You know... for the longest time I have had too many hang ups about myself...
As a kid I was gawky and awkward, never beautiful or confidant like my friends, I was a nerd, always a bit in la la land.
Even now as a 46 year old I have hang ups; my hair is too messy and is now going grey, my teeth are wonky from years of sucking my thumb, my nose is weird, I have sinus problems, my lips are lopsided, my butt is too big, I nibble my nails when I am stressed, I have knobbly ballerina feet, I have arthritis in my neck which creaks, my eyes are too big, I am shy, anxious, I cry a lot (often when listening to music - put on Madam Butterfly and I WILL bawl...) and I constantly worry what people think of me.
Am I being weird? Do I talk too much? Not enough? Can I sit here and just be quiet or is that rude? Should I chat to those people or is that odd? What do my friends think of me? Do I annoy my kids? Am I a good mum, friend....? The list goes on.
Then this week it struck me how exhausting this is and how I need to relax a little more. We are all different. All of us have hang ups, and oddities and quirks. All of us. None of us are the same. It is what makes this world beautiful and unique. That it is full of different characters and personalities.
My sisters are super bright, confidant and outgoing, my brothers are talented and sporty or musically gifted. Me? I am shy and awkward and a total nerd.
As I mentioned I was an awkward gawky kid. I struggled to fit in with any particular group, I set up the school newspaper, I was a prefect, head girl and a science nerd, often found hanging out either in the science lab or art rooms, or on the field watching the rugby players and after the games I would chat to them as my friends fancied them and I was polite. In school my mind often wandering in lessons and I would on sooo many occasions have the blackboard rubber thrown at my head for daydreaming. Heck I even have "dreamer" tattooed on the inside of my arm!
But being a dreamer, living in a little bit of a fairyland makes me who I am. It enabled me to make up fantastical stories for my kids when they were babies. My eldest had debilitating reflux, meaning we had to hold her up for hours after a feed, and I would make up stories and songs and repeat them to her. Of course I could only do this once then I would forget them and I never wrote them down because that would spoil the magic.
I don't want you to get the impression I am a loner, I did and I do have friends, in fact I have long standing friends who know me better than anyone. We don't speak often but when we do it is always the same. We laugh about the old days, and things we used to do together. And they often say how I have an "ethereal" quality... I glide into the room and have a magical presence; which makes me smile... because I see myself stumbling into a room, finding the first corner and hiding in it.
And it struck me. Often how we see ourselves is not how others see us. My friends see me as this enigmatic person, full of so much confidence that I don't need to be loud or make a scene to be noticed. In fact at a high school reunion a few years ago a few of the cool sporty boys admitted they fancied me in school - what? hahahah I laughed awkwardly and then almost choked on my Skips crisps and sausage roll (British party food never changes).
Yup, THEY fancied ME, and I had no idea. You see I was so intent on trying NOT to be seen that I had no idea that I WAS actually noticed - and by the coolest boys as well!
Cool.. I wish I had known.
But, hmmm do I? No, I don't think so. I was always hanging out with them, we would hang out at the skate park and I would sit quietly whilst the other girls would be chatting to them and I would shrug and have my head in a book, thinking I hadn't a chance so why bother ... if I had known they liked me I would have been even more awkward I am sure!
This brings me to the conclusion that I am now learning to let go. I am sure there are people who don't like me, but there are many that do and I cannot please all of the people all of the time. All I can do is be myself, do good things and be true to my own heart.
Not long ago I had an amazing acting teacher; Brad Calcaterra who before each class would tell us the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz...
So now I am older and maybe a little wiser, I want to let go of my hang ups and my overthinking and try to be a little more relaxed in who I am. I am who I am and I need to embrace that, including all the wonky bits!
Time to re-read the Four Agreements and to stop making assumptions about what people think of me and to let go.