Like most of you, I read a lot of food blogs. It’s getting to the point now where you can find out just about anything you need to know about any kind of food just by searching food blogs alone.
But I’ve also come to realize that there are a lot of great blogs out there that have nothing to do with food. In fact, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer amount of good, entertaining writing floating around, free for the taking, on the web (I will get to the bumble bee part soon!).
So how do I figure out what to read? It’s simple. I tend to return to blogs where I have developed some kind of relationship with the writer. It’s when I start to feel that I know someone on a personal level that I become interested in what they have to say, day to day, week to week. So whether the dialogue starts through blog comments, e-mail, IM, telephone, or even in person (as has been the case lately), it’s the dialogue that keeps me coming back.
So, as I was saying, I am a loyal reader of a few non-food blogs (yes, I divide the millions of blogs out into only two categories: food blogs and the others) and the other day I read something on a friend’s blog that stopped me in my tracks.
The post, from Emon at Emonome is called “Finding Other Bumblebees” and it broaches the well-traveled subject of learning to be yourself. It’s been said a million times in a million different ways. Learn to be yourself. Don’t worry about what the others think. Do your own thing. You have to learn to love yourself before you can find true love. But Emon’s post hit me like a ton of bricks.
You see, his post was inspired by Blind Melon’s “No Rain” video. You remember that video, right? The one with the awkward little girl in the bumble bee costume. If, at this point, you have no idea what I’m talking about, go to Emon’s post and watch the video before reading any further.
Back now? Good. Now that we’re all on the same page, I’ll tell you why that post and that video have been running through my head for the past three days. Everyone loved that video when it came out all those years ago. But one person in particular really loved that video. And that person was my mom.
My mom loved that video. My mom was that video. My mom was the only person I know who could wear that bumble bee costume when everyone else in the world was wearing something different.
This was her costume: 501 jeans and Birkenstocks (before they were cool); long straight hair and no make-up; neon-colored sunglasses (free from Carl’s Jr.) and Fresno Grizzlies t-shirts; a purse large enough to smuggle super big gulps into movie theaters; clog-dancing in the supermarket; Pearl Jam concerts; howling at the full moon; baseball games and sign language classes; blues festivals and art films.
That was my mom. That was K. She did what she wanted, she wore what she wanted, and people loved her. My mom was killed by a drunk driver almost 10 years ago. My sister and I were both in college, searching for own inner bumble bees. And I never had a chance to ask her how she found the courage to be herself.
It does take courage to be yourself, more courage than any self-help book will ever tell you. I’ve struggled my whole life trying to figure out who I am and what I want to be. And right in the middle of figuring it all out, my world came crashing down around me. I survived, as we all do after the death of a loved one. But when I re-emerged , I was missing some parts. We all were.
I had to start my search over, from scratch. Except this time around, without my mom as a role model, I was asking the wrong questions: Who should I be? What do others want me to be? I didn’t realize that this change had taken place. It no longer even occurred to me that I already was the person I wanted to be or that I was already doing the things I should have be doing. But that’s changing now.
Those of you have visited Pinch My Salt in the last couple of weeks know that I am now in central California visiting my family.
Coming home to California is always difficult. My mom’s house was my home. Every night I have stayed at my dad’s house, my grandmother’s house, my aunt’s house, my cousin’s house, or my friend’s house has just been a reminder that I can no longer go home. As much as I love my family, as much as they try to make my sister and I feel at home, it will never be the same.
I have been searching for a home for the past 9 years. Searching for that place where I can feel completely comfortable, where I can be myself, where I don’t have to worry about anyone or anything. Where I can just be. What I didn’t realize is that I need to find that place within myself.
It isn’t my mom’s house that I’ve been missing. It’s the feeling I had when I was around her. The feeling that I can do whatever I want and be whoever I want and who cares what the rest of the world thinks. I was taught to believe these things by both of my parents. But I lost sight of it.
Emon’s bumble bee post happened to come at the right time. If I had been in Sicily when I read it, the impact wouldn’t have been the same. I am in the right place to find my inner bumble bee. I am home.
Now, about that photo! I wasn’t the only one who was affected by the bumble bee post. JD over at FourBux was inspired not only to find his inner bumble bee but to draw it. And this in turn encouraged others to follow suit. So we now have a little community of bumble bees that seems to be growing bigger.
My bumble bee photo was something silly I did to contribute to this growing bumble bee community, but the photo was also inspired in part by Genie from The Inadvertent Gardener, whose Taking a Dare post helped me get over the fear of putting a huge photo of my face on the front page of my blog!
But most importantly, this silly bumble bee photo is a symbol of me coming to terms with some pretty important things. I am the person I want to be. I am doing the things I want to do and therefore these are the things I should be doing. And as scary as it is, I am going to accept myself for who I am and just go for it!
Thanks for listening and remember, It’s OK to Bee yourself! (sorry, couldn’t resist)