Once upon a time, a long long time ago, I was in high school.
It was so long ago that there were 13 grades instead of 12. And in grade 13 we did university level/style courses, where we didn’t take “English” or “Phys Ed,” we took things like “Writer’s Craft” and “Kinesiology.”
I loved Writer’s Craft. We wrote every day, all class. I hated poetry hahaha I don’t know why, even – I wasn’t bad at it! I think because poetry so OBVIOUSLY tapped into emotions and I was soooo uncomfortable doing that and putting myself on display; it’s easier to stay hidden behind the walls than it is to let people see you and their reaction to be unsavoury, it’s just a fact.
But I wrote a lot in high school. And I wrote all sorts of different things. Stories, poems, plays, journals, letters… and probably because it was the subject I knew the most, I wrote a lot about my life.
Recently, when I was hit with a wave of grief over a friend from back then who died I found myself digging through all these old books of mine – albums, photo journals, regular journals – hunting for any and all signs of his existence, trying to prove to myself that I’m not in fact crazy, that these incredibly debilitating emotions I am experiencing 18 years later are actually based upon something that did in fact happen in my past, and are not being drudged up by some twisted figment of my imagination.
In that search I came across my old Writer’s Craft works, my old projects, my old writings.
I was 18 in grade 13.
One work in particular stood out to me when I read it recently, and I wanted to share it with you in this platform – I think the only people who have ever read it are my mom, way back then, and then my teacher when she marked the project (I got 98% on my final project – I rememeber she said she would have given me 100% but it would have looked fishy, so she found SOMETHING to deduct hahahaha She was a fan of mine, which was lovely. She made me promise to be a newspaper columnist when I grew up, so naturally I became a Massage Therapist… insert eye-roll and facepalm here).
I wish I knew why I called it this, but it’s titled “Hier” (French for “yesterday”), and it went like this:
You know, I wish I wasn’t quite so weird – maybe conforming a bit is something I’m in need of. I can’t stand it, though, not being myself. And I hate it when I get the ‘be yourself’ lecture followed by ‘don’t be so crude all the time.’ I mean, maybe I AM crude and I like it like that!
So what if I’m loud? At least I’m heard. So what if my speech doesn’t emulate the typical ‘lady-like’ structure? At least I can express myself. So what if my appearance is less than desirable? At least I’m comfortable.
But there has got to be something more. There’s something else that either keeps me hidden away from the world, or pushes me in front of it for all to see.
Maybe I’m insecure. Not maybe – I am! But about what? I have been so confident for so long, so what am I missing?
Maybe I try too hard. But that doesn’t work because the complaint is that I don’t try hard enough. What am I supposed to be trying, anyway?
I don’t think they know me – what I am, what I want, what I can do. I don’t think they want to know.
They paint pictures – always the same. This is me to them. This is what they see: a work of art better than any. They don’t recognize their own work; they think it is the work of a master. They blot our their mistakes, blemishes, tricks of the eyes. They can’t see. They don’t know what’s there. I am just another person – nothing more. Perhaps even less. I’m not what they think. I can’t do that anymore.
‘They expect her to be perfect, Mom. It’s not fair. They should just leave her alone.’
In the final project it was presented alongside a photograph of myself, my giant Tigger, and a letter from a church leader, extolling my virtues.
No, I do not mean to sound ungrateful for the praise I received as a teenager, or as an adult, for that matter, for the talents and gifts I have that I am able to share with people. I LIKE being able to help people, I do! It’s one of the things that drives me forward in most of the work that I do, honestly. I don’t know why, it just is. Maybe because I’m so familiar with hurting I can’t handle knowing other people feel it too, I just… I have to help. Anyway….
No, it’s not about that. Ingratitude.
It’s about the pedestal. It’s about not feeling allowed to just…exist, you know? Whether it be a construct we imagine for ourselves or it be an actual fact of the families and/or cultures we are raised in there are definitely some of us who grow up feeling supressed, like we cannot relax and just be who we are.
Goodness, Disney made the entire movie Moana about this subject, so I know, at least, it’s not just me hahaha! (Who me, noooo I neeeever identify with fictional characters. Not ever!)
Somewhere along the way, for some reason, some of us get and accept the message that who we are, or who we want to be, is not good enough. And we hide.
