Friday, September 18, 2009

Five rules of the world; or, Show up for your life and don't be ashamed

I recently got involved with Facebook, for a lot of reasons, which has kept me away from here. One of the reasons is Facebook's encouragement of short, quick pieces. But here's an excerpt from Anne Lamotte's wonderful little book, Operating Instructions that was too long for a status update. The book is essentially a journal of the first year of her life as a mother to her son, Sam. I liked it very much, and it's so typical of Lamotte's wonderful writing. (I've loved hearing her on the radio for years, but have begun to read her only in the last few weeks.)

It's a short chapter dated November 4, and is on page 100:
I had a session over the phone with my therapist today. I have these secret pangs of shame about being single, like I wasn't good enough to get a husband. Rita reminded me of something I'd told her once, about the five rules of the world as arrived at by this Catholic priest named Tm Weston. The first rule, he says, is that you must not have anything wrong with you or different. The second one is that if you do have something wrong with you, you must get over it as soon as possible. The third rule is that if you can't get over it, you must pretend that you have. The fourth rule is that if you can't even pretend that you have, you shouldn't show up. You should stay home, because it's hard for everyone else to have you around. And the fifth rule is that if you are going to insist on showing up, you should at least have the decency to feel ashamed.
So Rita and I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed.