I think anyone who has ever been alive has felt small at some point. I don’t mean small in stature (although that too), but that somehow his or her existence on Earth felt insignificant. Here is where I confess that I felt small this week.
My parents’ recently sent all of my old work clothes and I’ve been staring at them in my closet. The expensive Banana Republic skirts, designer high heels, and impeccable suits I wore naturally four years ago seem to be mocking my life now. It seems if I put them on now they would look silly (although thinking back, maybe they always did). Seeing them now is somehow bringing up a feeling of unworthiness in me. They remind me of a time when I felt somehow more important than I do now. A time when I had a job, with a good salary, and an office of my own (one that is comparable to the size of my apartment now).
As I look at them now I stare around my studio apartment without a job or consistent income, or even a place to wear them, and I can’t help but feel small. I yearn for a job to wear them to, one that makes me feel important. Truth be told, I miss feeling important, even if it was false. My ego tells me I’m not important anymore, I don’t write speeches for the Mayor or have people be jealous of my job. No one is jealous of me now, says my ego. I am unemployed and studying things no one cares about. I keep hoping my ego had died by now, but that sense of wanting to be someone, of feeling powerful may never go away. There may always be a voice that feels not good enough or surprised that people want to be my friend, let alone date me. I have barely touched my thesis the past month, the one thing I’m supposed to be good enough at to do full-time right now. So yes, I feel unworthy sometimes.
Truth be told, I may never be famous, or wear the suits again. I long for the day when I’m satisfied with the humanness and ordinariness of this life. This life that is mine, where I am large and worthy. Bit by bit, unemployed and seemingly insignificant to the rest of the world I feel I’m finally living into my importance. I’m just an ordinary human being doing the best I can to remind myself of my divinity and importance in a world where I am one among many. Where who I am matters more than what I have or what I do.
Even typing these words now I know I don’t truly believe them, but I had to put words to this experience. To what I believe is a universal human experience, even to those unwilling to admit it. Ultimately worthiness and importance, like stars are all in perspective. From the vantage point of Earth, stars appear to be the size of pencil tip. However, up close they are a billion times (okay, just did more research and even larger than that, a number so large I can’t fathom it) larger than a human being. So yes, I sometimes feel small because in some perspectives I am. However, up close when I am with me and only me without comparison to other bodies or stars, I can be large. So, when another week like this hits (because it most likely will) where I feel insignificant, may I remember that the unseeable parts of my life and me are large and worthy and incredible.
[Photo: Ioana Moldovan]