This year I turned 31 and I’m still trying to figure out how to be myself. I realized even now that I try to be myself by simply staying to myself and not having to give much of myself to others—other than through my writing.
I use to say this happens because I’m an introvert and I don’t really want to be around people. But, those who know me know that I’m also an extrovert. So, while I love my me time – in fact I need it to function; I also really enjoy people.
Then what’s wrong with me? Why am I still unsure of myself? Why do I feel unsettled?
Normally, I would just brush these questions away by becoming busy with day to day things. Today however. I want to examine them, because in examining I will come to the answer I believe I already subconsciously know.
I realized a part of the reason I’m unsettled because I have been doing more introvert-ing and defining myself in solitude than I have been defining myself around others.
And, this is an important step. Why is it important?
Well it’s easy to define yourself when you’re alone. There is nothing around you to challenge the idea you have presented to yourself. You can be as unrealistic as you like when you are alone with yourself in a room stating to four walls that you are this person.
You don’t have to develop that person to see if there are levels to that definition of self. In solitude, you don’t get to see if that person you decided to become is dynamic or static. You don’t know how that person you want to become reacts under pressure or when they’re in the amidst a crowd and caught in the moment. When you’re developing yourself in solitude, there is no one around to help to stretch you – to nudge you into more or pulling back so that it’s less and a better balance for your well-being. THere is no one around to say ‘ but didn’t you say you aren’t that kind of person’. Or, ‘ hey– this is something you’d like.’
While reading that paragraph over, my mind is asking me well why is that important?
Maybe for some it isn’t. Maybe they are really good at examining themselves and looking at all angles to craft themselves into the person they want to be.
But, for me that external shaping and molding is important. I need the challenges provided by those around me. I need people questioning me. It is through the questions that I stop and think about who I say I want to be. Those moments remind me that I must be intentional in my words and in my actions. I can’t have these grandiose ideas and then not be able to back them up.
The reality is we can say anything to ourselves in private about who we want to be. But, can we stick to those things in public through various situations and circumstances? Have we practice being that person, because it is through the practice that I know I become. That is why for me it is so important to have that interaction with people, so that I get the opportunity to practice being who I want to be.
For instance, if I say I am a writer the first thing someone is going to ask is oh do you have a book? A blog? Is your writing out there? What are you working on? And, their inquisition isn’t to make me feel bad—I think it’s more to remind me that if I’m a writer, than I should be writing. I should have something to say I am actively doing–being these things that I claimed. If I don’t have writing, then I’m not a writer. I want or dream of being a writer, but without the products how can I claim to be one? Where am I a writer? In my head?
This is what I’ve been missing.
And, in missing this I’ve been missed being held accountable. Accountability holds me to the standard, image, to the person I determined I want to be.
Right now, the person I want to become is completely open. I have sketches of who I want her to be, what I want her to look like. But, I am open to the defining process.
That means that I’m open to meeting new people, having new experiences. It also means I must be open and willing even if I’m afraid. It means I must be open to living beyond and outside of my comfort zone. And, that means I have to learn to go outside the four walls of my room and my house, my car and my work. I have to be out there in the community investing and being a part and allowing it to tug at me, while I mold the shape I want to be.
So, here’s to the moments that will come and the ways I am shaped from them. Here is to being intentional with creating the woman I want to be. Here is to the people that I will meet that will question and push me into being.
I hope she, the woman that emerges, is everything I envision her to be.