A while ago, a friend I knew in university re-connected with me on Facebook. In the course of that first flurry of emails back and forth, she commented that I seemed to have a “charmed life”.
I’ve been thinking about that ever since. I’ve started this blog post several times in draft, and I’ve ruminated on what part of it seemed to be sticking to me — was it the charmed part of it? The guilt I felt when I agreed it was charmed, my slight frisson of schadenfreude-y pleasure at the comment? Maybe it was a tiny bit of impostor-syndrome? Maybe it’s all of the above. Whatever it was, something started to niggle.
There are days when it all feels like a house of cards. Days, you know, when I fixate on the things I could do better, or on the things I haven’t done. Other days, I think I’ve actually earned this charmed and charming life I have — I have, for the most part, worked very hard to make it all what it is.
I was thinking that charms are a sort of fairy tale magical token – like Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, or Bilbo Baggins’ ring, for example. Seems to me that charm isn’t something to trust — there’s always another side to it. Having a lucky charm means that the luck leaves if you lose the charm, right? It all feels very tenuous, this charm business. If someone is charming, it is something I tend to mistrust — is it authentic? There’s definitely an appeal, but it’s something I feel almost like I have to watch out for. Certainly, that charm of Bilbo’s carried a price with it, didn’t it?
So, where does that leave me? Really, it was just a throw-away comment — it shouldn’t have stuck with me, right? Maybe I just need to stop over-thinking?
There’s something worth looking into here. There’s a kind of fear lurking there. But of what? Am I afraid that I’ll lose my charm? My… what, my lucky ring?
Interesting idea. This “charmed” life that we have began when we met and joined our lives together. It has been built, the hard way, with lots of work and commitment, and sacrifice. There has been a lot of crap along the way, but it passes. There have been challenges, and tears, and they pass. If there is a magic something-or-other in all of this, I guess our wedding rings are good enough to serve, but oh, it’s such a clichéd conceit — a cheap symbol for a chicken-soup type of blog….that’s not my style.
Maybe that’s what’s bothering me too — there’s no magic in this life we have; not lucky rabbit’s foot/magic bean kind of magic, anyway. The charm isn’t in the ring(s). It’s in this life we’ve built. The charm, I suspect, is also in my obvious and joyful glee with it. I’m in love with it, most days.
I’m glad to think about this. When I started writing this today I was feeling decidedly un-charmed. It hasn’t been a great month, frankly. Lots of stuff going on; annoyances and petty frustrations and feeling unconnected. There are some potentially un-petty issues that we’re all as a family going to have to problem solve and work together on. When I started writing this, it all felt pretty hard. Too hard.
Life is hard sometimes and nobody ever told me it wasn’t supposed to be. I guess, sometimes I forget that, though. It’s not aberrant for there to be stuff to deal with…. that’s the norm! I forget, sometimes — partly because I am so blessed (charmed?) — that this is part of the whole range of life’s stuff. It’ll all pass and on the other side of it we’ll have people saying to us “wow, you have a charmed life!”
Life isn’t always suffering, no more than it’s all rainbows and unicorns. But it is hard sometimes to be human, and hard to love, and so hard to do all that we should do. There are days when it’s easier to feel like it’s all awful, like we were unfairly riddled out of our magic ring….
My charmed life may not look charmed to others, or it may look as if I have more gifts than I deserve. It all depends on the lens you use. It depends, too, on how I see it. For a while there I forgot that my special power is to see the possible, to find solutions and work toward them. For a while there, I forgot to have some fun.
Charmed or not, I know that my life is pretty wonderful most days. Other days, well, not so much. That’s okay. Today I reclaimed a bit of myself — I took special care to look nice today, did a few healthy things for myself, got a few duties taken care of that were nagging at me, and then took my lovely daughter to lunch… none of that was magic. It was, though, a few simple acts that I’ve lost touch with lately — I was feeling too beset, and tired. I felt like someone had riddled my charm right out of my hands and into their own pocketses, I did.
And now I don’t. Just like that.