I yell at my kids. More than I’d like to admit. And, even about things that they really, really don’t deserve to be yelled at for. My patience hits a wall, my stress eats away at me, and BOOM! They are the collateral damage of my failure to dial it back and put things in perspective.
The idea of going out and socializing looms over me like a storm cloud. I can anticipate the laughter, imagine the fun, and even worry about what I may be missing. At the same time, the tug to just be cozy in my home, in solitude, knowing my people are safely snoozing overhead is heaven.
I heart Justin Bieber’s new music. No joke. I listen to it constantly, sing along at the top of my lungs, and usually rock my version of some “hot” hip hop moves totally off beat. If his tour was coming near me, you’d better bet I’d be there bopping around with all of his young and beautiful Beliebers.
Meditation fills a slot on my calendar every day, but more often than not my mind wanders and checks lists and forgets to focus on not focusing. I’m not just watching the clouds of thought pass by, I’m actually plucking them from the sky and organizing them into my agenda. Not the goal of meditation. I can’t let it go. I’m a total meditation fraud.
Meat is off the menu for me. I eat fish, but no land animals. This, however, does not mean I eat healthfully. I limit my children’s intake of junk, wardening the pantry and pushing the fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Meanwhile, I sneak into the corner and stuff my trap with potato chips and chocolate covered almonds.
This is me. Who I am, faults and idiosyncrasies, delights and downfalls. I share these personal, unflattering, and awkward details because—huge surprise—I am who I am. Like me or don’t. Judge me. I don’t care anymore; at least I’m trying not to care. I have finally reached a point where I’m on a mission to accept me.
I have spent so much of my life worrying about what everyone else was going to think about me: how I looked, what I did, my choices. The truth is, nobody really cares that much. Everyone is too busy worrying about themselves to actually give me a second thought. Yet, there I am, questioning myself and making choices out of fear of judgement and lack of acceptance.
It’s a lesson that has been hard-learned. For some reason, being me isn’t so easy. It involves constant practice and lots of courage. I’m trying to teach my children now, that other people’s actions, opinions, judgements don’t matter; to stay true to their own desires, listen to their own hearts, and be leaders, even though it is not as simple as following the crowd or fitting in. And truly, doing what is expected, common, and mainstream is the easy-out. It’s when you listen to your own intuition, follow the desires in your heart and head, and fear not what others think of the person you truly are that is difficult. That’s what takes courage and effort.
I’m not sure what has triggered this new outlook, but I do know if I don’t stop faking my life, I’m going to miss the whole ride. It’s kind of like going to a dance class and sitting in a chair the entire time. You can see what’s going on, but can you leave feeling like you experienced anything? I’m tired of watching the dance and pretending like I don’t have some moves of my own.
This Valentine’s Day I’m going to embrace the real me. It’s time to live authentically and be my true self. Does this mean I won’t work on my diet or try to rein in the temper tantrums I throw at my kids? Absolutely not. Those are things I want to change and improve, but I am not going to pretend that I am Holly Homemaker, the picture of calm, perfection, and high fashion. It’s just not who I am. What I am is honest, and caring, nerdy, silly, spacey, always-freezing, reliable, loyal, snappish, quiet, introverted, and a work-in-progress.
I’m not going to worry if someone hears my kids meltdown or me snap at them. It happens. If my outfit isn’t posh enough, but it is comfortable and makes me feel good, well then yay for me. I’ll go out once in a while, but home is where my joy is. And, yeah, I’m going to keep on singing backup to the Biebs because, man, is it fun!
Guess what? This also means I want to know and love the real you, too. Drop the facade. Please don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. Please don’t put on a show or try to be anything. Just be you. Be honest. I will too. When I ask how you are, don’t just say fine. If you need to, tell me you have had a crappy day and you just want to go home and cozy up to a bottle of wine, some fried chicken, and reality TV. I will still love you. Maybe even more. Promise.