Even from an early age, I was an outlaw...a rebel...a rockstar.
At 5 years old, I was heartbroken because my mom wouldn't buy me the new KISS record that had just been released. Heartbroken. That next week we were to take our favorite record to Pre-K to share with our class, and I wanted to take Love Gun to my little Walden Oaks classmates. But even at that age, I was rock-blocked. By my mom, no less. It's always simply been in my blood. It was more than the music I loved, it was in my determination to run, not walk....to blaze a trail where there was no path....to excel and expedite even when it landed me in hot water. I was brilliant and, thus, easily bored. In second grade, I stayed in trouble because I would finish my classwork accurately and so much earlier than my peers that, in my genuine desire to help others, I would turn around and start finishing the work for my classmates. When I was told I wasn't allowed to do their work for them, I changed my tune and simply sauntered to the back of the room where I would occupy myself by standing on my head.
This is not fiction. This is my life.
That trend continued throughout my life. For those authority figures around me, the easiest solution was to tell me to settle down, right? I mean, that's the real problem. I had too much energy. I was too into everything. I was unsettled. My mind was too active. Bullshit. How do you tell someone their brain is too active or that they have too much energy??? Yet, I was told that by teachers and leaders of all kinds. Every day. There's no such thing as too much energy. There's no way someone's brain is too active. Maybe those who's brain isn't active enough, but not too active.
It was years later when I came to a couple of realizations that revolutionized my own life and how I understand it.
#1 I don't need taming. I need tending.
I used to think that words like integrity and honor meant living up to some standard that was arbitrarily imposed upon "good boys and girls". I bought the lie that said to have integrity meant to ascribe to some list of do's and don'ts. While it may be true that having integrity involves a certain code of conduct, that code is first and foremost the one inscribed upon my heart and yours. Who I am is to flow out of how I was created to relate to the world around me. I don't need to be tamed into being someone I'm not. I've tried hard for YEARS to live down to that standard. I won't do it any longer. I need to tend to the nuances of my soul and live the way I was meant to live. If that means some won't understand it, then in compassion I will honor that, but I will not capitulate to it. I will not allow their lack of understanding to undercut my will and purpose.
Each of us has a tendency to tame the things that either scare us, challenge us, or simply confuse us. I'm a visual person and when someone is trying to describe something to me too quickly, surpassing my mental speed and I find I'm not able to keep up with them, I often say, "Wait, wait, wait...hang on...say that again?" My attempts to tame them to conform to my limitations are a pretty normal thing, I hope. Finding middle ground when two people communicate is helpful. Healthy even. However, attempting to find some middle ground of compromise as a means to shove my life or yours into someone's box is purely and simply bassackwards.
#2 Don't slow me down. Get out of my way.
If I am created for running at 70mph and choose instead to jog at 15mph, that's not moderation or good behavior...that's simply a lack of integrity. Having integrity means running full steam ahead if that's what I was born to do. Now, just because I run at such a speed doesn't mean that either you should or that I should use my destiny to evaluate or judge yours. That would be just as damaging and derailing as you trying to tame me. Don't slow me down and I promise to not rush you. Then, we both get to go at our own pace, doing our own thing.
On their album, Psychotic Supper, Tesla has a song called "Don't De-Rock Me." Granted, it's a full-on, 80s/90s rock anthem that has simplistic, yet profound, lyrics even if the title scores a 9.8 on the silliness scale. My favorite line in the whole song is probably my favorite Tesla lyric of all time: "Life's like a highway, we're all trying to stay on time. Travel at your own speed. You take your lane, I'll take mine." There's some solid truth that we all would do well to live by right there. Good stuff.
Just remember: You don't need taming.