Hitting Margin Release

Johanna Garth wrote "People who move their bodies as though gravity is just a rule and they've decided not to follow it." in her blog post, SYTYCD, and prompted me to think about rules and the benefits of choosing to not follow the rules.

Lately, I've been struggling with the idea of the rules, spoken and unspoken, we're supposed to follow. People expect us to act certain ways at certain times in our lives. When we don't, they tend to judge us, often without meaning to, but judge us nonetheless. That thing that happened should make you cry. Why? That should make you laugh. Why? You have to do this because that's what people do in your situation. Why? Maybe, just maybe, there's a better way, at least for me. Your circumstances mean you have to feel x, y, or z. Why? And, when I don't feel or do what people think my situation warrants, they question my judgment and perhaps even my mental well-being. But, I'm realizing the people who just let me process my life my way are the ones I most want around me. I'm not saying I never need advice or support, but I certainly don't need someone telling me I have to follow some arbitrary rule because that's what people do.

I have, at times in my life, been a stickler for the rules. Other times in my life, I've pretended there were no rules. When I've lived the most fulfilling life is when I've set rules that honored the truth of me and who I wanted to become. Moments when I've released myself from perfection and released the margins surrounding my life have always brought me more satisfaction than doing the expected.

My Margin Release Necklace
A few years back I bought a necklace at Wordstock, a book event, in Portland, Oregon. The necklace has a pendant made from the margin release key from an old typewriter. I saw the necklace and walked away. It didn't fit with the type of jewelry I normally wear. It didn't follow my fashion "rules". A few minutes later I discovered, much to my own surprise, I had wandered back to the booth and stood staring at the necklace. I needed this necklace. It spoke to me in a way nothing had in a while. At first it whispered. Then it screamed at me. I had been feeling rather stuck on my journey because I was trying to follow the rules, but the rules didn't feel right for me.

See, sometimes I forget that the only way to push myself is to release the margins surrounding me. My most creative writing comes when I hit the margin release key in my mind. My best experiences comes when I hit the margin release key controlling my doubts. My most loving moments come when I hit the margin release key in my heart. My greatest connection with other people comes when I hit the margin release key hiding my vulnerabilities. My most intense pleasure comes when I hit the margin release key controlling my inhibitions. My greatest understanding of life comes when I hit the margin release key in my soul. I live my best life when I hit the margin release key freeing me from a role that doesn't fit quite right.

Wearing my margin release necklace
at Cumberland Falls, Kentucky
May 2012
When I hit margin release on the things that keep me from pursuing the life I want, possibilities present themselves - or perhaps it's more accurate to say I open my eyes to the possibilities before me. Those possibilities may take me to places I never dreamed of going or they may show me how to accept where I currently am. As long as I am banging up against that margin, all I'm doing is typing over the same spot until I rip a hole in the paper. And, that paper just may be my life.

Next time I stand on the margin looking at all the rules I've been following that haven't quite gotten me where I want to go, I'm going to reach for the margin release key and see where it takes me. I may end up completely off the page, but who knows maybe that's where I need to be...


  1. TL, thanks so much for quoting me and this beautiful post. I too have been going through a rule breaking phase in my life. It's so important to figure out what makes you happy. Important (and scary). Love the necklace, btw!

    1. Johanna, you are quite welcome! Thank you for the inspiration! It can be quite fun to fly in the face of what's expected!

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