Oh how I used to do this. There were times when I was so ‘watered down’ so as not to ‘make waves’ that you could see right through me, float a boat on my surface, splash about in me~ YIKES. Now, I’ve reconstituted…(is that the right term?) solidified a bit more and am discovering for the first time who ‘me’ really is. I often wonder about the origins of this state of being. I was a colorful kid, unafraid of being center stage; precocious, like a little a ‘grownup in a kid suit’. I was able to carry on conversations with my parents’ friends and older relatives. I don’t ever recall being told that ‘children should be seen and not heard’ and yet, somehow, I found myself (or rather, lost myself) in an attempt to fit in. I developed into a good little co-dependent who in the 5th decade of my life, is finally feeling able to be genuine….what you see is what you get.
Today I was speaking with someone about vulnerability, she expressed that there were only a select group of people with whom she could find ‘safe haven’ and be genuine. Others, she felt, might take advantage of her and betray her trust. Nope, that’s not it for me. I trust easily most of the time, giving people the benefit of the doubt that they have my best interest at heart as I do with them. Sometimes I miss the mark and realize that I needed to be more discerning, but fortunately I have not become cynical.
There have been times in my life in which I dressed flamboyantly in vibrant colors, glitter, and glow. My friend David told me one time that he didn’t believe I put the glitter on, but instead, it came from my pores. I wore my rainbow hued, moon and star embellished clown shoes to my job as a social worker. If I really was brave and as externally colorful as I am on the inside, I would dye my hair purple, or at least a few select stripes. I would dare to bare myself more emotionally, speaking my truth and asking for what I want, rather than holding back for fear of offending, taking up too much space or someone’s time. I learned not to inconvenience anyone, since I had felt that childhood asthma did indeed inconvenience my parents, although they would never have said so. On the surface, it may look like I have it all together while in reality, I have the jello-shakes sometimes; wondering when the other shoe will drop or being braced for disapproval. Being uniquely me would mean, peeling off the layers of pseudo safety, of hiding behind my professional façade and admitting that I feel a slew of emotions that look like anger, sadness, envy, frustration, disappointment and heaven forbid…judgment. When I allow for those states of being, I am truly able to love the woman in the mirror since I know her by heart.