“If you can be anything be a ____.”

Be a bird.

Be a bug.

Be a mom.

Be a hero.

Be an ass.

Be a jerk.

Be a kid.

Be a student.

Be a master.

Be a slave.

Be a product of your own imagination.

Hmm…there’s a good one.

I can’t say what you should be if you could be anything. I mean, if I told you to be a hero, maybe you’d argue that isn’t what you want to be. Even if I could come up with the perfect thing, with all the reasons and arguments for it, you’d probably be unhappy being that.

So…be a product of your own imagination. Dream it up and be it. Find out what it takes and do it.

What would I be if I could be anything? I’m thinking about that. There are several ways we could go here. Philosophical, fantastical, poetic, romantic. If I could be anything I’d just be me, but without the self-conscious part of me. I’d like that part of me that makes me worry what people think magically removed and thrown into the fire. That part that says, “No, Michelle, don’t. Just keep those words to yourself. If you say that, everyone will be angry with you.” That piece of me that says, “You can’t. You don’t know how. You’re not good at that.” Take that away too and I’ll just happily bob along without a care in the world.

If I were self-assured and confident, I’d be able to go anywhere and do anything without the fear of looking like an idiot. I could ask a question in a classroom. Hell, I could take a class, maybe even discuss philosophical ideas with peers. I could invite a friend out to go shopping and try on interesting clothing, just to see how it looks. I could sit in the park under a tree with a book and big cup of coffee and read without worrying that people think I’m weird. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

If I could be anything, I’d be a bird, probably a big bird with few predators. I’d fly high up into the sky and look down on the world and wonder, “Where could I go today?” Birds probably don’t adventure, test out their flying skills, or see how far they can go, but I would. I’d stand on something really tall and fall off, plummet to the ground headfirst, and then spread my wings at the last minute and soar to the rooftops again. I’d spend my whole day flying as far as I can in one direction just to watch the land beneath me change. I’ve always wanted to fly.

If I could be anything, I’d be a kind person, the loving person, the person people go to for help and comfort. I’m afraid my compassion skills are fake, my friends. When you’re troubled, I really just want to tell you to get over it and move on. When I do something nice for others, it’s because it’s easy and/or convenient. I’m not a good listener. I tend to hear you out a bit and then tell you how I dealt with a similar situation, and then walk away if you get emotional.

I know lots of people think I am genuinely kind and attentive, but it’s an act that I put on for as long as I can stand it. Most of the time, I avoid real connection with people so that I don’t have to deal with them. That’s why I like text and social media so much. It puts a kind of permeable wall between me and my friends, one that I can see through and sometimes communicate through but can shut down and walk away from at any moment.

Honestly, I can only maintain a hand-full of deeper relationships and right now, my dance card is full.

If I could be anything, I guess I’d just want to be the real me without the fear of being judged and dismissed.

What if I went on one of those spirit quests like you see in movies? I’d sit in a dark hut and smoke something serious…then let my mind wander. Where would I go? Probably down a dark nasty path and find out that in my heart of hearts, I’m am an axe murder, a sociopath that really cannot grasp that other people have their own lives, that they matter too.

I don’t believe I am a nice person at heart and that scares me. What if someone finds out who I really am?