March 17, 2022

I Am not who I “Should” Be—& I Don’t Want to Be.

“So, you’ve had a spiritual awakening, huh?

Lost all your friends, can’t work a “real job” anymore, and your family thinks you’re nuts. Welcome to paradise.” (A meme that made its way to my timeline.)

I remember when I introduced myself as the crazy friend. I giggled at the look on the other person’s face that depicted a thought like, “Okayyyyy, that’s odd.” A raised eyebrow, a glance at their person. Their energy felt like resistance to acceptance and maybe a little fear. They kept their distance. “Crazy” is so uncertain. Unconventional. Different. Uncomfortable.

But I didn’t care. There I stood, smiling, despite. In full acceptance of who I am. I was weird, confident, wild. Dancing around to the beat of my own drum. They didn’t have to like me because I liked me.

The quickest way to lose yourself is to place your needs and your identity in the hands of another. Pulling off embedded chains is freeing, and I’ll fly again, someday.

I’m not sure when I started to care what others think. And by care, I mean to give priority to the opinion another has of me over my own. And to do so so deeply that I do whatever they say to please them. To be whatever they think I should be to be accepted.

Maybe it was my first emotional trigger. It brought up a sense that I couldn’t control. And I didn’t want to be outside of my own control.

I’d been there; it didn’t feel good. Like when I couldn’t stop my world from abruptly changing. When I couldn’t make some I loved love me. When I hid my truth so I wouldn’t stand out.

I was back. Sober and bubbling with buried emotions; I cracked and then I poured. I was filled with shame. What was happening to me was unsightly and undesirable to everyone, including me. It was uncharted territory. I became the resistant energy that I used to accept in others. And I desperately began looking outside of me for someone to keep me grounded.

Over time, this feeling turned into a monster that ate my friends, my family, and my confidence.

It began as a slow leak, a short drizzle. Eventually, it poured, and before I knew it, I was complete a storm.

To keep myself anchored, I looked beyond myself. I grabbed onto what I was “supposed” to be. I tied myself to everything that appeared to shine, hoping to dry my soaking self before I would drown in my own demons.

Time and time again, I felt the added pain that comes from carrying the weight of these anchors. They were pierced into my skin and pulling me in any direction that would hold me down. Which is what I came to want, not fully realizing that the grounding those anchors provided were actually detrimental to my well-being.

I was not what I tied myself to in an attempt to feed and appease the resurfaced emotions that carried me away from my former self. The resistance only created more pain and uncertainty.

With all good intentions, I had lost myself and failed to come back through the guiding light of others.

What I thought was a guiding light was actually a star that shined in my darkness and I wouldn’t reach it. It was far away and it was not mine. It was outside of me. It was everything that I wished to become if only I held on tight enough, but it didn’t belong to me. I was not what I attached myself to in order to save myself. I caused myself more pain piercing the beliefs and opinions of others into my being and begging them to drag me in their direction.

I see this now. And years later, I’m doing the hard and invisible work to detach myself from what I’ve come to believe I should be.

Pure love and acceptance of who I am now, most importantly from myself, and allowing what doesn’t align with that to fall away—that is the path of my guiding light.

I’m digging into my skin, identifying with a heightened awareness. And I’m pulling off embedded chains so I can be free, again. Free to be me: the “crazy” friend who smiles anyway.

Scars will remain as reminders not to attach myself to someone else’s belief of who I “should” be. To remind me that it’s okay to be me in all of my shapes, colors, and sizes. That I need to nurture my authentic self in order to thrive.

Those are my beats. That is my drum. This is my dance.


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