Life continues to surprise me with its spontaneity and lack of scheduled plans. It leaves me breathless in awe and reeling with anxiety, depending on the day.
It’s painful, and though I try to push it away, I’m acutely aware that my reality doesn’t match the vision I cut and collage from magazines or conjure up in my dreams and journals. But I’ve never wanted it to end; I’ve always craved more.
These past few months, I’ve repeatedly chosen life, even though it has wounded me. I walk with a limp now, but I continue to embrace every day. I wake up with creaky bones, grasping onto walls and door frames as I move down the hallway of my house and the corridors of my fortieth decade.
I feel both more fragile and stronger than ever before, broken yet healed, ambitious yet relaxed, soft yet resilient, confused yet clear.
I am becoming okay with the complexities of my existence and increasingly convinced that true satisfaction and success lie in returning to simplicity. So, let me greet myself today—Charissa. I welcome all she is right now. In the morning I meet her again. I reintroduce myself to all the other parts because each day reveals another side.
If I ever write a book, I will write from the murky middle, avoiding the traditional approach- to reveal and revel in The Big Transformation. Instead, I will circle around these words from Gautam Baid,
“Each of us forever remains a work in progress- always evolving, ever-changing. We’re all rough drafts of the person we’re still becoming.”
In a rough draft, everything is accepted.
No ideas are crossed out or discarded.
The doorway and subsequent path are wide and expansive.
I resist the niche so many experts swear by.
I push away from the confines of the metaphorical box.
I’ve still made countless efforts to find an elaborate description and title for what I do. I’ve tried on various roles, from writer and coach to realtor, investor, house flipper, artist, and editor.
My business cards read, Realtor. Linkedin mentions I’m an investor, magazine editor, and full-time caregiver. My email signature: Writer | Investor | Realtor. But none of these titles feel quite like me. They don’t capture the birthday parties I plan, the meals I cook, and the strangers I befriend, daily.
No matter how snazzy the words or elegant my about page, it cannot display the full scope of who I am and the way I mother 4 wildlings, tend my tiny garden beds, run miles every morning, read too many books, and strive to live in tune with Mother Earth.
It feels impossible then to try, to gather all these parts into a cohesive package to give to the world. Do I have to?
Walt Whitman correctly diagnoses my perplexing condition, “Very well then, I contradict myself. / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
But experts continue to exert their sage advice- narrow down your audience, specificity brings more shiny success. But how can I follow their instructions when I’m still exploring my own landscapes?
I can’t condense my essence into five flowing sentences or a polished elevator pitch to present to you. This unsettles me, making me feel like the hazy fog rolling in from the ocean or a muddy mess of watercolor paints after a 3-year-old’s creative outburst—undefined, loose, shapeless, soft, vague, and ambiguous.
Someone once warned me against embodying these qualities, claiming that people wouldn’t take me seriously, comparing me to a junk drawer full of odds and ends—rubber bands, rulers, sticky notes, chewed-on pens, abandoned pencils, paper clips, and a lonely lighter.
They will fling the drawer shut, ultimately because they feel confused by the lack of clarity, and then do what I fear the most: walk away.
But could I be okay with being and doing a little bit of everything—taking on a plethora of names, trying on different roles, collecting identities, letting myself seep out beyond self-made boundaries and societal recipes for success, and accepting the myriad twists and turns life presents with fresh curiosity?
Could I (re)discover the joyful simplicity found within a messy, tangled-up drawer full of mismatched items, interesting trinkets, and forgotten treasures?
Would others want to find out what’s inside?
I know I sure do…and isn’t that really all that matters?