All my life.
Breaking tradition is not often smiled upon where I grew up. You do what everyone has always done. Because that’s just what you do.
Except, it never felt right. I went to school because I had to. I got good grades because there was no other option. I even started working in childcare because everyone said I was so good with kids that I should be a teacher.
I never wanted to be a teacher. I always wanted to be a writer. But I had so many adults telling me that writing would never pay my bills or put food on my table. Writing is for when you have spare time. Writing is what you do in your diary and you never let anyone read it.
So, I stopped writing. I stopped being me. I tried so hard for so long to be what everyone wanted me to be. I tried to be perfect. I tried to fit into the square holes of society. I worked at a credit card company because my in laws thought it was more respectable than being a preschool teacher. I became a massage therapist because my now ex was in a car accident.
All the while, I didn’t write. I wasted all that time trying to be someone I wasn’t.
I’ve wasted a lot of time and all it has caused me is pain and frustration. The anxiety alone is crippling. When you spend nearly 40 years of your life trying to be something you aren’t there will be problems. You start worrying if your true self is showing. Did you say something weird? Are they looking at me? What did I do?
Eventually, you stop going where the people are. You shop at midnight to avoid them. You text instead of answer your phone. And you practically don’t go anywhere alone.
Because when you deny your true nature for so long, you start to lose yourself. You lose your identity. It’s the best form of camouflage; you just blend into the background, silent and still. The only form you assume is when you’re with someone. At that point, you’re not even human; you’re a shadow. A shadow of your self. Something that blends and molds to the surrounding environment. You get an idea of what it should be but never see the full thing.
I was like that for so long. There wasn’t much left of me to save.
I saw what it was doing to my daughter. My behavior was dampening her bright light. And I hated myself for it. She deserved better. Here I was telling her to draw, study art, learn all she could to express herself, and I hadn’t given myself the permission to do the same.
I was a hypocrite.
If I wanted better for her, then I needed to be better myself. And that meant living bigger, dreamer bigger, and expecting more out of life.
Invest in yourself
I want so much more than a mediocre life. I want more than Monday to Friday 9 – 5. I don’t want to wear a uniform or a name tag. I don’t want to have “normal” colored hair. I don’t want to ask permission to go to the bathroom.
That’s why I write books and blogs, record videos and podcasts. Because my time and my life are worth so much more than just $10.24 an hour with no vacation or sick pay.
I want late mornings and later nights. I want 3 am brain storming sessions while watching the stars. I want to see my parents more. I want to enjoy my kids more. I want to take my family to where I grew up. I want to be able to take a day off or be sick or not do anything and be okay.
I was not made for mediocre. I am made of the same stuff as stars and I am tired of trying to fit my sparkly star shaped ass in the square holes of “normal” society.
I have never been comfortable doing what I should and what other people thought I should. But I did for so long. And for 40 years I have not been the perfect wife, daughter, mother, or friend. I never will. But for the next 40 years I will not settle.
I will not settle for less than I’m worth. And I will not tolerate anyone or anything that will attempt to make me feel less than my stellar self. And I will spend every day of the next 40 years reminding myself of my own greatness. And others.
And I’m starting today. I love you. I am grateful for you. And I’m proud of you.