“If you don’t program yourself, life will program you.” -unknown
I want to be crazy or wild or stubborn or silly or quiet or upset or opinionated because it’s who I am and how I feel in the moment, without questioning if it’s acceptable or worrying about the opinions of others. Outside of my children, there are very few people who’ve seen my authenticity, and that’s a way of being that comes with jealousy, self judgement, insecurity, and heaviness. . . all toxic energies that negatively impact me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’ve been fighting the battle between who I am and who I think I should be for my entire life, and I’m seriously over it. I’ve stayed quiet when I wanted to say something, and I’ve agreed to things I wanted to decline, all out of fear that I’d disappoint someone or be rejected. The more I recognize the difference between how I act and how I want to act, or how I feel compared to what I express, the more I’m desperate for freedom from this tension living inside of me. But wanting to change and knowing how to change are different; pushing myself outside of my comfort zone is something I have to consciously and logically do, and it’s REALLY FREAKING HARD. But the alternative would be to continue living as this carefully crafted version of myself, and I don’t like her anymore.
Kids play hard, believe in themselves and the world with endless possibility, and dream without limitation. Then we grow-up and make everything so damn complicated; over-thinking and self-sabotaging and second-guessing and desperately trying to fit-in, until we’ve boxed ourselves into a corner. Why? Because shit got hard for a little while, or it didn’t work out once, twice, or even ten times, or someone told us to grow-up or be different? Thank god baby’s don’t function like adults, or the human race would be extinct.
I was raised to be a lady, and overtime the practice of being polished, polite, appropriate, thoughtful, courteous, acceptable, and respectful became me. These are attributes that I like about myself, and are definitely ideal in professional settings and dinner parties with strangers. But I’m also creative with a wild spirit, obsessed with music and dancing, I’m silly, love to laugh and joke, I’m sarcastic, judgemental at times, stubborn, opinionated, curious, adventurous, and deeply emotional. . . I rarely show these aspects of myself to others because at some point I determined that they were too real, too vulnerable, or in contradiction to the ideal version of myself. Second-guessing and holding-back as a way of living sucks, and it’s crazy lonely knowing that very few people actually know the real me. But who’s fault is that. MINE! I feel like there’s a caged child or wild animal inside of me, desperate to express herself and be free.
I’ve viewed most of my emotions, impulses and desires as negative if they didn’t align with the ladylike perfection I was attempting to portray. But why? Recently I’ve been asking myself “why” over and over, and pushing myself to find an answer better than “because someone said so” or “I think that’s how it’s supposed to be”. In the process of self-evaluation, and with the guidance of my counselor, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve lived more like an actress than my authentic self; I’m playing a character based on beliefs passed down to me, people I’ve chosen to emulate, and the fear of rejection, instead of simply being me. What a shitty thing to learn about yourself. How did I allow this to happen? What the hell did I do to myself? Getting mad sometimes helps me see through the bullshit, and in this situation I’m really pissed off. In attempting to please others and fit-in, I’ve rejected myself and I haven’t loved or appreciated myself.
I love the quote “we don’t know what we don’t know”; sometimes we don’t even know the right questions to ask to get to the answers we need. So while a part of me is super irritated that I’ve lived this long without realizing how stupid it is to bottle-up major aspects of myself to fit a mold I didn’t create, don’t believe in, and know isn’t the right answer for me, the rest of me is just excited to unleash the parts of me that have been repressed. I don’t want to emulate others, I want to be me.
It shouldn’t take bravery to be myself, but since I haven’t shared significant portions of my personality and spirit with others, the process of letting my guard down feels more scary than freeing. Shit, it should be the most natural thing I ever do to be true to myself! I want to unapologetically have an opinion or preference, dance in public, explore my likes and dislikes without considering the opinion of others first, and laugh or cry when I feel like it without questioning if it’s ok to feel that way. I’m sick and tired of wishing I was something other than who I am or wondering what others thing, and I’m done bottling up the parts of me that my younger self determined weren’t grown-up or mature or ladylike. My spirit is full of energy and enthusiasm, eager to live. I’m setting myself free.
This is the playful, dorky me my children and closest friends know. . .