Warts and All Living
Once upon a time, my dears, the press didn’t mention presidential scandals. FDR’s post-polio challenges weren’t exactly a secret, but reporters and their photog consorts went to great efforts to minimize his handicap in print. Politicians’ mistresses—JFK, anyone?—were discreetly overlooked. Woodward Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke, and his wife, Edith, essentially ran the country—without most of the country actually knowing it.
The phrase above is said to originate with Oliver Cromwell, the 17th century political powerhouse who asked his portraitist to paint him, quite literally, “warts and all.” But in American politics, the tide really turned with Richard Nixon, a man whose foibles became too large, too public, and perhaps even too stupid to hide. And voilà: “warts and all” journalism was born.
History lesson aside, how does the above resonate in your life? Do you share only the pretty parts of your life? Do you believe that some people ONLY have pretty parts? Do you believe that you have more or bigger warts than others, and that because of this, you’ll never be happy or have the life you want?
I’ve written before that I don’t believe in or practice what, for ease of reference, I’ll call “Martha Stewart”-style coaching, the kind that promises you a fantastic, idealized existence where trouble never darkens your door and challenges simply don’t exist. In fact, it’s pretty ironic that MS herself markets her business and her lifestyle as nonstop elegant party of “a good thing”—she’s got some pretty big warts of her own, including terrorizing her staff and going to prison for insider trading.
I’m not a fairy godmother, and I don’t live or practice in Fantasyland. I know that each of us—all of us—have challenges, downturns, obstacles, and heartbreak, and I can’t and won’t promise that I can make all those go away for you.
I’m a warts-and-all coach. I help my clients navigate choppy waters, find their feet again after the rug has been pulled out from under them, move forward with purpose and joy even when life has appeared to tie a big ol’ rock around their neck.
Some warts can and should be removed. Others cannot, and even should not. Are you going to let your disability, your responsibilities to others, your losses, your fear, or the size of your ass keep you from living the life you want? I don’t. And I can show you why you shouldn’t, either.
Warts? I’ve got plenty of ‘em. I’ve put on some extra weight this winter I’m working on losing. I’m partially disabled, and that may never change. I’m a single mom. I’m 52 in what some could argue is a young woman’s game. None of them define me; none of them get in my way any more than I allow them to. My life works, and I am happy.
So come on. Show me your warts, I triple dog dare you. I’m not scared or grossed out by ‘em—and nor should you be.
You can have exactly the life you want. Warts and all.