The other day I was kind of down on myself.
I was feeling like too much. I was too loud. Too scattered. I had too many opinions and not enough thoughts. There was too much static and zero clarity. Lots of noise without the chill. I was too messy and complicated and all over the place. Too scared. Too nervous. Too unpredictably reckless. I loved too much. I cared too fiercely. Overall, I just felt like too much.
I’m currently tasked with a project of my own creation at work that involves talking with members of our community. It has been the most fire igniting campaign in my eyes. The ultimate end-game is an impactful piece of digital story telling – something that also sparks my soul – but the base of all of that comes from people. For this project, I got to talk to people.
I was sitting with a man who, if he was a color, would be a bright splash of all the colors crowded into the bursting shape icon that looks like a mini explosion. He was pouring out wisdom, mixing new rhymes, and launching original jokes nearly faster than I could record. I was in my element – soaking up knowledge from this person who has had a vastly different life than my own.
He finally slowed down and looked me straight in the eye, making sure I was ready to hear what he was about to say. I stopped typing.
There are two types of people in this world, Elizabeth. A noun and a verb. Which one are you?
A verb, I said, without hesitation. An action verb, I’d like to think. I added.
Good. That’s the right answer and I’mma tell you why. Verbs do things. Verbs are the world changers and the game shakers. They get things done. Nouns? A noun is a person that stays in a place so long they become a thing. They’re so sedentary with their lifestyles that they’re afraid to get up and see what’s out there. And then you have the conjunctions but they just say and or nor and then you just want to kick their butts because they aren’t going anywhere either. No. You want to be a verb. Verbs change the world.
He quickly jumped back into a rhyme about his cleverness, told me to quote him on something else, then moved onto the photographer for his 15 minutes of fame. I was still stuck on his word play with grammar.
I got home that night and was trying to figure out what verb I would be. It seemed so obvious that I was a verb, but I couldn’t place it.
Maybe I’m just a noun after all. Maybe I’m just a person.
Then I looked at all the words I had been self-diagnosed with in the past few days: loud, scattered, messy, complicated, scared, reckless.
He didn’t said anything about adjectives.
And now it’s hitting me. I am too loud, too scattered, too messy. But maybe that is just the way I live my verb.
Sure, I laugh too loud. It’s how I show I’m happy. And I write too scattered, but it’s how you know I’m thinking. I can be too messy when I’m cooking on my own but isn’t creativity how we learn? I can be too complicated and too “in my own head” but it only makes me more self-aware of my path and my stories. I may be too scared of the future but all I’ve ever learned from fear was how to be courageous.
And maybe I am too reckless. Maybe I do love too much and care too fiercely. Or maybe that’s impossible.
Maybe I don’t have a singular verb that I can wrap my entire person into. I can’t combine the dream with the try with the inspire verbs that I’d like to pretend I am.
Maybe I can just love.
Maybe I can just be the best version of every verb I want to be and somehow, as a result, become the best version of myself.
And to anyone who has ever been told they try too hard or care too much or love too loudly – let them talk. They aren’t your verb. They don’t know what it feels like to have a heart that beats this hard.
So love loud. Care without question. Listen well. Try again. And at the end of the day, let yourself soar.
You can do this.
Chase, girl, chase.