In Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic, Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat provides some of the most impressive advice (I believe) in literary history. The passage reads:
"`Cheshire Puss,' [Alice] began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. `Come, it's pleased so far,' thought Alice, and she went on.
`Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
`I don't much care where--' said Alice.
`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
`--so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
`Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.'
`But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
`How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
`You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'”
As I have read, and re-read (and re-read) this passage, I have come to the conclusion that I am much more like Alice than I thought and much more like her than I ever wanted to be.
When I was younger I had my entire life planned out for me – mostly by my mother. That being said, I was convinced that what my parents wanted for me was equally what I wanted for me, too. It really wasn’t too much of a push on their part, I’m sure. I’m a people pleaser and at the top of my list is my family.
But, anyway, as I have fallen away from the nitty-gritty, day-to-day expectations that have been a part of my life for so many years, AND as I have grown to embrace my individuality in all of its many forms, I realized that I have been wandering for the last several years. Wandering in one random direction or another, just hoping to be able to find ____________ (someone to love me, someone for me to love, someone to accept me, a job I WANT to work, peace, happiness, joy, etc.). Wandering in any given direction to merely find myself among the “mad,” never really happy with where I’m at.
I’ve known for some time that I wasn’t going to be able to follow in the direction and expectations my family has pushed on me but, even with that realization, it is still hard to accept my individual responsibility to choose my own path and live my own life. So, today, I am going to lay down my own desires as the framework for my new life direction.
- I want to be loved and to love. I have so much love to share and I want to love someone with all of my heart. I want to be able to share my life with someone who also wants to share his with me. I’ve had this once and it was wonderful when it was good and terrible when it was bad. I want to find that one special someone who wants me too. Sometimes the loneliness is crippling and I don’t know what I’m going to do. All I can do now, though, is be patient and make myself the best, most desirable me I can be.
- I want a family. A real one. Not a second-class one that has to be called something else. I want to be with one person through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Through sickness and health. I want to be with someone forever. I want to be a dad with kids who love me and know that I love them.
- I want a house, a garden, and someday I want a small ranch with cattle and horses, too.
- I want to live authentically without fear of retribution at work and at home.
- Ultimately, I want to be me. The man I’ve buried yet fantasized about becoming since I was 12 years old. I’m sick and tired of running. I’m tired of hiding. I’m tired of being half a person.
My time is coming, and my path is set. Some days I walk quickly, others more slowly, but I have followed the Cat’s direction and I know where I want to go. I know how I need to get there, and I’m one my way.
I hope you have a wonderful week and I love all of you!
PS – This isn’t the original post I wanted to share with you. I decided to post that on my personal blog ( http://mcwilleyfactor.com ) because I felt like I needed to share the above post here, for whatever reason. If you feel like reading up on my passion for shoes and my dissection of an old expression, check out it out. Love ya!