You don’t care if I wear makeup or glasses or mismatched socks. You don’t care if I lay in bed and watch movies all day. You don’t care if ‘no wine’ turns into 3. You don’t care if I dance around and sing silly songs or if I eat breakfast when most people eat lunch. You don’t care if I cancel plans to sit around and work. You don’t care if I don’t care or if I genuinely don’t have a plan. You don’t care because that’s all you know. Hello stranger, this is me.
I’ve always felt boxed in (for lack of a better term). Confined by walls I unknowingly built myself. Standards. Expectations. Personas. I created them. All of them. With every decision, with every action, I reinforced the walls, yet somewhere deep inside I questioned, “Is this the person I truly want to be?”
Hardworking (stressed). Outgoing (tired). Happy (hidden). Fit (false).
On the outside, it was beautiful. On the inside, conflicted. I was all those things. I embodied those characteristics. I was exactly who I created. It was wholeheartedly me. But what if I wanted to be someone different? How do I do that without letting everyone down?
Is It Possible To Change
Its easy to switch a negative behavior into a positive one, but what if its the other way around? What if I don’t want to be held to the standard of posting a positive quote every morning? While I actually enjoy it, it upset me that I felt immense stress to find wifi in Yosemite National Park while on a 3 day camping trip. I couldn’t take a break for 3 days? Or the time I set an alarm to remind myself to promptly post a quote at 7am EST when I was in Vegas. Its was 4am. I was at a bachelorette party. And yes, I posted it from the club.
But I couldn’t let “them” down. Who was them? And what had happened to me?
In order to be me, I had to post. I had to show up. I had to follow through. I had to be prompt. I had to be upbeat, positive, inspiring. I had to be me.
When did I let the persona become the person? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
I will never know how many people were impacted when I stopped posting at scheduled times or posting every day and I am sorry if you are one of them, but I promise I’m still here.
Hello Stranger, This is Me
One conversation sparked it all. It was my first solo trip and while talking to 2 strangers, I realized for the first time in a long time, I had the chance to be me. The me that had been hiding for so long. The me that was buried beneath years of relationships and friendships and jobs and responsibilities. The me that was deep down in my core.
This was my chance to be me. The me that is honest and real and laughs out loud at her own jokes. The me that actually tells jokes because I don’t care if they are funny or not (they usually aren’t). The me that accepts my bad storytelling but tells the stories anyways. The me that can be silly and immature. The me that can let my walls down and have a little fun. The me that says the sassy comments I’ve being thinking all along.
Who was this person? Was she really me?
Travel shaped me. Travel redefined me. Travel created me. Travel opened my heart to a world of possibilities. Travel made me, me.
I thought I knew myself until myself no longer existed. Who was I when I wasn’t being a girlfriend? Who was I when I wasn’t just bringing 1/2 my personality, but all of it? What did the other 1/2 look like? Was that me too?
In every relationship, each person plays a role. A parent and child, two sisters, life long best friends. I can be the mentor in one, yet the student in another. I can be “strong” in one, but let all my weaknesses pour out in another.
But what happens when you continuously play one role almost all day, every day, for years? Is that solely who you become?
Where’s The Other Half
I was no longer playing one role in a cast of two, it was just me. I had to be the star. I had to be both playful, yet serious. Carefree, yet calculated. Outgoing, yet reserved.
I had a chance to finally play all the parts. Which ones were meant for me to shine? Who did I really want to be? What role in my life did I want to play?
It was time to step into the light. It was time to be the star.
I see you. I see you shine. You are the star.
Below: A hilarious moment with my mother trying to find a toilet while camping in the backyard of someone’s house deep within the mountains of Peru. Torches on our heads, delirium in our hearts, and laughter in our souls. We let it all out. We were the stars.
Challenge: I challenge you to get honest. Are you the star of your life? What areas are you allowing yourself to play small? Where do you let others pickup the slack? Do you let your guest carry the conversation at social events? Do you do all the bills while your partner has all the fun? Where can you step it up? Where can you embody both sides?