This is kind of a mind dump, so prepare yourself for fragments and a rough flow …
I spent a lot of my life trying to be someone I just wasn’t.
A dancer. A singer. An actress. A speaker. A choreographer. A leader.
I didn’t know I wasn’t those things. I guess I kept thinking I could be. So, I kept alluding to being this girl that I wasn’t. Looking back, I can confidently say I didn’t do any of it maliciously or pathologically. Always curious, always wanting to be better, I’d sign up for things, thinking I should and that it’d be different this time — that it’d be natural, good, maybe even easy. But it wasn’t. Ever. At all.
I punked out each and every time it was time to perform.
I’d quit. Back out. Stall. I even faked sickness a time or two.
Something started me thinking about it all last night. I felt the flush of a fool and it was like opening up pandora’s box. In an instance, memory after memory came flooding back — reminders of times when I ran because I knew I wasn’t going to live up to expectations — mine and/or someone else’s …
Soccer. Track. That time I got cheerleading co-captain for basketball. That acting class. Club president. Choreographing for a local JV cheerleading squad. Choreographing for the church’s family program. Speaking at/welcoming/doing a skit at FCA. Chorus in 7th grade. Random pickup sports. I’m still not even sure I didn’t initially pursue my current career because I realized I just wasn’t an expert in my former one. The list goes on …
This is my pattern. That’s my confession. My fear of failure. My self-loathing and condemnation. My pride and self-protection. My idolizing of labels and talents and my pathetic pursuit of what was never mine to catch.
I’m writing this now because I feel the pull of old habits. Feeling slow at success in this new career, I’m inclined to sign up for what’s not mine to own … to be what I’m not … to walk toward something I’ll most likely turn tail and run from eventually …
But, I won’t give in. It’s harder to run the older you get. There’s more to lose. Less to gain. It’s not really even an option anymore — to walk away. Finances won’t stand for it. My reputation wouldn’t survive it. And frankly, I actually don’t want to run. Even though it’s hard and I’m still learning and growing into/from it, I like where I’m at, what I’m doing, and who I’m impacting. I'm good at this, even if I like to tell myself that I'm not.
So, I’m not going to try and be what I’m not. I’ll never be that counselor that works cases just to get hours. I’ll never be that counselor that markets herself as an expert on something just because it’s a good marketing/brand strategy. I’m made for an in-depth discussion in a little room behind a closed door. I’m a reader and a writer and a thinker. I’m an introvert. I’m flawed. I’m still learning how to evade depression and to reach for connection. I care less about what you think than I did, but still care a little too much about what I think of myself … and I have to stop apologizing for all of it.
I’m working on loving who I am and who I was in my scared, impressionable, reactionary years. My husband says there's a silver lining in all of it — a hint of nobility in my quitting — I got to try a lot of different things, more than most people. I tested waters. I found out for sure what I liked and what I didn’t … what I could do and what I couldn’t … where I fit and what grated against my nature. I may not have known it then, but I know it now.
I’m better today for my foolish ways and failures of yesterday. Praise God.