Thursday, May 14, 2009

When I Grow Up

I wonder if all children decide ahead of time who they’ll be when they grow up? I used to lie in bed at night, dreaming of a beautiful, confidant woman that laughed a lot, and was successful at everything she tried. 

I remember sitting in church, with my legs cris-crossed Indian-style on the pew, and thinking that someday I would cross my legs like a real lady. And someday, I would stop wearing my hair in a ponytail. I would actually enjoy fixing my hair, wearing makeup, and high heels. Someday I’d outgrow my shyness, my sensitivity, my shame. 

But a few years ago it hit me- I had been wrong. Here I am, all grown up, with a husband and three kids. And I still feel the same inside as I did at eight years old. I still want to curl my legs under me and hold a pillow everywhere I go and wear jeans and flip flops and a ponytail all the time. I don’t match the picture in my head of a “mom” or “wife” or “professional” anything.

I just want to hang out with people and love them and help them. I want to just be me, with no expectations. As stupid or dorky as I want to be. Or else I want to be that superwoman who is always in control and knows the answer and looks like a model and can take anything the world gives. But I can’t be both. And I hate pretending.

I haven't changed all that much. My weaknesses, habits, and quirks are all the same. And when the revelation came, I was disappointed. Disappointed in myself. I realized that as a child, I wanted to be different from who I actually was. But I can’t change who I am inside. Not the core characteristics. Sure, I can grow. I can feed my insecurities, or keep challenging them. But eight-year-old Michelle is a surprisingly accurate portrait of twenty-eight-year-old Michelle. Learning to be ok with that, even to embrace that, is my constant challenge.

I’ve spent too much of my life trying to be someone else. I keep trying to cover up my uniqueness, trying to clothe myself in others’ skin. But I’m beginning to like my differences. I’m starting to slowly reveal what I’ve hidden all these years. I’m testing the waters to see if the world ends, but of course, it keeps on going. It’s not as shocking as I expected it to be.

UPDATE: In honor of my 30th birthday coming up, I'm going to be giving away a fun mixed box of goodies. Check back for the upcoming post and pictures!


Linda said...

Hi Michelle
I can empathise totally with what you've written - I'm almost 57 and I still don't feel 'grown up'. Your last paragraph is absolutely spot on and I'm glad you've made that discovery at such a young took me a lot longer!
Linda xx

Daria said...

What a great post ... so true.

Meg said...

I'm so glad you stopped by my blog, and after reading this post and your favorite books, I'm thinking we are actually the same person! (except, alas, I'm older than you)
:0 Meg

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