How not “doing it all” makes your Muppets happy
The muppets in my brain went something like this:
Kermit: “I did not know that, that is amazing!”
Janice: “Wow – being a physio is cooooool!”
Fozzie: “Wait, HE said something amazing, he knows stuff too! I’d better be an RMT, too. No, wait, wait, really maybe med school! Yes, be a doctor!”
Animal: “An-i-mal! An-i-mal!”
Beaker: Eeeep, eeep, eeeeep!
Kermit: “Can I do that and work at the same time?”
Miss Piggie: “Moi? I can do anything!”
Finally, I intervene in exasperation: “Gang! We are not going to med school.”
They hang their heads in disaapointment, “Awwwwwwww…”
“At least,” I concede, “Not now.”
This muppet fantasy, which I can’t entirely shake, is that somehow I can do it all. Or learn it all. And if I learn it all, then I will be okay. Then I will be worthy, respectable, infallible. The knowledge in my brain will somehow protect me from all bad things (shame, ridicule, falling down in public, farting in public).
We all have our muppet fantasies, where we miraculously get “that thing” that we need and then the world falls into place. For some of us, it’s about getting enough knowledge in our brains to feel perfect, for others it’s about getting the right job, the best relationship, the ideal house. Usually we are “here” and this fantasy involves a mysterious “there” that isn’t quite reachable. Back at the workshop, Diane and LJ were speaking about community.
“So we can send someone to you and you’ll understand when we say that this is the primary driver. Or when you send a client to us, you can say, this client is having trouble in utkatasana and hip flexion movements. Then we can work together and…”
My muppets and I look up.
So…not do it all? Just do my thing?
What if I let go of the fantasy that I have to know it all in order to be “good”, and rather embrace my own niche? Not only would this keep me out of school – and debt – for the rest of my life, but it would also allow me to help people more effectively by honoring the specialized skills that I already have. And then I could actually have a life occasionally (read trashy vampire books, see people, go to the beach, breathe) rather than fretting about everything that must be done to get me to my elusive and safe “there.”
My muppets are nodding.
Piggie: (flipping her hair) I like to read trashy vampire novels.
Fozzie: Then we can tell jokes!
Sam the Eagle: A very good idea.
Me: Gang, then we can do what we do well, and let other people do what they do well. And work together. And everyone wins.
Kermit (worried): But what about learning? (He looks at the other muppets.) We like learning.
Me: Or course keep learning! I mean, there’s so much I don’t know. But you know…maybe I don’t need to be a doctor.
Kermit (nods): That sounds good to me.
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew: You don’t need to be a doctor. I am already a doctor.
The Pilates teacher next me whispers, “I’ve been thinking about doing my Yoga Teacher Training, I think that would be a great next step!” And I smile.
Because I think I can help her out.