I am not sure why today of all days, but a thought was pushed into my head like a slap on my face. I have heard it before, thought of it before, and I might have even typed it before, but I don’t think I grasped the real meaning behind the thought. The thought came to me this morning while brushing my teeth and looking out my front window. Brushing my teeth is quite the activity for me. It is not just a quick brushing, spit, and be done. I can thank my mom for this. I brush my teeth twice a day and each time, I do some sort of combination of walking around my house, pacing, and sitting down to looking out my front window. Whatever the combination is, brushing my teeth makes me think about things. So, back to my “slap across the face thought.” It really hit me at that moment. I finally realized it. I am who I am.
Thinking back to my first day of kindergarten, I remember being scared and crying. I didn’t want to go and once there, I didn’t want my dad to leave. Back then, it was only a half day and even that half day was too much for me. Once sitting down at the tables, I looked around at all the kids who were strangers to me. I was terrified. As the school days went on, they did become easier. I made some friends and started to like school. Even from that first day of school, all you want is to fit in. You want to make friends and you want kids to like you. I was always trying to fit in and be like someone else. It didn’t matter what I did, I didn’t fit in. I wasn’t the skinny, popular runner in school like my brothers were. I am who I am! As the school years went on, I made friends, but I still always wanted to fit in with everyone else.
College came and left. Jobs came and left. Friends came and left. Life continued. No matter what I was trying to do, I was always trying to be like everyone else. I wanted to fit in with “the norm.” I wanted to be like everyone else. Well, that didn’t go so well! Nothing seemed to work. My life was not going well. I struggled through depression and personal crisis after personal crisis. I was always worried about what someone else might think. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted out of life and even if I did know, I was scared to go after it. After struggling through personal crisis after personal crisis, my motivation and ambition was gone. Just when I was starting to gain some of that back, another crisis slapped me across the face and threw me to the ground. Just when I thought life couldn’t get any worse, it did. I felt like I was back to square one. All the progress I was making in moving forward with my life, just set me all the way back. Life does go on though. The world does not stop. The days went on and the weeks went on. Things are a little better now. I learned many, many things from this. I even relearned something: I am who I am!
It has taken me 35 years to realize I am who I am. I am done trying to fit in with “the norm.” I am not the norm! I am different than everyone else and I have different wants and needs. My parents had three boys before I came along. I have three older brothers and I am the youngest and only girl. That should have been my first clue that I am different. I don’t want the traditional 9:00 to 5:00 job, five days a week. That is not me. I am not doing that just to fit in with “the norm.” I want to write. I want to be published. I will write and I will be published. I don’t entertain a lot on the weekends. That is not me. I love lazy weekends where I don’t always have to talk to someone. I am not changing that just to fit in with “the norm.” I don’t like to talk a lot on the phone and I don’t always like to text. That is not me. I am not changing that just to fit in with “the norm.” I don’t always like to talk and be friendly when I am out shopping and running errands. Sometimes I just want to get done what I have to do and get back home. That is who I am. I love actual books over e-books. I’d rather hold a book in my hand than read an e-book. That is me! That is okay! So you see, I am who I am. That is perfectly fine with me and it doesn’t have to be fine with anyone else. I am who I am!