Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~ Dr. Seuss
Know this. Life is too short to spend it worrying about what other people think. Having said that, one caveat. I’ve passed the majority of my days trying to be like others, trying to be the same, even when that same didn’t fit. I’m a sensitive sort. Criticism and negative words sting in a place very deep. My childhood did not exactly lend itself to conformity. At some point, however, I discovered that being me felt right, felt fun, was energizing and freeing in a way that nothing else ever was. Being me, without question, was what I was here to do.
Being me is sometimes difficult. I live in a world of sameness, of conservative views and even more conservative actions. I live in a world of suits and ties and voting to the right, a world where everybody looks like, well, everybody else. I live in a world of sidewalks and soccer practice and Saturday night cards with the girls. I live in a world of keeping appearances, of everything is pretty on the outside but falling apart on the inside. I live in a world where non-conformity is spoken of in hushed tones between innings at Little League games, during lacrosse half times, and while standing around with the other parents waiting to pick up a child from swim class. I live in a world where non-conformity is weird and different and something to which one should never aspire, at all, under any circumstance.
But here is what I’ve learned.
Not being me is stifling. Not being me is like wearing a turtleneck on a hot summer day. I am dressed, yes, but I am either going to faint dead away or completely lose it and strip naked right in front of everybody. There will be no pretty middle ground. There will be no appropriate action of any sort. And, yes, there will be much to talk about while waiting to pick up little Johnny from the next den meeting.
I am not suit and tie. Nor am I Saturday night cards. I am barefoot and sleeveless, a faded pair of jeans. I am curled up with a book and a good glass of wine. I am a walk alone in the woods or a solitary stroll along a sun-drenched beach. I am lost in my thoughts, never where I seem, and most at home when bucking a trend. I am reaching out, speaking my mind, helping those who others shun. I am home birth and family bed and nursing past two. I am strengths and loving life and fat glass of soymilk way past full. I am vegan, kind, a Buddhist at heart. If I never watched television again, I would be absolutely fine. I ride the line between science and not, insist on research, facts, figures of all sorts, yet entertain notions of twin souls, spirit guides, karma and past lives. I am married to the same man forever with no step-this or no step-that. I entered life a lefty, bucking the trend from birth. I am not suit and tie. I am not even close.
I am a study in contradictions, one of those tough classes you want to avoid but have no way around. I am compassionate, calm, go with the flow, but piss me off and I’ll wield my words to cut you to the ground. I am certain but confused, lighthearted but serious. I am thoughtful, and yet unthinking. I am language prim and proper, all dressed up, with the most delicious curse words sprinkled throughout. I listen quietly, absorbing, mulling, but have an opinion and know how to use it. I am bossy and pushy and must be in charge. I complain, and I whine, and when irked, slam doors like no other. And, yet, I am grateful and loving and have smiles to spare. I am Victorian grace, all laced up in corsets and collars with a hint of cleavage and a suggestive look. To know me is to wonder if you really actually know me at all. But this is who I am. And I must do it. Not being me serves no one.
When I am me, I love my life. I love others. I am strong and happy and eager to inspire. I am motivated to move, to empower, to encourage those others to love their lives as well, to be more of who they are, to be strong and happy and also eager to inspire. When I am me, I am a refreshing breeze on a blistering summer day. I am sunshine and smiles and a warm feeling in a once-cold heart. I am everything inside me just waiting to come out. I am learning and listening, a student of life. I am sharing and showing and shamelessly bold. When I am me, I am not a turtleneck on a hot summer day. I am sitting on a porch swing with a nice cool glass of sweet iced tea, laughing and loving and living my life. I am, in fact, life itself as life was meant to be.