I remember dreaming of growing up when I was younger. I think this is really really common but I wasn’t looking forward to the things most people look forward to, like turing 16 and being able to drive, turning 18 and being an adult, or turning 21 and being able to drink. I was thinking about becoming an adult so I could make all my own rules or having my own home so I could have everything just as I wanted it.
No I was looking forward to getting older because I thought that the pressure cooker teenagers live in would finally be released. I thought that those insecurities I had would be left behind when I left high school and that with each bit of success I had after my high school graduation, I would feel less and less need to belong, to fit in, to conform.
I thought that once I was married I would be less concerned about my people skills. That meeting new people would become less important. I thought that once I had a baby, the faint lines that decorated my hips would somehow be unimportant. I somehow thought that I would be amazed enough at my body’s ability to give life to something so perfect, that it would almost erase every insecurity, stretch mark, and extra pound from my sight.
No one bothers to tell you that this is not really how it works. Sure, it’s different but not as much as we are lead to believe ‘the real world is’.
I might not be in high school any more but I have discovered a ‘real job’ can be a lot like high school. I am left worried about fitting in, dressing the wrong way, saying the wrong things, and not knowing the right people. It is amazing how much these things can impact your career.
I have a gorgeous daughter but it almost complicates the way I feel. It isn’t okay to feel less than great because she sees that and realistically I feel pressure to be both a great mom and a ‘perfect’ career woman.
The pressure is different and it might not be as significant but the stakes are higher. I say something stupid or don’t fit the right image I may not get that next promotion.
The reality is that someone will always dislike something I choose to do. Someone will be rolling their eyes and someone will judge how I look.
There is no ‘right way’.
So here is what I have concluded:
- I have a tendency to ‘overshare’. I probably make some people uncomfortable. Often time I find myself apologizing for giving too much information. I have questioned myself on this point multiple times, and have often tried to keep it in check. But this is how I form genuine and meaningful relationships. It’s likely that I alienate more people than I befriend but what kind of a friendship is it if I have to check myself.
- I am actually fairly decent at those social interactions when I don’t think about them. And where I am failing … does it matter? Everyone fails at these things sometimes.
- Many things in life are about making choices. I can choose to okay with my ‘shortcomings’ and when it is a little harder day, I can cope.
I am sure not everyone feels the same. Some of you have probably seamlessly shed those insecurities and reconciled the potentially lost opportunities in your lives. That is great, but I think you might be in the minority.
The picture at the start of this post is me the morning of my wedding day. It is not the most flattering photo of me but it shoes true happiness and excitement. It is genuine emotion without concern of what others think or how it may impact my future or relationships.
That’s the mom I want my little girl to know, the model that she follows.