I’m on a weekend adventure in Seattle visiting my husband’s daughter. We got here early Friday and had some time before we connected so a visit to Pike’s Place Market seemed like a perfect way to spend the morning. It was. Crazy as it is, I love perusing all the booths, looking at the beautiful, brightly colored, flowers, avoiding getting hit by a flying salmon. It’s all part of the experience.
I also dragged my husband to Post Alley, aka, Bubblegum Alley. If you’re not familiar, it’s a narrow alley with high building walls on either side which have been covered over the years with gum. Yes, gum. Every type of gum imaginable I think, all different colors, sizes… it’s extremely colorful if you can get past how gross it is to be surrounded by partially chewed gum.
As I was looking at it, I started thinking about how each of those pieces of gum contained a fingerprint. A person had stuck each piece to the wall. A life was represented by each sticky, sugary piece. Their unique fingerprint left to harden along with the gum on the side of a building in Seattle.
Ok, for just one second my mind started thinking of the crime fighting possibilities and fingerprint ID…too much binge watching of the old show Psych…but I digress.
What I really thought about was the life story of those people. Who were they? Why were they in Seattle? What were they doing that day they came to the alley?
And I thought about my own life. Beyond what I was doing that day, I thought about the impact of my own life. I listened to a great interview the other day with Elizabeth Gilbert. One of the many things she talked about was being the kind of person who comes alongside others. The one who will be in the trenches when life is hard. I was drifting a bit when she brought up how being a perfectionist gets in the way of that. What? My interest snapped back…I’m a recovering perfectionist so I wanted to hear what she had to say.
Perfectionism can get in the way of being the go to person. The one people go to when their lives are a hot mess. When they’re struggling to keep it together. If you’re a perfectionist, people might think you’re not approachable, that you can’t relate, that you might judge.
I’ve sat with that idea and it’s what came up, standing there in the middle of all that gum, all those fingerprints. I thought about my own life and how I want to show up for others. I’m a go to person for information, but am I the one whose approached when life is hard? Would I be the one a friend would pick up the phone to call when they are in a shame spiral?
For me it comes back to authenticity. My unique fingerprint and the impression it leaves. I don’t need for people to come to me when life is hard. What I want is for others to know that I’m a hot mess and I’ve been there. My life has been a series of lessons, oftentimes learned the hard way. I can relate.
I believe the best way we can show up for each other, the best way we can be in each other’s lives is to own our stuff and be brave enough to just be with others. To know that we don’t have to solve, or fix…in fact the opposite is what is needed. For each of us to know that we’ve all been a hot mess. To say otherwise wouldn’t be true, wouldn’t be authentic. How that manifests in our relationships is part of the journey. If we can be brave and own our own stuff, and come alongside others, with love and kindness rather than opinions or fixing…that’s the good stuff.
As you go about your life today, I encourage you to think about your fingerprint. Let it be a representation of the real you, the authentic you…leaving an impression of love with the lives you touch today.