY don't feel like it, the me who finally forgives myself. The me who picks up where she left off on so many, many things. Who finishes, finally, what she has started. Who calls her sister. And her brother. and her sisters-in-law, more often. Who stands in her own skin and does not say "I wish I were", or  'I ate too many Cloo's French Fries so that's why I have this muffin top.' The girl who starts to get rid of that muffin top, no excuses.

To become that girl, that woman. And then move along.

So that's it. Become. Just a word, but one with so much possibility. 

Put it out there: I want to become... it can mean anything in the world, anything at all.

How will that make me feel? Who knows. Try it with me. Just try.  Become...  you'll see. And maybe I will too.

* It sounds a little bit the Sammy Davis Jr version of "I Gotta Be Me", which apparently you can get on a ring tone on your cell.