Be Yourself

Quotes from Getting in Touch with Your Inner Bitch:

Always be yourself.  That way no one will ever be able to ask, “What happened to the nice girl I first met?”

“I say if I’m beautiful.  I say if I’m strong.  You will not determine my story, I will.”  – Amy Schumer

Growing up, I worried a lot about looking stupid and who was watching … sort of like a cat who tries to be nonchalant after a missed leap.  This began around the age of 11.  I admit to always wanting people to like and praise me.  You can’t get those things if you always stay in the background, so I was generous and affectionate around family and friends.  Adults liked me and I liked them.  They were more comprehensible.

As I got older, I realized that everyone was comparing and judging themselves and others.  Competition morphed into winning and loosing, a winner and many losers.  This let me to be an extremely cautious adolescent and unusually shy in social settings.  Around me junior year in high school, I realized that I had to change something if I wanted the full experience, especially as  a senior.

Based on that, I forced myself to participate and gradually became more comfortable doing it.  I went away to college as a freshman, but came home after a single year.  I met my ex-husband and became sexually active.  Still, it took years for me to have the biggest epiphany:  I am just not important enough for the people who might see a stupid mistake to care about … with a corollary that I probably will never cross paths with most of them again.

On the other hand, I will have to live forever with the choices that I make and the changes I make to “fit it.”  I try not to do too many things I hate.  (Some are unavoidable, like getting up before the sun all winter to make it to work on time.)  I contextualize my own life.  Instead of explaining things later and justifying what someone else sees as a change, I am upfront who I am and what is important to me.  I warn those who ask for advice that I can listen to them and synthesize what they’ve told them to help them clarify OR I can synthesize and offer my opinion and advice.  If they ask for that advice, I will try to be tactful but I will be truthful.  And I try to tell at least a certain level of truth about myself (in context) to others.

I’ve found this streamlines my life and is a lot less exhausting emotionally.  Of course, I am not perfect at it.  I am a work in progress and that does mean change.  Since I’m trying to be honest, those changes are a lot less likely to be shocking.