Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Finding Me

This is the face of my very self-assured daughter

It's funny how you can be lost almost your entire life and never even know it until suddenly...you're not.  This is that story.  The one where I realized I was lost until I wasn't.

The Hubs and I have had quite a few conversations recently about our early days of dating, marriage, and back when we were just friends.  (If you want the whole background on our relationship, read this.)  Sometimes the words that Hubby speaks are hard for me to hear, even though I know they are true.

Things like how I was really flighty when I was younger, always flitting from thing to thing and never really focusing on anything.  Or how I was so wrapped up in what other people thought of me that I neglected to just be Me.  

I've been thinking about these two comments specifically because there is a whole lot of truth in them. I was very concerned with what others thought of me--with a perfect example of this being my freshman year of college.  I was so worried about looking good and not messing up my hair that I refused to wear a hat while walking across campus on my way to class despite it being one of the coldest winters on record.  Stupid.  I wear a hat now and make my kids as well.

Or how I bought a butane curling iron so I could do my hair on a mission trip to Honduras when I was in high school because God forbid I not have my hair perfectly done while painting and sweating in 100 degree weather.  What if a boy saw me with undone hair???

As seen in the Sunday paper--I couldn't resist as this used to so be me

Or how I flitted back and forth, driving myself crazy, trying to pick the perfect homeschool curriculum, or the perfect parenting method, or the perfect shade of nail polish.  Decision making was agonizing for me because I had to research every minute detail about everything and needed input from everyone and their hairdresser before I could make a choice.

Almost two years ago I made the decision to ban myself from online homeschool forums.  All they did was make me doubt myself and the choices that I had made for my kids.  I stopped reading homeschool curriculum catalogs because there is always something different, possibly better, and it only served to drive me crazy wondering if I had the right product to teach my kids.  I put an end to asking for advice from everyone and their mother (okay, I do still occasionally ask for advice from my parents, my in-laws, and my Grandma, but they're family and it's their job to advise me).  Now when I have to make a decision, I pray about it, I research it, I pray some more, and then I choose.  No more second guessing myself.

I don't worry that all my friends will suddenly stop liking me if I walk out the door without wearing makeup--which is good because I rarely wear it anymore.  I don't care if people think I am weird or slightly off balance because I homeschool my kids.  I don't care if people think I have bad taste because I am painting my kitchen "Gleeful" lime green instead of the safer sage.  Because I like "Gleeful" lime green and that's what matters.  

I discovered that I have opinions--I will pick the restaurant when Hubby and I go out for dinner.  I don't like violent movies even a little bit and I refuse to watch them.  Hubby finds other people to see them with and I'm okay with that.  I like my pink tennis shoes even if they look like shoes my girls would/do wear.  

I used to be so afraid of what other people thought of me that I tied myself up in knots in social situations.  Parties were agony.  I stuck to Hubby like glue.  A few weeks ago we went to my mother-in-law's birthday party where I knew all of the people, but as they were pretty much all our parents' age, they weren't exactly my normal circle of friends.  On our way home Hubby commented how he looked over at me throughout the night to see if I was doing okay, but I was always talking with someone and having a good time so he didn't feel the need to rescue me.  Nope.  Not very often anymore.

I don't know when it happened.  I didn't set out for it to happen.  But somewhere along the road in the more recent past--I found myself.  Didn't know I was lost, but here I am.  Comfortable in my own skin.  Okay with being Me.

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