Have you ever looked in the mirror and not recognized who looked back at you?
Growing up, I think we all have that moment. And to an extent, I think that moment is important. It forces you to figure out who you are and what you want. Even if and when that changes, it’s good to make a decision so you have a direction to move in.
But when these moments happen continually, it’s a sign that you’re stuck. It’s a sign that you’ve lost touch with the very things that make you who you are.
I’ve struggled with my identity a lot over the last several years. I grew up morbidly obese, lost weight and found myself in an eating disorder. I hopped from abusive relationship to abusive relationship, got married, gained all of the weight back and then some, had a baby, got divorced, became a single mom.
Looking back on it, I didn’t give myself nearly enough credit for the amount of things that happened in such a short time frame. But all of this not only affected my self esteem, but also my actual identity.
I wasn’t sure where I belonged, where I fit, what box to put myself in.
I love make up, but I’m not all that girly.
I’m very feminine, but my style is more masculine.
I fall under the ‘alternative’ umbrella, but I’m very bubbly and loud.
I’m very nerdy and love to read, but I never fit in with the bookworms at school.
I love to game (Xbox is my drug of choice), but have never really found my place within the gaming community.
I’m a very open, loud, 26 year old, but I don’t like going out to places like clubs or bars.
Every where I went, I wasn’t sure where I fit. I always felt like I was either too much or not enough. Worst case scenario, it felt like it was both. That’s a conundrum that will send your anxiety ruminating for months. Ask me how I know.
Then there comes the struggle with weight loss. I used to fall under the plus sized umbrella, but not so much anymore. I’m obsessed with fitness and health, but I don’t really fall in that category, either. I’m in this inbetween stage where I don’t know where to land.
I live in what I have dubbed Nerd Shirts and sweats. My form of dressing up includes a cut up, edgy looking shirt with maybe a pair of jeans or a denim mini skirt. However, a pair of solid black leggings is my preferred go to. I own two pairs of shoes: gym shoes and a pair of black high tops for going out.
With all of this, I felt out of place. I kept putting myself in uncomfortable situations thinking that I needed to just get myself out there. Keep going to those places, keep doing those things, dumb myself down in some areas and try to make myself out to be something I’m not in others.
I thought I needed to go out of my way to do things that I didn’t enjoy. I didn’t realize that I was diluting the actual things that made me, well, me.
I kept trying to fit myself inside a box when the reality is that I’m not meant to be confined to one space. I wasn’t made to fit a stereotype or be easily figured out. I was only meant to be, from the very beginning, me.
So I made the decision own who I am, inside and out.
I can still love to get done up while wearing t-shirts and leggings.
I can still be feminine while being edgy.
I can go out and enjoy myself without needing to go party.
I can still love to read and learn while also being a total gaming nerd.
I can be ME without needing to check and see if it’s socially acceptable.
The hardest part of this transition is accepting that not everyone will like it. Not everyone in my life will stick around while I settle into the new me. And that’s ok.
They’re used to a different person. Who I am now is a new version, and they’re not required to like it. And that’s ok.
Due to my outer appearance, some people will be automatically turned off. And that’s OK.
Not only is that ok – it’s actually amazing. It makes my life so much easier.
Some people don’t like the blue hair, the nerd shirts, the constant Star Wars references and loud laughter. And that’s so wonderful. Those people aren’t going to approach me, I’m not going to attract them. I don’t have to waste my time or theirs. I’m not going to be everyone’s person. I don’t want to be.
The beautiful thing about becoming authentically myself means that I’m no longer limited by what people will think or if I’ll be pushing anyone away. In repelling those who aren’t my people, it makes room to attract those that are.
It means I get to narrow in on my tribe so much quicker. The people who get my humor, the people who dig my style, the people who understand my crazy, those are my people. The ones who don’t, aren’t. And that’s ok.
Becoming ok with who you are is one of the most empowering, freeing things you could ever do for yourself and the world at large. Unleashing your most authentic self is terrifying and absolutely wonderful. It’s accepting that who you aren’t won’t please everyone – and you don’t really want to.
The more you you become, the more you’re going to attract your people. The more you’re going pull people to you that need to hear what you have to say. Yea, you’re going to repel some people. But those people were never your people to begin with.
Stop hiding who you are behind who you think the world wants you to be. Start owning who you are and let your light shine. Be unashamedly authentically you.