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Jo Brown
May 22, 2018

Can I get an ounce?

can I get an ounce?

It could read like a shopping list. A well thought out list that you do before you hit the shop. A list, a strategy to help you get in and out without overspending or buying those troublesome ‘stick to your hips’ items that you regret a tub of ice cream later (thank you Oppo!). This has nothing to do with food or drugs if your mind were so inclined, and everything to do with people.

I’m talking those qualities, those traits we see in others that maybe sometimes we find ourselves thinking ‘if only I had an ounce of [fill the blank].’ On any given day my list could see the names of multiple people. I’m talking walking the shelves of ALL the store.

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Let’s start with Rachel. Now, I’ve known Rach since my teens, and throughout the years I’ve always wanted even just an ounce of what she possesses, of what makes her tick. Is it her drive? Her ability to consume information at speed? Her confidence when commanding a room perhaps? I think you’d find her in the ‘Round the world’ aisle purely because I cannot pinpoint what exactly it is I want an ounce of but I know it’ll be down there somewhere. Kind of like when you want a bag of cumin or Maggi’s coconut powder and the generic ‘herbs & spices’ won’t cut it.

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My twin B has been on this list for as long as I can remember. The outgoing one. The ‘do it first’ twin. The twin that was born two minutes earlier, therefore, winning our first race at life (yes, life isn’t a race but still). I joke that while in the womb we were handed items that we wished to take forward into the world — she chose organisational, social, whatever you call someone that’s into fashion and hair, basically all the good stuff…I got the gay gene, dyslexia, and the ADHD. Her ability to take a good picture leaves me delivering a loud “urgh!!!” too #twinwars did indeed become a thing while we were both on separate nights out. Clearly, you’d find her in the hair and beauty aisle. Purely for the fact that she dyes her hair so much that social media knows what colour it is before I do! If I had an ounce of what she has I’d have good hair, my workplace banter would be on point, and I’d produce shit on time.

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More recently than those above, like the avocado’s that was never on your list 10yrs ago but now become staples (damn millennials!) is my dear friend Margaret. From fangirl (everyone’s been there) to a good friend, Margaret has this insatiable need to learn. This drive for learning is coupled with a fearlessness to be open to what she experiences and harness it to make her own life better. Pretty much every week I’m on the phone after her podcast goes out asking her question after question like a four-year-olds incessant “why?” after you answer everything they’ve put to you. I’d have incredible knowledge with only a couple of grams of what she’s on. Most likely found in the organic fruit & veg section based on the journey she’s taking through every episode she records.

Last but in no way least, is a woman I met while in a different land. Surrounded by big personalities, this one was quietly strong. Exuding secure confidence found only in the strongest of forests without the need to be extroverting (yes, a made up word) all over the place (think manspreading). We’re in a society where individualism is celebrated and promoted, which I believe has led to far more ego, insecurity, and ill-will (another blog for another time). It can be tough and a drain for those that want to get ahead or ‘fit in’ to feel like they belong. Yet, she stands small in stature but strong in nature not shouting the loudest, not performing for the crowds, nor looking to get ahead at the expense of others. Oh my god, to have that would FEEL fucking amazing. To stand confident, to possess security afforded only to those that live wholeheartedly (read Brene Brown). Urgh, that’s powerful shit right there. You’d find this pocket rocket in the garden centre — plant a tree and watch it grow so very strong. In fact, go explore some trees, see one, make it yours, sit under it, it can be calming as fuck.

While it clearly shows through my shopping list that I have an enormous amount of respect for the women I write about, it says more about me than I’d care to admit. It can become almost crippling at times to want an ounce of what someone else possesses because you believe sincerely, that you don’t have it within you. Crippling to the point that it gets in your way of achieving anything at all. Thus, a vicious circle does begin. Work may become affected, relationships become an issue, it all becomes a bit dramatic really, and then you find yourself on the sofa binge watching Biggest Loser while eating a large Dominos (other negative behaviours and pizza outlets are available). I think old man Roosevelt was right, a comparison is indeed the thief of joy, it only serves to make us unhappy.

How do we turn the shopping list into something more positive, how do we reframe it? Whelp, let’s not wallow and cripple ourselves in what we don’t have and explore what we do have and want to improve. Essentially, a shopping list is meant for wants and needs so, remove the faces and list what you’d like to have or need more of. If we really thought about those you want an ounce from, you’d recognise and accept that they have to work hard for what they have too. They bleed, cry, struggle because they are people too. It’s not about building the perfect person, you’d go bloody crazy trying. It’s about opening up your awareness to your own self and learning to lean into the discomfort of improving you (read Brown & Sandberg). You could even go so far as to allow what those you admire have and let it be a part of what inspires you to be a better person.

Remember, those that don’t ever find themselves comparing to others, in good British fashion, are arrogant bastards! I jest, no, seriously.

And put it this way, I did a naked 5k on Sunday, and I know at least one person I’ve written about that would say “fuck that.” Do the work, as uncomfortable as that may be at times and check in with yourself every so often to keep on track maybe find someone to check in with too — there’s power in letting it out. Afterall, you are the most valuable item you could ever list.

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