I am free, I said.
Free to be whoever I want to be at any given time. Wild and crazy? Subdued and poised? Quiet and moody? Joyful and positive? A dancer, a baker, a writer, a teacher, someone who wears flowers in her hair (like Angela)?...
Once a girlfriend asked me to go out to a club dancing, which I'd never done before. Seemed like a fun idea, and something I'd never had a chance to do. My then boyfriend said "You don't go dancing. Why are you suddenly a dancer now?"
Because I can be. Because now is as good a time as any. Because there's a first time for everything. And because a dance does not a dancer make, anyway! (...As I proceeded to quickly learn from that experience!)
Recently, I found myself swept up in the frenzy of March Madness. My parents said "Since when are you a basketball fan?" shocked that a mostly anti-sports person could be so into college basketball.
Since now. Because I can be. Because now is as good a time as any. Because there's a first time for everything.
If I lived by all the prior and often narrow definitions of myself, definitions that are often, I might add, decided by others, I'd never open myself up to new ideas and never have many of the memorable new experiences that make me who "I am" today. The very things that are now part of my repertoire of self had to start somewhere.
We rush to define ourselves. We are told when we're young that we are still "finding" ourselves and that our goal should be to "know who you are." As if, some day, when we get married or hit 30, it is all figured out and never changes, and that all decisions from then on should be based upon who we think we are at that moment. How does it allow us the ability to grow, change, develop new opinions and ideas if we just settle in and don't continue to learn about who we are or who we could be?
I hear it all the time: "Oh, well my sister is the creative one in the family, not me. That's her thing" or "my husband knows more about technology so I leave all that to him." Why do we let the strengths of others become how we define our weaknesses? Why do we let their abilities minimize our own? Why are we so quick to define ourselves in ways that limit who we can be? The answer, I think most of us know, is that it is just easier to take that approach than it is to learn something new, put in the effort, or open yourself up to failure, mistakes.
who are you?
Whoever you choose to be!
Make it happen. If you fail, or decide you don't like it, at least you tried it on for size. At least you'll know that your self definition does not include limiting yourself.
collecting a moment of pure joy by journeyswithasimplegirl
~cara of cararosephotos
p.s. I dedicate this post to Andrew and Melly and any friend who sat and discussed this with me for hours back when I was "figuring out 'who i am'."