As I pack my books I am struck with the feeling of missing the person I thought I was going to be. I had ideals of becoming some poetic writer, able to synthesize historic political moments with Greek mythology and personal experience in some creative relevant way so as to have poignant commentary on current events and the direction our world is heading. Or something.
But you see, while I am good at some things, they are not that. I wanted to be scholarly and patient, abstract yet level headed…the type of person who says, “Mmhmm” a lot when they listen to you, pauses, and then says something deep and meaningful, so as to show that they completely understood what you said but are now adding some new piece of information that will change the way you think about things forever. But instead I am impatient, expressive, intuitive, blunt, linear, sarcastic, emotional, and childish. I dance around. I have a really crappy work ethic and like, zero attention span. I make snap judgments and I think I am right all the time. I am not the “Mmhmm” person. I am me.
Sometime in college I was struck with the conviction that the best gift I could give to the world, was myself, completely whole and at my best. The best way I could help others was by helping myself first.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” -Marianne Williamson
But it’s hard to come to terms with the person you actually are. There is a lot of fear involved. At least, for me there has been. I will probably live with the “fear of what others think of me” my entire life. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a lot of my qualities. I mean, they are me. I am quirky and weird. Like…really weird. I wish I were aloof and cool and had good “taste in music,” but I don’t. I like musicals. I think they are witty and cheesy and sappy and wonderful. And they are expressive and dramatic, but also strikingly accurate in their depiction of whatever they are talking about, they have a through line, a beginning, middle, and end, and they are emotional and poignant. If fact, now that I think about it, I am a lot like a musical. And musicals have their merit. But they are not a textbook, and they are over in 2 hours. So much for patience and knowledge.
It’s okay to be who you are. (She says to her reflection in the mirror.) Even when it means you’re not the things you’re not. Because only you can be you. (Everyone else is already taken, right Oscar Wilde?)
Just when you have spent 22 years building an image in your mind and 3 years failing at living it out, it’s hard at 25 to put your fists down and stop fighting. Even if it leads to greater things, you are still mourning the death of a dream.
“There is not coming to consciousness without pain.” -Carl Jung
“I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” -Jesus