Who Knew That “Wild Sex Biologists” Were a Thing?

I was talking with a friend one day, and he said, “Katie, you should give a TED talk.”

So I laughed because that’s how you’re supposed to reply to outrageous statements.

“No, seriously, Katie. You should talk to people.”

And I still wasn’t sure if he was actually being serious, so I laughed a little softer and almost wrecked trying to see his face in the dark.

He was serious.

“I don’t have anything to say. Besides, I’m just a girl.”

“What you’ve just said to me – say that. And you’re not just a girl.”

I shrugged.

“Just promise me you’ll at least look and see what it takes.”

That was a few weeks ago. I forgot about it until tonight.

Tonight, I found myself needing a dose of my own medicine, so after I gave myself a small, ineffective pep talk, I got on TED.com to see what it took. Because a promise is, after all, a promise.

I don’t think I’ll ever give a TED talk.

I just found myself on the “speakers” page, and I have discovered that I am not the kind of person who gives a TED talk.

You speak if you’re an inventor, an engineer, a biologist, a composer, a wild sex biologist, a poet, a physicist, an artist, an entrepreneur, a comedian, a journal-er, a researcher, an innovator, the prime minister, a gardener, a space activist, an author, or the co-founder of Google.

I am not a human beat-boxer, a photographer, an explorer, a particle physicist, a revolutionary, a physiotherapist, a musician, a politician, a director, a CEO, a model, a chef, a philosopher, a cartoonist, an activist, a parent, a neuroscientist, a penguin expert, or anything else.

I’m a girl.

I looked through all 51 pages of their list of speakers, and I didn’t see a single person that was only a girl.

I did see someone who was a dad and someone else who was a nose and quite a lot of people who do things with bees. I deeply appreciate them. But none of these brilliant people were something I am.

Sure, I’m smart. I could be an expert in something crazy (Except being a dad. That one’s not biologically possible for me.), but I’m not because that’s not who I am. I will never be so deep in the sciences or liberal arts that I could stand in a room of my peers and expect them to pay attention to and learn something from my opinion.

I have a huge amount of respect for all the people who have given TED talks. Some of them are people I really look up to.

But that’s part of my problem.

I really look up to some of these people. They all have these fantastic titles and have done wonderful things, but I will never be a person like that.

So, I need to know that it’s okay to be a girl.

I need to know that I don’t have to be an expert in economics or anything else to be worthy of my place in the world.

I need to know that it’s okay to simply be ordinary.

I don’t want to need to be the person that stands out or the one who saves the world or the one everyone knows or the one everyone wants to emulate.

It has to be okay that I will never influence nations and heads of states.

I need to know that I am still valuable without leading armies or peace rallies, without being loved or hated by multitudes, without people screaming my name, and without leaving a large mark on the world.

I need to know that it’s okay to just be me – an ordinary girl.

And I know a few other people who need to know that as well.

So, darling, if you’ve made it through my late-night ramblings to this point, I want to you know that you’re perfectly fine as a girl. Or a boy.

Whatever you are.

You don’t have to be something you’re not as long as you are unapologetically, irreversibly, uncontrollably you.

Do you, my love. You’ll be fabulous.

You can do extraordinary things if you want to, but you still mean so much to the world if you’re simply, ordinarily you.

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Light

One of the many perks of having an overactive imagination is that you’re never bored because your mind can create things when there is nothing.

One of the terrible consequences of having an overactive imagination is that things scare you because your mind can create things when there is nothing.

Case in point – the dark.

I am absolutely terrified of the dark.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that it’s not the darkness that scares me – it’s the things I imagine are in it.

On any given night, I can be found curled up in a ball on my bed, eyes squeezed shut, completely covered by my blanket, waiting for sleep to claim me. Until I fall asleep, I will be imagining monsters and strange people and shadows that can eat me (that’s why I should have never watched/fallen in love with Doctor Who).

I have to make myself as small as possible so I’m harder to find on my huge bed (a problem for someone who sleeps sprawled out like a squished spider). I have to keep my eyes closed because the bad things only appear when I can see them. And I have to stay completely covered up so nothing can grab my toes and drag me away.

It’s childish, I know, but my terrible imagination sees things that cause me to tremble.

That’s why I love the stars and moon so much. They battle with the darkness every night so they can pour their light into my room and bring me comfort. They are small, but they are legion, and, together, they are so powerful.

Through them, I have learned some powerful lessons. Mainly, light overcomes.

Light causes darkness to flee. Light turns scary shadows back into reflections on mirrors and bookshelves and tables. Light allows me to see things for what they really are. Light comforts. Light removes confusion, doubt, and fear. Light brings me rest.

