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I have a little secret to share with you, something that only a few people in this entire world know about me…until today I suppose.
I have a physical reaction to cringe whenever anyone would tell me that I was weird or crazy. Have you ever experienced anything like this yourself?
I’ve tried for a good portion of my life to please others while largely flying under the radar. It took me a good portion of my life to be comfortable with my own personality, quirks and all. I had several traumatic childhood experiences (I know, who didn’t) but it really shaped much of what I was willing to show others about myself. My mom suffers from mental illness and this created a complex living situation. I never knew what I was going to walk into when I would get home. Each day was unexpected, could be a fun day of cooking, laughing and playing games or strange oddities such as being told that the dust in the house was being rearranged.
At the time, this did not create many anxieties for me. Later I understood that you only know what your surroundings provide to you. Amidst all the chaos that I know I was in, there was a sense of normality while I was going through it as if it was simply part of everyday life. Once I had the vernacular to know that life could be different, I made it my mission to achieve that for myself.
But I knew in the back of my mind that mental illnesses can be inherited and anytime that someone would tell me that I was being weird or crazy, I would get this visceral physical reaction and want to shrink up into a ball and fly away. I wanted no association with those terms, EVER! I was terrified of the prospect that if people were telling me that…I was turning into my mother. This lead to me always be very *careful* with how I behaved and what I said, erring on the side of normal so not to be thought weird or crazy. Somewhere along the line, I realized that I was really stifling who I was and more importantly who I was meant to be in my life. I began to ask myself questions like “What is normal anyway?” and “Who has the right to judge what is normal?” However, I had treaded the line of suppressing myself to fit in the “normal” box for so long it took me a lot of exploring to determine what the authentic me looked like.
As I began to become more open to showing who I AM all sorts of wonderful things began to happen. I began to recognize that individuals who were using those terms about me, really were showing more a reflection of who they were than an actual depiction of who I was. This really softened the physical responses that I had over time. Also, the people that began to come into my life had an appreciation for who I was. Yes, I may have been different, but the terms weird or crazy were not what they saw. This, in turn, bolstered my confidence to want to show more of who I really AM and wanted to become. Another wonderful side effect was that I began to find happiness in my life, being able to express freely. A good, longtime friend said that he viewed me as “slightly altered”, today I can take a statement like that and know that there is beauty in the being different. But long ago, I would have crumbled.
Only in this way do you become aware of the whole truth of the matter; the process of shaping yourself is eternal and only you have the choice of what each stage entails. Not only does your perspective change that shifts your past experiences, you are faced with new challenges that continue to shape the current individual that you are to become.
Once you readily own this, it becomes an incredible space of freedom that can be achieved in no other way. So today go out and be free to show this world who you are!
Grimes, Angie. “What is normal anyway?” ProjectWednesday, July 10nd 2017, http://www.projectwednesday.org/what-is-normal-anyway/