The other day, this article on the Huffington Post was circulating around Facebook. It showed up en masse again yesterday. So I clicked. I read. And I threw a John Bender fist pump into the air (sans diamond earring) and shouted (albeit mentally) Hell. Yes. Because, HELL YES. Though the article was amazing in its entirety, the first bullet point really resonated with me. In case you’re not the click-on-the-handy-link-I-just-shared-and-read-the-article-so-as-to-understand-the-premise-of-this-post type, I’ll offer a brief summation. Basically, it’s about not believing all the crap you tell yourself that you can’t do. The stuff you want to do – the stuff that deep down makes you exactly who you are, but you’re too afraid to let it bubble to the surface because people might stare. Or judge. Or both. Well, Kate Bartolotta wants you to high five that voice in the face with a chair. She wants us to “be who you are beneath the bullshit.” And you know what? She’s freaking right.
I’m not a lot of things that I wish I was. I’m not an amazing cook. I don’t have time to prepare everything served at my table from scratch even though I’d really like to. I don’t throw Pinterest and/or Kinfolk inspired parties. My house isn’t immaculately decorated. I don’t have model measurements, or perky breasts, or a massive-for-my-age retirement account. I don’t have a college savings for my daughters or a Roth IRA, or perfect cuticles. But you know what? That stuff doesn’t matter. Fretting about it, focusing on it, worrying about it, doesn’t make it any less NOT mine. So I’m going to pretend I’m Nena, and all that shit is just a little red ballon and you know what I am going to do?
I am going to let. it. go.
And then I’m going to give into the bass line and dance my ass off.
Because here is who I am under all of the bullshit:
*I am a girl who loves to laugh despite her big teeth and gets especially awkward in front of a camera (any camera) and I show those giant pearly whites off like my life depends on it. Every. Single. Time.
*I have a tiny little motorcycle. It doesn’t make a cool noise and it doesn’t go very fast but it’s infinitely cooler than the one I DIDN’T have two years ago.
*I enjoy giving people advice. Counseling others is my happy place, and sometimes I offer advice even when people don’t need (or want) it. It’s just my thing. It’s my love language. I’m sorry for being so motherly, friends.
*I sing. All. Of. The. Time. Not particularly well. But I don’t care. I enjoy it. And if you think about it – it’s sort of a giant metaphor for the entire premise of this post. I’m not any good at it, but it makes me feel ALIVE to do it. So I do it. And often.
*I love 80’s movies. And music. And early 90’s television. And for a few years I would have traded everything to be Josephine Potter or Rory Gilmore for a day.
*I’m fiercely loyal to my friends and family – and if you’re in that circle, you’re stuck with me for life.
*I come alive in literature. I’m like a method actor reader. I transport myself wholly into the story and become the characters. I live it in my head and I sink into a depression every time a story comes to a close.
*I still see shapes in clouds.
*I love to camp and I’d love to spend an entire summer off the grid exploring the great parks of the US and Canada with a backpack, a tent, a canoe, my camera, and my family. No phones. No jobs. No noise. Just nature and the stars and the northern lights and living.
*I unconsciously match the tone, tenor, accent, and cadence of speech of whomever I’m talking to, which is highly embarrassing when speaking to people who have obvious accents. (No. I’m not mocking you, cute couple from Scotland who needs family photos. I’m sorry. I have a weird RainMan brain when it comes to speech.)
*I’m all confidence and bravado on the outside, but deep down I’m terrified that I won’t be loved or accepted for who I am, and I finally realized this year (through an amazing and life changing experience with soulmate friends in Colorado) that we’re all a little afraid that we won’t be loved or accepted. And that made me feel a lot less uncool for being so insecure. Because insecurity is a part of the human condition. Fear of not being accepted, or not getting affirmation or encouragement or support or praise, or whatever else it is that we seek from others, is within each of us. Interestingly, this fear is what brings us together. (Life, you’re so ironic.) So I’ve decided to own that fear and instead of using it as a reason to hide my true self, it’s now a reason to SHOW that self. Because I don’t need love or acceptance or praise or acknowledgement or anything else from people who don’t. get. me. Exactly as I am. Needing it from people who will never give it to me completely devalues those who already give it to me freely. And it’s like punching those people in the throat when I act like it’s not enough.
It IS enough.
Because the truth, darlings, is this: we are not our perceived weaknesses. We are not our fears. We are not other people’s judgements. We can choose to be who we think we are – or we can choose to be who we are behind all the bullshit. Who we truly are. Who we were created to be. And we can dance to the kickass bass line that is the booming, pulsating, echoing beat of our infinitely cool and exponentially unique lives. The rest is just unnecessary distortion. And, in keeping with the metaphor, there’s a pedal that’ll turn that shit right off.
Step on it.