Monday, October 15, 2007

I Am Who I Am. Who are you to tell me otherwise?

Girl over at Fertile Mertile posted this morning and it got me me thinking...

I do my best to teach my kids each and every day, this is my school kids and my own children, that who they are is unique and special. They should not change because they want to be "in" with someone else or they want a guy to like them. It doesn't work that way. If we change who we are we become someone else and people aren't liking the real us but someone who isn't confident enough in who they are to put that real person out there. This is a common occurrence with teenagers and I'm finding more and more that it is a common occurrence amongst adults, too.

At what point did we abandon the idea that we are who we are for a reason? I didn't change who I was so that my husband would love me more. Maybe I did for the guy before him but that's why I'm not married to him. My husband knows I'm an Eagles fan and he accepts me as I am. My husband recognizes that I'm a messy person and he can't stand it but we work around it, and FYI- he's just as messy, if not more. I know that my husband can be closed emotionally but that's why we talk as much as we can and sometimes I have to push him. I understand that sometimes it just is not possible for him to remember to stop at the supermarket and pick up milk but that's why they've made convenience stores and post-it notes. We're who we are and we have grown together. Have we changed? Yes, in some ways but not who we are inherently. I wouldn't love him if he wasn't the hard working, loving and ultimately kind concerned individual that he is. Am I different than who I was when we met 7 years ago? Yes. I've gone through a lot, I've learned how to deal with a lot and I've graduated from college, gotten married, had two children and dealt with some major issues. Some of it I did on my own- no one else was writing my thesis for me. But a lot of it I did with my husband right next to me and my family close behind. I have never had to change who I was for them to accept me.

Why are we changing ourselves and allowing others to dictate that change? I couldn't accept that my college roommate was doing tons of pot and dating a guy who sold drugs, but she wanted me to and she wanted me to come along with her. I moved out. I couldn't accept that my boyfriend was an insensitive jackass and thought nothing of my feelings, but he wanted me to. I dumped him. I wouldn't accept the district manager who continually doubted my abilities as a professional because I was a young woman in the workforce and I didn't respond to being called 'sweetie'. I left the job. I took control and I walked away. I wanted something different and better from each of those situations and I found it. I found the great friendship outside of drugs and addiction with someone different. I found a wonderfully loving man who was not the mayor of jackassville. I found the profession that I am drawn to and really enjoy. I somehow, briefly, lost that. I allowed myself to be dictated to, even to the point where I had lost any semblance of control for myself in the situation and did not see the need to end it.

We are needy by nature. We need each other to feel secure, to feel loved, sometimes to make us feel happy. We are needy and when we allow our needs to become who we are it becomes difficult to remember the original. Some of us are more needy than others and that can be problematic. I teach my students, especially my female students, that being who you are is more important than anything else. Inevitably, they counteract with something about not being able to be unique in a uniform. But I remind them that what we wear and the things we have do not define who we are. It is our actions and our words that define us and make us who we are. It is how we react to each and every situation that makes us who we are and shows others the character that we have.

I'd like to say that in "losing control" I learned something about myself and maybe I did. I know that I was not being true to myself. I was allowing my needs to overcome my character and I got lost. I ignored what was at stake and who was at stake. I made it about everyone else but me and forgot about what I needed until I finally realized that I wasn't getting anything even though I thought my needs were being met. I won't allow myself to get "lost" anymore. I've ventured down that road more than once now and I'm beginning to feel like that saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Shame on me for not recognizing that I was being asked to abandon myself and my needs. No more. I am who I am and I love me for that. My husband and my kids love me for that. My family loves me for that. And my friends love me for that. I teach my kids that their actions show others the character that they have and now it is time for me to practice what I preach.


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