For as long as I can remember, there’s been a discrepancy between who I think I want to be and who I really am.
I think want to be a woman who goes straight from her high-profile job (communications manager has a nice ring to it) to drinks with a gaggle of gossiping girlfriends without stopping to change her fabulous four-inch heels. Dream-Me would be impossibly cool and skinny and glamorous, with a killer fashion sense and an appreciation for the arts, obscure music, and foreign movies. In this perfect life, Dream-Me reads real literature and wears red lipstick and writes for pleasure and runs marathons and loves volunteering and doesn’t care what you guys think.
Dream-Me sounds fine – but she’s not me.
The woman I think I want to be is a list of ‘shoulds’ – things I think I should like, should want, should do. Things I feel guilty or strange for not liking, not wanting, not doing.
What I really want is to have the courage to do the things I dream about doing instead of waiting to do them when the time is right – when I’m skinny enough, rich enough, rested enough, happy enough. When I’m enough.
What I really want is to bond with a few close friends – boys, girls, young, old, single, married, I don’t care – over a shared interest in something I love: books, videogames, writing, yoga, geeky movies and TV shows, boardgames, whatever.
What I really want is a career that allows me to do something I love (writing) in an industry I believe in (agriculture) that allows for decent work-life balance (working from home instead of commuting three hours a day, for instance.)
What I really want is to enjoy the things I like shamelessly. I read epic fantasy and graphic novels, not classics, and given the choice, I’d choose cartoons over foreign flicks every single time. I’m a geek who prefers lipchap over lipstick, cycling over running, and comfort over fashion. There’s nothing cool about me, and I totally care what you guys think.
I guess what I really want is to be okay with who I am. For too long, I’ve hidden myself away because I fear people won’t like me as I really am. Let down my guard? Guys, I don’t have a wall. I have a dragon-guarded fortress to keep people out. Rather than risk rejection by putting myself out there, I play it safe, keep it superficial, and pretend it doesn’t matter. I don’t let myself feel. Like, literally anything.
It’s foolish, though. People appreciate authenticity. People like people who are genuine. There are totally people out there who won’t like me as I really am, but I’m willing to bet there are also people out there who’ll give me a chance – if I give them a chance to.
But I’ll never find those people – the kindred spirits, the like-minded souls – if I don’t give the dragon the day off once in a while.