There are a few things that were inspirations for this post: personal experiences, a conversation with an acquaintance, and a friend’s blog post. Listening to Brandi Carlisle’s “The Story” on my walk home from the metro solidified the topic. In particular:
All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
In new or scary situations, we are afraid to share our story, to show who we are. We hold back tears, our feelings, our opinions. We hide our silly side, or quirky bits of trivia about ourselves, in case people might think we’re weird. We hesitate to let anyone into the deep parts of ourselves, our secrets, our dark sides. The sad and bad chapters in our lives are censored, for fear that we are judged by them, no matter the story.
But it’s time to hear the story. It’s time to be yourself – whether you’re dark and twisty like Meredith Grey, or sunny Mary Tyler Moore. In a big meeting on the new job, it’s time to put your two cents on the table and support your statement. To your friends, or your parents, your feelings should and do count, so speak them. Out loud. Hug people. Call them. Flirt. Cry. Give a compliment. Take a compliment.
It’s easy when things get tough, when day turns to night, when we feel alone, to forget who we are, and the stories that made us. We’re quick to joke about getting fired for making a small mistake at the office, to be defriended for telling the truth, for being dumped (or heck, not asked out in the first place) for being too aggressive or seeming too needy. We forget that we were: hired because we rock at our jobs, that we were friended because we’re good people, that we’re liked or loved because of all kinds of reasons.
In The Help, Aibileen tells the little girl she is nanny to “You a smart girl. You a kind girl,” every day, attempting to instill in her at an early age these positive mantras so that she will live them and believe in them as she grows up. Yet we don’t tell ourselves these things, and we’re stuck questioning if we’re attractive, intelligent, good at what we do, if we’re a good friend, a good daughter, parent, you name it.
In the end, we’re so worried about others’ perception of us being negative that we force that on ourselves and we’re already feeling like we’ve lost the game. Instead, how about waking up every day, remembering who we are, where we come from, and where we’re headed, and owning it. Our stories and our fears and dreams and the things that make us laugh and cry are the things that make us who we are. Our mistakes and our triumphs build us, and so does relishing in the fact that we adore a PB&J with milk well after childhood, or acknowledging that our parents can still give us a kick in the butt when we need it.
What’s your story? Are you owning who you are, each and every day?