The “I Should’s” that haunt us is a big part of fear and a trap door in the invisible box. Getting caught up in the things that we should be doing, we’re not allowing ourselves to live our dreams because that wouldn’t be logical or responsible. The scolding fingers come out, and the voices of our mother’s screeching in our ears and then - pause. We’re sitting in the same place for years, unable to move for fear that if we make the wrong step we’re shirking our responsibilities and being stupid, making dumb moves and losing the race. Today as I was working, sweeping up the floor in my family’s bakery, I realized that I am odd. I have always been the strange one in the family, I have always been the one that “has to learn the hard way.” I am always in some far off place in my head, dreaming big but standing still. I’m the girl with pink hair and a pierced lip, but still soft spoken, respectful, that never goes out with friends, getting straight A’s, and the first in my family to go to college, let alone have a master’s degree. I have a foot in both worlds, and what happens then if I lose my grip? What happens when I slip and fall? Do I split in two?
Many of us have split personalities, have multiple people living inside of us. What do I mean by that? I’m not referencing mental health diagnosis, but I’m talking about how we have to morph and censor parts of ourselves and our personalities depending on the people we’re around. If we’re with family we act accordingly, you act differently in your professional life, and then differently again when you’re with friends, and sometimes even that is split depending on the group of friends you are with. Are these the surface level friends to go out and have dinner with, or the friends you sit around for hours at night and tell your deepest, darkest secrets to? If we all go through life this way, then how do we know who we are? Through having some of my deep talks with friends, I realize that is precisely what is happening with me. I’m having an identity crisis. I have so often have had to censor who I am at the core to please the people around me. “Hello, my name is Rosemary, and I’m a people pleaser.” I have sacrificed so much of myself, my identify, my spirit and ultimately my happiness for the sake of others who don’t appreciate it, who take it for granted, or who just don’t see it - it doesn’t matter. Why then do we do this? Why do we change who we are? How do we know who we are? When are we happy?
I think that happiness; true happiness comes when you are true and genuine with yourself. We all want to be accepted and sometimes we morph ourselves into someone unrecognizable to our own eyes in order to do so, until we come to the realization that that is not real happiness. That is just us falling in line, slaves to the “I Should’s” in life and losing who we really are as a person. True friends and true happiness comes from when you are you uncensored, uninhibited and unafraid to show people who you are when you alone dancing in your room, or singing in your shower. When you are able to let that shine through and are still loved and wanted for just that, that’s happiness. The fear lies when we feel that will not be the case, we won’t be accepted for who we really are. Everyone has been in that place despite their best efforts to put on that mask, someone sees through it and just doesn’t like you. The key is becoming okay with that and surrounding yourself with the people that do like you for just exactly who you are. Stop letting the “I Should’s” dictate your life. The path to self realization is not an easy one, there are many sacrifices, many pains and trails, but at the end, all of those underlying needs will get met somehow and you’ll be a happier and better person for it. To overcome fear you need strength. That’s the next piece to the puzzle.
It’s become clear to me that starting this blog is something that is meant to help me to start a journey within myself to move from fear to self realization and happiness. I have been stagnant for so long, stuck in this box and inside my own head, and it’s time to break free, and hopefully my journey, my ups and downs, my mistakes and successes, will help someone else on their own journey. So, let’s hit the road…
Today I realized, as I was watching another performer, that another layer of fear is in comparison. The performer began playing a song that I also play and my initial reaction was to pick up my guitar, but then self doubt nuzzled it’s way inside my head and told me “but you can’t do it as good as…” and I stopped. In comparing ourselves to others we will ALWAYS find someone that is better than we are at something, at least in our own opinion. Being better or worse at something really is in the eye of the beholder. Someone may have more technical ability verses someone that has more soul or passion. It’s the observer that assigns what is “better”.
This goes back to the lack of self confidence and facing ourselves in any work that we put out into the world. If you don’t believe in yourself and in what you’re doing 100%, enough so that the criticism or praise of others really doesn’t make much of a difference, that is when you are free. I often struggle with feeling not good enough. I know that I have talent on some level but I try to measure that talent by what kind of turn out I get, how many people show up to see me in comparison to someone else. I know that we cannot compare ourselves to others. If we really want to measure our abilities, we need to compare only to ourselves. Am I doing this better than I did 5 years ago? Have I grown? Have I learned?
