So, things have been interesting at my house lately. I know. Things are always interesting at my house. So you can imagine what it's been like lately. The cause of all this um...interestingness? Me. Yep. This time I'm the culprit. And all because I want to be me again.
See life is a funny thing. You start out one way then something happens and you end up walking in a different direction. Then a tree falls in the road and you have to detour. Everyone always talks about the path they're on like it's some kind of straight shot. Well if you got the easy straight path...good for you. Personally? My path has had more twists than a spiral staircase. And you change and adapt to fit the new country you're walking through.
I've had so many roles in the last twenty years. Young (oh god, like baby young) wife, young mother, support group coordinator, advocate, lobbyist, mentor, lecturer, full time mom, daycare provider, homeschool teacher, chief cook & bottle washer, housekeeper, laundry fairy, best friend, biggest fan, country girl (and that took some getting used to!), partner, helpmate, secretary, mingler, home redecorator, sister, daughter, mother, love, friend. Whew! The list goes on. And so many of those roles were all at the same time. I remember in the early years wondering who I was that day? It was overwhelming trying to be everything to everyone. And somewhere along the way, I lost the girl inside.
I won't go through the journey I took to stop being such a people pleaser and start being me again. It was long and arduous and involves a brief drop into a very dark hole. But in the end, I won. I found my "me" again. It's been about ten years since we reconnected. And in those ten years I've played a bunch of different roles, but they never took over again. I was still "me" while doing those things too. (I'm not sure if this is making sense to anyone but me) Everything I did was done with my personality. I was the same person, regardless of the situation. Meeting at CJ's school? Me. Working at the bookstore? Me. Dinner for Hubby's work? Me. All me all the time. You either like me, or you don't. I won't change to suit you.
My friend J says that I have the most self esteem of any person she knows. This is probably quite true. I worked hard for it though. But then I came to terms with myself and if I like "me", then that's all that counts. It doesn't mean that I don't want other people to like me, I do! But if they don't? Well that's ok too. I'm not going to keep trying to win them over like I would've before. And that sense of self esteem goes for everything. Looks, intelligence, talent, skills.
I've tried to teach my kids self esteem, but I'm not sure it can be taught. I think it has to come from an agreement within yourself. My daughter is beautiful, smart, funny and talented. Her self esteem though falls somewhere in the middle. She doesn't think she's beautiful or smart. She won't leave the house without looking like a million bucks. Unless she's very sick. She feels like everyone grades her appearance. And no matter how I try I can't seem to get her past that. The hippie is working on it as well and there has been progress. She asks me how I can not think about my appearance? And I tell her. I get ready, maybe I change a few times, but finally I look in the mirror and think "well, that's the best it's gonna get". And that's the last time I think about it. Why spend more time worrying about it? And why the heck would you care what other people thought? I want people to like me for me. My wit, my sarcasm, my complete ridiculousness. My smile. Not my fashion sense. Not my hairstyle. I dress to please me. To convey my "me-ness", not to reflect my conformity.
And maybe that's the crux of the thing. I'm an individual. I don't care to fit in. I'm not really rebelling. I just don't care to conform. I dress in clothes that I like, whether they're "in" or "out". Sometimes I like what's in fashion and I wear it. Other times I like what used to be in fashion. So I wear that. I mean, within reason. There are limits. I wouldn't wear jeans to a dressy event. But I might wear a purple dress and an armful of bangles. But nothing too outlandish. The roles still had to be somewhat respected.
So the problem? I'm finally free of most of the roles. I'm still a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend. Those will never change. But I work from home now. The kids are almost grown. And over the last year, I've realized that life is too short to worry about what others think anyway. So I've started making even more changes in appearance that reflect my personality. It started with a pair of purple sneakers. Then it moved on to some rather loud shirts. And one that Sean dubbed "the hippie grandma shirt". I adore that shirt. Then it was shopping in Myrtle Beach, where I loved the funky stores and my children went into Aeoropostle. "Really?" I asked. "Aeropostle? You want to look like everyone else?". They saw nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I wonder if they're really mine at all.
I mean, they have their small individualities. Lu has four tattoos, a nose piercing, 4 ear lobe piercings, a cartilage piercing, an ear tab piercing, and an industrial. But all of those can be easily covered. She absolutely will not do anything weird with her hair. And Sean? Well except for the tattoo on his wrist he's very straight with his appearance. No piercings. Preppy clothes. Decent haircut. Lol.
Sean asked if I was having a midlife crisis. I informed him that A) I planned on living past 80, therefore I was not midlife and B) nope. I've always been weird. Just subdued it for a time. We finally had to ask hubby for back up. He assured Sean that I had always been unique and that was what he fell in love with. When we met I had a funny accent and a different way of looking at everything. That I had streaks of blue through my hair and wore combat boots with my bubble skirts. And he'd never met anyone like me.
So I got my nose pierced last week. It's funny. I've wanted to for a long time but just hadn't done it yet. Now that I have, Lu says it's like it's been there all the time. It just seems so me. I'm considering purple hair. For real. Hubby says go for it. And actually, both kids are behind it too. What do you think?
Last, I'll leave you with an illustration of today's points. We went to a movie while we were in Myrtle Beach. We saw "The Wolfman". The theatre was huge and packed. During the previews there was a funny preview and I laughed. Loudly.
Lu: Omigod. That was the loudest laugh ever. I'm pretty sure the whole theatre heard you!
Me: (giving her my surprised eyes and covering my mouth with my hand) oh no! What will people think?! (then I lowered my hand and rolled my eyes) oh. wait. that's right. I didn't care.
Lu rolled her eyes at me.
Me: It was funny!! Why would I care if these people thought I laughed too loud or didn't think it was funny? I don't even know anyone in this theatre and I'll probably never see them again. Wait!! Maybe someone in here reads my blog! Maybe I should stand up and shout "I'm Spot"! What if someone was like "omigod! Spot!"
Lu: Don't you dare!!
I didn't. But she kept eyeing me the whole time.
It's a world full of Cheerios. Be a Fruit-Loop. =]