There are things in my life that confuse me, cause me pain, and make me afraid. These things can threaten to overwhelm me. They can leave me on my bed, curled into a tight ball with my eyes squeezed shut, just hoping I can somehow escape it all. I cover myself up and try to hide from it all. I keep my toes close so they can’t drag me down into the darkest places.

But, when I crack my eyes open just a bit, I remember that everything is not always quite what it seems. I remember who and Whose I am, and the Light comes flooding in. It fills every crack and crevice of my life and illuminates everything.

The Light brings perspective. It turns the scary things of life back into tiny, insignificant details. It reminds me that the monsters are of my own making and can be destroyed. The Light removes worries, fear, anger, and tears. The Light brings me rest.

I’m also called to be the light for other people. The Light fills me and overflows and shines into other people’s darkness. It illuminates. It heals. It shatters fears.

I am small and my light’s not always very bright, but I am legion, and, with the other lights around me, I am powerful.

Hugs Explained

I keep wanting to write a post about all these Deep Thoughts I have rolling around in my head. The problem is, every time I sit down to tackle them, they roll just barely out of reach and sit there taunting me.

So, I’m going to keep getting mocked by my thoughts and mention one of my favorite things in the world – hugs.

Now, I’m not talking about side-hugs. Those are poop. And awkward. And weird. And I never know what to do with my other arm.

Side hugs are the kind of hug I grew up receiving from guys who were determined that they had to have as little contact with my body as possible. In their minds, it was respectful. In my mind, it was endlessly frustrating because I just wanted a real, legit hug, and I felt like I was getting shorted.

I’ve got nothing against the guys who believe in side-hugs. I’ve had it rationalized for me so many times. Sometimes, I understand where they’re coming from. Other times, I’m desperate for a hug, and I get really irrationally angry at them because I don’t feel loved.

And I don’t mean, “Aw, bummer. Another side hug. Oh well.” angry. I mean, “IF I EVER GET ANOTHER SIDE HUG I’M GOING TO EAT YOUR SOUL AND MURDER YOUR GOLDFISH” angry. It’s a problem.

I understand side hugs when you’re doing a quick hug and then running on your way. That is justifiable. That is the¬†only time a side-hug is justifiable.

When I’m about to not see someone for a million years because I’m going on a trip for a week, and I’m going to miss seeing their face, a side-hug just doesn’t cut it. Ever.

When I become the benevolent dictator of the world (that’s a whole different story), I am going to destroy side-hugs. I’m going to explode them, and gather the pieces, and burn them, and feed the ashes to hordes of hungry jungle animals, and gather the feces, and bury it five thousand feet under ground, and dig up that whole chunk of land, and throw it into a volcano, and erupt the volcano, and gather all the lava, and cool it into awesome lava rocks, and give them to people living in tourist places, and have them sell the rocks to tourists, which will give them a viable source of income, which will make the world a better place.

That will be the end of the side-hug. Thank goodness.

I’m also not talking about leans. Those are also pretty dumb. They’re half-hearted and lazy, and I don’t like them.

They’re those hugs where, you feel like something magical is about to happen, but then…eh.

You think you’re about to get a wonderful hug – the hugger has opened their arms, and you just know you’re about to get a legit hug, and that excites you because you’ve been stuck with terrible side-hugs for quite a while, and you’re ready for something real. They walk up to you….

And then their arms and torso go limp, and you are enveloped in person.

And most of their weight is resting on your shoulders, and you think you’re about to fall over, but there’s no where to go because everywhere around you is limp person, and it’s just really awkward because they think they’ve bestowed this great gift upon you, and you’re just left wanting to cry because you just wanted a real hug and now you just feel like a coat rack.

What I really am talking about are those hugs that wrap you up and make you feel absolutely wonderful.

I’m talking about two-arm hugs that swallow your soul, make sure it feels loved, and spit it back up. Those hugs are the ones that make terrible days better, turn frowns into smiles, and make the whole world a sunnier place.

Those are the ones that connect you to another person. They’re the ones that surround you with strength and protection.

They are firm hugs. There’s no limp-ness about them. They grab hold of you, and don’t let go until both parties have said everything the hug needs to say.

There is no awkwardness about these hugs. They don’t last long enough to make anyone feel like a sloth, but they’re also not so short anyone feels ripped-off.¬†These hugs can last for a couple minutes (at this point it’s an excruciatingly fine line between hugging and cuddling), or a couple seconds. The hugger and huggee somehow instinctively know what needs to happen.

These are the hugs I adore. These are my favorites. Sadly, these hugs are an endangered species. They require effort, and very few people are willing to put effort into a hug. Even when that hug is vitally important to some else’s survival.

Thankfully, I know who to go to for these hugs. I live in an area that has a lot of people who understand the importance of hugs and are willing to put effort into them. You have no idea how joyful that is.

This is also another reason why people think I’m crazy and run away from me.