It is always easier said that done. Humans are social creatures and we need to be liked, need to be loved, need to feel appreciated and need encouragement and positive feedback. The problem is that we sometimes seek that out in the wrong places and from the wrong people. Again there is this inner struggle with how we react to ourselves, how we choose to move ourselves through successes and failures and through life. Again, how do we move ourselves out of this box we force upon ourselves? Stop comparing ourselves to others, stop holding onto reflections others have of us and feel confident in the image we have of ourselves. Now if we’ve established that, how do we make the image of ourselves one that is good, positive and something to be proud of? For most of us stuck in this invisible box of fear, that is not the case. We don’t see ourselves in a positive light and we don’t have that sense of pride for one reason or another. That seems to be the next piece to explore.
This is a blog by my dear friend who is helping me to find myself again. This is a blog she wrote about being a leader, really interesting topic.
Here goes nothing… and everything at the same time!
I’ve been doing quite some research on what it really means to be a leader. I’m not exactly the most skilled on this topic yet, but this is what I have to offer. If you want to hear it from those that are more skilled in this topic than I am,…
Fear. Good enough topic as any to start out with. What is fear to me? I guess I think it’s something that holds me back and traps me - it’s like an invisible box. So what is it that I’m fearful of? Rejection, failure, not feeling good enough, being alone, not being loved, not living up the the standard. Then I think to myself, what is the standard, and does it matter? How do I move? How do I break free from this box and do I want to? I by nature am a very reserved person and tend to keep to myself, not particularly because I’m antisocial, but I just enjoy the solitude. I like to be alone to think and to create and reflect. I do like to be social with people that I feel are worth the time, those that are genuine and that have similar outlooks as I do. I like to be around people that I can have that connection with, but when that connection is severed it tears out a piece of me. In 28 years I’ve been cut up a few times and it leaves me with less to give, and less I’m willing to put at risk, and that makes my box smaller - to the point where I feel I’m suffocating.
Now, intellectually I know what needs to change and what needs to happen. Stop caring, take a risk, jump and not worry if someone will catch you, stop worrying if it’s good enough, stop being afraid of failure. Failure is after all just another step to success. Believe. Believe enough in yourself and what you’re doing that all the other things fall away. I think that is the piece I’m really lacking; belief in myself and my abilities, and self confidence. If I had more of that, fear could fall away. Sometimes people get so damaged that they land on different parts of the spectrum. They are either paralyzed by fear, or are dangerously unafraid, and neither is a good place to be.
Now something silly I realized today: I’m sure if you’re on the internet and have watched YouTube, you might have come across a channel called “Kids React” where it’s basically kids reactions to viral videos. Today I watched one about the new Miley Cyrus video “We Can’t Stop” and I will admit the first time I saw the video I was thoroughly disturbed. In reality it is nothing different from watching any R&B artist perform the song and video, but for some reason seeing the former “Hanna Montana” doing it was terrifying. Many people had reactions of calling her derogatory names and exhibiting similar disgust, and realizing she was trying to break out of her Disney persona, but if we’re really looking at it, are people really disgusted or is it more of jealousy? Now, I am not going on the record saying that I’m jealous of Miley Cyrus, but perhaps I am jealous of that attitude that she carries. She is doing what she wants to do and is not in that box; the fear is gone. Maybe it’s delusion or maybe it’s clarity, but really what is the difference?
This is something I will need to continue to explore for myself. How do I get this freedom for myself. What needs to happen to me in my life that will just break those chains of fear? I know that I love creating, be it sculpture, drawing or music, but moving from the confines of my world and putting it out there to the rest of the population - where my work can be criticized and the meanings can be changed and morphed by the observer is something that is hard to overcome. Writing about this makes me think further that perhaps it is not the reactions of others, but my reaction to myself. Anything you put out into the world some people will love it, and some people will hate it. That is the reality, so the fear, the real fear is you dealing with you. How do I react to that, do I focus on the positive or the negative? Do I let either impact me? This is not something that will be solved easily because despite the thoughts, I need to make action. More on this later.