Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In my own Skin

I remember every summer growing up, I'd be thrilled at the possibility of being someone entirely new when school started back up again that fall.  I would walk in on the first day determined to be the demure, mysterious girl, who was beautifully weird.  But never fail, five seconds after I entered the building, I would see an old friend, get excited and scream as I ran to jump into their arms.  When settling into class, I would reflect on how quickly I broke my resolve and be disappointed because I had to wait all the way until the following summer to be able to change my identity again. (Why I believed I needed a three month break to change my personality, I'll never understand).  My insecurities and adolescent uncertainties were constantly giving me the desire to change who I was.

My personality, and maybe more than that, my identity, I believed was entirely based on the clothes I wore and the music I listened to.  It was not a flexible thing either, I thought once I figured out who I was that was who I needed to be forever.
This is adolescence, am I right? Were you the same?

Even into my twenties, although much more comfortable with myself, I still struggled with identity.  I remember shortly after I started riding a bike, there was a day I wanted to wear a sundress and cowboy boots. But, how would I look riding a bike in boots? and Good Lord! What would people think when they saw me? How would I be categorized? I wouldn't look like a hardcore cyclist (umm, which I wasn't).  Oh! how this stressed me out.  Because if I was going to be a cyclist, I had to dress like one all the time, right?  I believed someone would come to me and see through it, this isn't who you really are! You Phony! 

I was completely blind to how multifaceted a person could be.  I didn't realize that I could be the kind of person who dressed in costumes and facepaint going to art festivals or burns.  AND the kind of person who wore cut-off shorts while riding my fixie.  AND the kind of girl who enjoyed a cute dress and being twirled around the dance floor ... ALL while being a mother.  But more importantly that none of this actually says anything about who I am as a person.
Perhaps that's it.  Perhaps I had to figure out who I actually was, before I was comfortable in all the different personas I like to enjoy.  And I, like everyone else, am not so one dimensional that any one of these defines who I am.

I don't know when being so comfortable in my own skin happened, but I think like most of us it was something that grew slowly over the last decade.  How lucky we are to have our twenties to become ourselves.
The photos: 1. I was with a group of girls going to do a 5k in which costumes were encouraged, we dressed up as 'glitter crayons' 2. Dancing at a sock hop 3. Posing at a all 80s vinyl hiphop night 4. A cowboy themed bike ride 5. Just me riding around on a thursday night. As you can see there is a theme of dancing and bike riding in my life ... the things that make me happiest (besides my family :) of course).
Do you feel comfortable in your own skin yet? or do you find it is a constant battle?

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  1. Great post, Andrea. It took me many years to be comfortable in my own skin and it wasn't until I was in my 30s that I really started feeling OK. I still struggle with it a bit, but it has definitely gotten better. I remember when I was little I asked my mom at what age you start to feel like a grown up. Her reply was: "I'm still waiting for that to happen." That answer meant a lot to me and it still does.

    1. Oh I love that! What a fabulous response for her to have. I feel like I'm still waiting to 'feel grown up' !

  2. Amazing post, I struggle with who I am or think I am, lol. Maybe when I've had my second child I'll feel as positive as this. Its so difficult to actually be yourself isn't it! I'm 27, though I do think having a child has forced me to be confident and I'm sure having another baby soon will make me even more so. I think for me its about standing up for your convictions and being proud of them.


    1. Yes! Having children totally forces you to accept who you are sooner, doesn't it? I think when we're home with kids all day it makes us look straight in the face with all the ugly truths about who we are, a well as all the positive traits.
      Congrats on your second baby!!!