Since starting this blog, everyone has given me so much advice about how I can improve it and/or grow it but the one piece of advice everyone agrees on is “be authentically you”. In other words, be real. But what does that even mean anymore? To me? To today’s standards?
In regards to myself, I really can’t even answer that question without looking bewildered because well, I have been placed in a box all my life. Haven’t we all? Since I was born, I was told repeatedly what to do and how to act. Of course I fought against authority figures but eventually a part of me had to die in order to survive. Then in college I was told I couldn’t major in jewelry design but something more practical or I wouldn’t get help financially. There goes my creative aspirations.
After graduation I had a brief stint of freedom while living on my own, with my best friend, making my own decisions. But it was brief because my choices were still defined by what my mom would say and how others would judge me.
Next, came teaching. For 14 years my creative spark was gradually chipped away due to mandates and teacher reform and the need for more prepping towards the test. I was labeled, put in a box and told what to teach and how to teach. I was suffocating. The real me was questionable at this point.
Then I got married and had a child. I became a mother and with becoming a mother came the pressures of being “perfect” and of course feeling not “good enough”. It brought on more of a loss of self because I was dedicating so much of myself to another human being, who I love with all my heart, but my sense of self was becoming lost. Who was I now?
Was I a mom? A teacher? A wife? I was constantly defining myself in the roles I was in and I was changing to fit a mold of what everyone else expected and to be honest, I still am. But what did I expect of myself? Who was I any way? How was I suppose to know who I was when I was always put in a box, checking off certain qualifications.
So when someone says be “authentically you”, I am at a complete lost. And I am sure I am NOT alone. I wake up everyday being thankful for being alive and to live the life that I live but I wake up CONFUSED. Not about how I got here, but how I let “myself”, the “real” me disappear little by little through every role I have partook in.
What also makes it more difficult is the huge boom in social media influencers and their “fake ness”. I am not going to be nice and PC here but all of it gives me anxiety because I don’t want to have that added pressure to be a certain way like “them” but then I don’t even know who I am anymore. I don’t want to put filters on my photos. I don’t want to do a fake YouTube channel. I don’t want to create bullshit to sell something. That I know for sure, is NOT me.
I feel like I should know who I am now since turning 40 but shit has made things worse or maybe I have a sense of urgency to find out now before I die not knowing who the hell I am. Is this the time where I actually get to explore that? Am I ready to? Are people going to be open to it?
And that’s what I am afraid of: other people. Yeah I can be “me” and explore aspects of myself that I have buried deep inside but would people accept it? Or should I not even care? Should I just do this for me and say f-this? Because a huge part of me really doesn’t care anymore what people think of me; their opinions are a dime a dozen and people who are willing to criticize my mistakes and growth can go to hell. But this courageous tone only lasts for a bit and then the self doubt jumps in. Because, I don’t know myself – yet.
So when people ask you, “who are you?” How do you respond? Do you first tell them your role in society? Or do you describe your characteristics? Do you speak honestly and truthfully about who You are? Or are you on the same journey as me? Are you just as confused but willing to find out who you are instead of the roles that you are in?
All I know is that I want to be happy – with myself. I want to accept all my flaws and all of my mistakes and enjoy what I create – in myself. I want to be a better person and make better decisions and I know I never want to be defined by anyone anymore. I am at this point of being tired of being sick and tired of all the non sense. I hope by the end of my journey I can honestly tell you who I am but for now, enjoy the ride with me. – Peace and Love