We have all heard the sayings.
- "Be yourself."
- "Be unique."
- "Don't worry what others think of you."
- "Be authentic."
- "Don't be a copy of someone else."
Isn't it ironic, how much we LOVE to hear that we have permission to be ourselves, but as soon as someone see's who we truly are, they want us to tuck that personality back inside?
I have been struggling with this concept for thirty-nine years. There are days, I could care less what people think or say about me, and there are other days, where I worry non-stop about others opinions.
Why is that?
Lack of confidence? Maybe.
Four years ago, I abandoned the religion I was raised in, and I escaped a toxic marriage. Afterwards, I discovered I was only liked by some, because of one or both of those aspects of my life. Not only did I come to realize some of my friends were only accepting because of those choices, I had certain family members portray their true colors, as well.
I struggled with this realization. My heart shattered, and I had no idea how to deal with the ache resonating from my core. I searched for approval from others, and yearned for someone to say, I was still loveable, despite my difference of opinions and beliefs. It was an extreme growth period for me.
Here is where I am at today... I am me. If you don't like me, you have my permission to exit from my life. It is that simple.
It took me over thirty years, to begin to practice self-love. I do not have the time and energy to convince anyone else to love me. This is where I stand, and I do it with my face to the wind, howling at the evening moon.
I live in a society where diversity is not its strong suit. People talk the same, act the same, dress the same, and the judgments are abundant. I grew up, afraid of my own shadow, because I had witnessed a copious amount of ridicule, bullying, and judgment from my peers. As well, I was the second to youngest child out of seven children, and my siblings all acted like parents to me. I became the quiet and timid child, and because of that I was bossed around by everyone in my life.
And the only person I have to blame for the creation of this control, is myself. I allowed others to cross my boundaries and have that power over me. Even as a small child, it was still on my shoulders to change my stars.
It was not until I left my parents home, and moved away from Utah, that I began to find my voice. It was a slow process and took me many years after that, to create power and strength behind my voice.
If I could give any advice to my child self, it would be... "Love yourself first, find your voice, and don't take shit from anyone, including your family."
When I left my marriage, four years ago, I searched for approval from my family, and I did not receive it, for the most part. Most of my family acted disappointed in my choice, and did not understand why I would leave someone who they all liked. They talked behind my back, instead of speaking to me, and I became the subject of ridicule amongst people I had believed were my safe zone. It hurt. But it only hurt because some where inside me, I was still that same, scared, little girl, who did not have a voice.
However, I did not back down. I knew what was right for me, and I was sick and tired of being told what everyone else thought was best for me.
At thirty-five, I grew more than I had grown my entire life. It took me thirty-five years to arrive to this place, but I did, and I am grateful for the ah-ha moment in my life.
I am also here to remind people, I don't require your permission to be me. No more scurrying off to the safety of the shadows, while others glare down at me with their judgments and ridicule. No more cowering on the sidelines, waiting for the approval I have craved for since I was a small child. If you don't like me, then by all means, don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out of my life.
And if this bothers anyone, whether you know me or not, then maybe you require a long hard look at yourself. Quit your judgments of others, just because they are not living the life you think is best. What is best for you, is NOT best for others.
As well, I am not here to make you feel comfortable. I am here to make you think and expand your understanding of others.
I have made amends with most of my family, and for that I am grateful. They were the ones who stood up and realized, they were being fooled. The ones who chose to continue down that path, and turned their back on me, I wish them all the best in their life, and as of now I have no regret in leaving them in my past. Where they belong. They never really knew me anyway (queue Elsa from Frozen) ;)
Stumbling down the road of life is difficult enough. Having naysayers on the sidelines, with nothing better to do with their time, except ridicule and gossip about others, does not make it any easier. Cheers to the brave souls who are capable of putting on their blinders, and yanking on their thick skin, while remaining awesome on their life path. Those are the people I admire and welcome into my life.
For those who are traveling down that dark path, and have been shunned because your life path has veered you away from the "norm", keep your chin up. And I applaud you for your bravery :)