I heard someone say this yesterday: “I got swagger.” I thought to myself: “I got swagger, maybe not today, but I got swagger.” Yesterday was a strange day. I felt an array of emotions, from anger, frustration, to laughter, sass, and yes swagger.
How do we keep our swagger? I think of all the people who I have looked up to in my life. Those that have inspired me, made my jaw drop, or just had me often say: Wow. They are the people who make us think differently. A professor in college had swagger. She had a way of making you enamored with her. You wanted her opinion, craved her attention, and missed her when she was not around. She had swagger.
My niece has swagger. I have been watching kids on and off since I was nine. From all the kids I have taken care of, to the 6 week old and up children I took care of at a day care during college, to my friend’s kids, my niece has got it. Of course I am biased, how can I not be, but that kid lights up a room, makes you laugh, and has something very special about her. I mean look at this photo. (She is the blond at the back of the circle of girls that all want to dote on her.) Swagger.
My husband has swagger. I cannot handle frustrating customer service situations. I have lived in that world too long, that when I have a shitty experience I go volatile and cannot handle the fact that I get sub-par service. He handles it with poise, firmness, and patience. That man has swagger.
A friend is going through a hard time in her marriage. She is working it through in her way. She is so selfless at work and with her child. She makes us all laugh, keeps it real, and tells it like it is. She has swagger.
I tell it like it is almost always (I do have a tiny filter when really needed). I suck the life out of my day. I love people, helping them, listening, and doing what I can to be there for them. I am a bit sassy. I got swagger.
My mom’s last words to me were: “You are strong.” Who knows what she meant as I was sixteen and not savvy enough to ask her what she meant by it. Maybe it was her way of telling me to “Be strong.” Or maybe it was to reinforce that she felt I was strong in my bones. I will never know, and maybe it does not even matter. It was the first line of my college entrance essay. I wish I still had a copy of it. I would be curious to know how I had processed the next two years of my life before writing about her to get into college. I think I wanted them to know that I was not just another number, that I had lived a life that many have not before they enter college. I wanted to somehow stand out. I needed to stand out as I had no Plan B. I applied to one college and luckily I got in.
I am rambling though. I recently came across this quote from Brenda Shaughnessy. She is an American poet and trust me, I do not follow her at all because somehow my brain and poetry just do not mix. I have never melded well with poetry or understood it. Sure there are poems that sink into my core and change the way that I look at the world, but most of the time I feel perplexed and wonder how they did it. In any case, I am definitely not into poetry because it took me this long to introduce this quote to you:
“I came to see that what constitutes strength is not just a muscle or will. It can also include the most desperate vulnerability, the saddest heartache, the lightest, sweetest laughter.”
I do not remember how, but this quote came into my inbox last week, and stuck with me. I had to share it. So often we think others are strong because they have been through so much (I get that from time to time based on my past). Sometimes we might think someone is strong because they consistently stick to a routine or a workout schedule. Maybe they get up at 4 am to ensure that they have the opportunity to push themselves and their bodies before the rest of their family wakes up and starts the day.
I have written quite a few posts on vulnerability. It is a word that energizes me. There is something about being vulnerable that gives an aura of strength. It says that person is not afraid to put oneself out there and be granted with whatever reaction is returned. Whether they share the scary parts of their life, their saddest and lowest parts, or as Shaughnessy says: the parts that bring laughter. I will give you an example.
A few weeks ago I was traveling with a colleague and my boss. We were walking through the airport to our gate and talking. I was following both of them (both are men) and as they each walked into the bathroom I started to follow them in, only to realize I was walking into the men’s restroom. Ooops. Luckily I caught myself in time, reversed course and moved on to the women’s bathroom. They both had a good laugh and via text it got back to my other co-workers. I could have either be completely embarrassed and devastated, or just rolled with it. I rolled with it and had a good laugh with them.
Sometimes being vulnerable brings us to our strength, whether through tears or laughter.
Oh man. I am cracking up. This would be so fun. A Facebook friend shared this video for: “Bubble Football.” It is where soccer players play inside inflatable bouncy suits. Watch a bit of the video and you will be laughing so hard. I want to try it! It looks like it would be so freeing and fun to move around in a bubble (isn’t that what so many folks do anyway)? HA! After a few Internet searches, I was not able to find any local facilities that allow me to embark on such fun! It looks like it is mostly available in the UK and Europe. Maybe this will be a side venture at World Cup this summer?
Seriously, it was like watching a video of a baby that cannot stop laughing. Each time I watch them chase the ball, and then knock into each other, I giggled a bit, and thought I WANT TO DO THAT!
I have written often over the past year about energy. What energy do you bring into a room, a group of people, a home, your place of work? I constantly go back to the idea of energy and how we always have control over our own and how we allow it to ooze, and cover whatever we touch. Some days the sun is shining brightly and it brings a smile to your face and that energy is spread to everyone else. Those are the good days and that is the energy that is contagious. Other days we step in gum, cannot find a parking spot, and feel our energy is just off, and sometimes that bummer day is spread to everyone else.
I love this quote about energy from a Daily Om “A Question of Balance.” While it talks about intimate relationships, it actually really applies to any relationship:
“One of the most beautiful qualities of an intimate relationship is the give and take of energy that occurs between two people.”
Whether the relationship is with a co-worker, a close friend, a sibling, or significant other, the energy you share with them matters. Think about how it feels when you walk into a room and you feel completely welcome. There is a warm and happy glow. Do you ever think about the energy you give, or what you bring to each interaction? How does your energy level, your positive (or negative) emotions bring others up or down? Do you come into situations with the intent to help elevate others, or do you intend to bring them down?
At times I feel like a sponge, absorbing the energy around me. What takes the most energy and effort is to walk into a room of negativity, and gloom and keep yourself above it while also attempting to elevate or raise the energy and emotion of others. It tends to be easier to join a negative environment then it is to raise the bar from negative to positive. A happy and positive environment is always easy to join, as I said before, it is contagious.
Bring on a positive, slap happy, environment full of laughter. I will be there with you any day.
I was taking a hot salt bath the other day, and closed my eyes and relaxed. Allowing myself to not think about the endless chatter happening in my head, I just soaked and, for the first time in a while, breathed. As I lay in the steaming hot water (I like it scalding) I realized it had been a long time since I had sat quietly and just noticed my own breathing. Yes, far too long. We should be taking moments each day to stop, be quiet, and notice the rhythm of our thoughts.
Things have felt a bit stressful lately, and then I realized there are 2 days left of February. How is that possible? Somehow throughout our crazy ass days life just keeps going on. The question I ask myself is: is it all worth it? Are we enjoying ourselves? Are we getting enough sleep, downtime, and moments (or hours) to be playful? Or is the grind dragging you down? I was feeling uninspired, and that there just is not enough time in the day. And then…
I watched Jimmy Fallon. I was a fan of his show before, and I love that he is now taking over The Tonight Show. He is clever, ingenuous, creative, and not afraid to do anything. You might be thinking: “what does Jimmy Fallon have to do with getting out of the funk?” I will explain. We were watching Jimmy interview and continuously laugh his ass off with Justin Timberlake, and I was transfixed. They were hilarious. They had so much fun, were playing off each other, and it was never in a way of one-upping the other, it was a complete partnership of fun, creative banter, and trying to make the other laugh. We could not stop laughing. I WANT THAT. I want to bring more of that into my life.
While I am not hosting The Tonight Show, I am pondering what I can do in my own life to let go of the funk, be more playful, fun to be around, creative, and try to make others laugh. Life is too short without laughing so hard you cry.