When I was about three, I picked up what would become the trademark phrase of my childhood.
“But I want to do what I want do!” I’d proclaim when a parent gave me an instruction or a scolding. And by god I usually did it.
But over the years, there was a shift. I became aware of expectations – both from society and even more so from myself. I became my own worst critic. Long gone are the days of uninhibited pleasure seeking, when I’d carelessly pairing pink plaid with pink and purple tie-dye and a square-dancing party was all I wanted for my birthday, regardless of my dancing – ahem – “abilities.”
As I’ve grown, I’ve limited myself based on my fears, insecurities and weaknesses. My childhood full of klutzy mistakes, heartache and what I’ll mercifully call “awkward” stages has ruled my thinking well into my mid-20s. And it stops now.
It stops because I am no longer that awkward somber child who is blind to social cues. It stops because my body and its flaws don’t rule my life. It stops because, well, I’m not the fat kid who got dropped during a trust exercise and had to ride an ambulance home from camp.
This isn’t me anymore. And it hasn’t been me for a long, long time. But for years I’ve said no to opportunities that come my way based on my insecurities. I’ve declined numerous offers to play beach volleyball because when I was 14, I dove for a volleyball and broke my wrist before the season even began. I’ve hated the idea of joining a gym because when I used to work out, I felt so judged by the thin, athletic bodies with which mine couldn’t keep up. I don’t like camping because who the hell scars her legs by running into a four-foot-tall tree trunk?! I’ve even refused to try on fun clothing styles because who wants to see a chubby girl wearing that? Okay, okay. So you get the idea.
But you know what I’ve realized lately? Who cares? Really, now!
Because these are things I want to do:
• I want to play volleyball on the beach, whether I’m good or bad.
• I want to wear a jumpsuit, or to see how it looks on at the very least.
• I want to invite friends over to my place even when it’s not uber clean.
• I want to go backpacking.
• I want to take risks.
And most of all, I don’t want to worry about what anyone thinks, including myself.
So here it is – the beginning. I am doing what I want to do, for better or for worse. And you’re invited along for the journey.
Oceans of love,