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Who were you before the world told you who to be?

I often sit and wonder when I stopped being myself and started trying to fit in. As a child, I wrote, I sang, I created, I made potions, talked to spirits, and ran barefoot through the Earth. I was sensitive and emotional and loud. Expressive. Somewhere along the way, I learned that I should be quiet, not take up too much space, stay clean, and that the arts would never never make me sucessful.

In the end, in order to blend in and make peace, I abandoned myself. I hid. In the hiding I found shame. A deep shame that only continued to grow. I internalized a myriad of messages (from home, school, media, etc) that told me to SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP. I listened. Mainly because I was scared of being different. Scared of showing my passions, true self. The things I loved weren't fun anymore. The joy was lost in all of the judgement. If I couldn't be the best at something or leverage it into a successful career...what was the point? I told my inner child that she wasn't good enough, her dreams were too big, and that she needed to stop rocking the boat.

My true self wasn't the person I "should" be. So, I became what the world expected of me and, in doing so, lost touch with everything I truly was. I spent way too much time "shoulding" all over myself and, in the end, just convinced myself that I was not enough. This belief would become deeply imprinted and would take years and tons of work to unravel. Even now, as I stand in my power and live a life that I choose, the bully creeps in. "Who do you think you are?!" it screams. And I begin to question myself. Sometimes the voice is so loud that I forget that it is not my own. I forget that I know I am worthy, loved, and perfect as I am.

I used to fight that voice. Tell her to shut up or go away. But that never worked for me either. That only made the voice louder and stronger. It's been a long journey back to self and some days are easier than others. But the main thing I've learned is to SURRENDER. Rather than fighting that bully, I made friends with her. I choose to love her and honor her. To thank her for keeping me safe in a world that was not ready for people to be different.

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