Maybe it’s the curse of being a child of the 70s, when we were all told we were special, unique, snowflake-like creatures, but I have a lifelong horror of being a cliché. And while I’m sure that’s benefited me in some regards – it’s steered me away from acquiescing to a less passionate life – I’ve been noticing in the past few years how often my aversion to clichés has held me back.
It held me back from admitting that I wanted children. Changing my mind about motherhood in my late thirties was so cliché.
It held me back from publicly celebrating motherhood. Blogging about your kids is so cliché.
It held me back from marketing my coaching business. Everybody’s a coach these days… it’s so cliché.
But I’m making peace with the ways in which I’m just not that special or unique. Maybe we don’t need to be unique in every regard in order to be seen and appreciated. And I was delighted to read novelist Zadie Smith’s wonderful speech-cum-essay this week on the magic and ruthlessness of storytelling, which includes this gem:
Then I had kids. But what a boring story: “Then I had kids.” Still, I have to be truthful. And the truth is something happened when I had kids. I went from not being able to think of a single story to being unable to stop seeing stories pretty much every place I looked.
“What a boring story.” Yeah, but actually, no. Anyone with kids knows it’s transformative, which is why it’s so cliché.
Here’s your weekly curiosity experiment:
- What sorts of things feel cliché to you?
- Do they tell you anything about the parts of yourself you find less special or worthy?
- What “boring” stories about yourself are you tired of dismissing?