Discovering who I am is the fun part. Being authentically me in places I don’t fit in… That is the challenge. It is a hard thing to change the way I’ve always been. My habitual responses are so strong, it is too often easier to fall back into those ways. But it is getting harder. More and more difficult to NOT be myself. Sometimes I leave a situation feeling like I’ve failed. Failed at being me. I feel angry and powerless, wondering if I’ll ever be able to get past these triggers, these fears, these insecurities.
Safer to make myself invisible. Don’t make waves. Who are you kidding, you’re not even really an adult. No one wants to see you. Hear you. Don’t risk it. You might be “wrong.” You might mess up. All these people are more important, more powerful, more worthy. Better to stay quiet and out of the way. The things that hold me down. The lies I have believed for far too long. Still taunting me in my most vulnerable moments. Overtaking me. Shutting me up. Hiding me away. This is my pattern. A pattern I am trying to break. A life I don’t want anymore.
The shame creeps in again. What is wrong with you? You know you don’t want to be this way. You know this isn’t you. Why can’t you just be yourself? Why did you say that thing, not say that other thing? You should’ve done this, not done that. I stop myself. This isn’t me. These are all the same voices, the ones that try to keep me from myself. But that’s not who I am. No, I am gentle with myself.
I remind myself how incredibly hard it is to become something new. It takes practice. Trial and error. Look at the ways you have changed. The moments you succeeded. You don’t have to be everything you want to be, all at once. It’s frustrating. Heartbreaking even. And that’s ok. It’s not easy. I didn’t fail. I’m growing. I’m changing. I’m becoming more and more, moving toward wholeness.
I love the way Brene Brown talks about having a strong back, a soft front, and a wild heart. I have built myself instead, a strong front to hide and protect my wild heart from my soft back. And rebuilding takes time. I’m getting there. Dropping my defenses as my confidence grows. Letting my light come out of the darkness where it has been locked away for safe keeping. I meet a lot of opposition. My old ways of living no longer serving my needs. People not really liking this new me. The pressure to be consistent and predictable. The roles I have already been cast in. There is always loss in new beginnings. The pain of letting go of what was. There is also beauty. Beyond what I even thought possible.
As a humble caterpillar transforms into a brilliant butterfly, I shed my old life. I may still feel like I’m stuck on the ground sometimes. But I have these wings now. And they’ll take me places I could only dream of. That traumatized little girl will always be a part of me, but I am something new. Something bold. Something beautiful. A woman who most definitely makes waves. A voice that speaks truth in love. A heart full of empathetic momentum. This intricate design of strength, passion, and all the feels. This is who I am becoming. This is me.