I’ve said recently as I’ve been trying to redefine myself and pursue my passions how I wonder what it would have been like to have been male, because all my LIFE I cannot remember being told that I could do it. I was married, and as we struggled with money I was told time and again how my husband needed to make more money, he needed to get a better job, he needed to do all of these things to support his family.
But NO ONE TOLD ME I COULD DO IT.
I mean, I shouldn’t have needed them to – look at what I wrote at 18. “I don’t think they know me… what I can do.” I KNEW I could do it. But somewhere along the way I forgot. And when helpful, loving, caring people around me pointed out the problems in my life and that his financial security was imperative I didn’t question it; I accepted it, and tried to be helpful and supportive to make it happen for him.
I mean, no offense to the guy, I know we’re not married anymore, and this is not why. But like…. Why on EARTH was I not trying to do it myself?? Why was I sitting back and waiting for him? I have NEVER been a sit-back-and-wait kind of person, NEVER! I’m an action person!
..sometimes I act without thinking O:-) hahaha But I like to DO things. I make things happen.
No wonder I was miserable for so long. I was working against my own nature and I didn’t even realize it, it was so subconsciously ingrained in me.
Well, not anymore.
Sure, there are still things about myself you will never know, and different parts of me that stay tucked away for different people – I DO have some tact on occasion, and know when it is and is not appropriate to fully unleash the true Becca in the world hahaha But, in general, over the last year or so, this journey I’ve been on, I am FINALLY her. I am FINALLY me. I don’t let people tell me who I am anymore. You might think you know me, but it’s more likely you know what you think I am, not what I actually am. And that’s okay, too – you can think whatever you want. It doesn’t even matter. What matters is I am, and I am awesome, and I know it.
A while ago on instagram I answered whether or not my old self would be proud of my new self and I had to say, no, because I thought my old stick-in-the-mud self would be horrified with the blue hair, the tattoos, the broken marriage… all of the nightmarish things from my past that are now part of my reality: no of COURSE I wouldn’t be proud of me.
So it’s been really really great to go back NOW and realize that my recollection was wrong and that younger me was still cool. I hadn’t figured out how to be it yet, but I knew it was there. And while young me might look at old me and shake her head – whaaaat happened? – I think she’d be pretty jazzed that for the first time EVER I can truly say I am totally content in who I am.
It was a pretty big breakthrough.
Are YOU there yet? Is your young self proud of who you are now? Why or why not? You don’t have to tell me, but think about it, honestly. Are you like me and Moana, looking out over the ocean and hearing your own heart calling out to it, fighting the stifling expectations you’re limiting yourself with? Or are you free to be yourself, in all of your perfect imperfection, the way you were made to be?
If you’re NOT THERE YET, that’s okay! Honestly! You don’t have to be. You’re on your own timeline, in your own adventure. No one else has YOUR story – it’s all yours and only yours. But let me tell you a secret:
You have the power to change the story.
You can be and do pretty much anything you want to. You really can.
It’s not as easy as closing your eyes and wishing it so, NEVER! But you can do hard things. Just like I can. Just like Moana. And all the other Disney Princesses. (And you know, Wreck-it-Ralph).
That’s what Grit Gets Goals is all about. It’s what we’re DOING here. I know sometimes it seems I’m just here to pontificate about myself and my life, but that’s not true. I just want you to know that I get it – life is HARD, man! Depression is literally killer and it is BRUTAL navigating this already-hard life with chronic mental illness, it really is.
But I can do it.
And if I can do it with the limitations I have, you can do… whatever it is you want to do.
So let’s figure that out, and let’s go get it. Together.
THAT is was Grit Gets Goals is. That is what we are doing here. That is what we are building here.
I’m so excited for 2020, you guys. There are going to be some amazing things coming out both on this website and in a couple of other places I’m affiliated with I can’t wait to share with you. I am ALL OVER my passion planning for the year and it is going to be AMAZING – I can’t wait to share it all with you and take you with me for the ride!
Keep checking in – there will be lots more coming, soon. And thank you, so much, for being here with me so far! I truly have the best support and the best readers. We are building something epic and I am STOKED you are a part of it.
Be you. You are awesome. And the world needs as much awesome as it can get. Now, let’s get after it!