Here’s the funny thing about getting older – you become yourself. You get comfortable in your own skin and care less about trying to “fit in”. You realize that when you are yourself people naturally accept you, they enjoy your company and they appreciate what you have to say.
Growing up, I often confused confidence with fitting in. I thought, “if only I could be accepted, X would happen” instead of embracing who I was. Granted, I wasn’t your typical teen. I didn’t enjoy “going out”, “defying my parents” or hanging out in the bank parking lot – it wasn’t me. In fact it’s safe to say I was quite the goodie goodie. [I was voted "Teacher's Pet" in high school]
Most nights, when I wasn’t playing sports, at dance lessons or cheering at a game, I stayed home or drove around my small hometown by myself blasting whatever music was playing on my Chevy Cavalier’s radio and happily singing along at the top of my lungs. Even though now I look back with fondness on those days, at the time I was desperately seeking acceptance by my peers.
Through college, much of the same happened, though I found friends – lifelong friends – who shared common interests. I finally gained the acceptance that I wished for for so many years. Professors recognized my talents and I received summer internships in AWESOME cities which allowed me to grow into my own skin naturally. I slowly became more of my true self.
Then I entered the “real world” and something clicked. I realized everyone, in some way, is a misfit. Everyone wishes they were someone else. Everyone wants to change something about themselves.
This was a profound realization for me. I realized I could be myself without fear of rejection. I realized that people actually enjoyed my personality and wanted to be around me. I realized, the geeky wannabe from high school might actually be a “cool kid” to some people and if not, so what!
Over the past 5 years, I’ve grown so much as a person. I’m more confident in my opinions. I’m sarcastic. I laugh at myself. I relish the little things. The only person I want please is myself, everyone else is a bonus.
I’m me and it’s the best feeling in the world.
The coolest part? Someone actually likes the real me enough to marry me. I’m not sure how I tricked him, but golly gee I sure am glad I did! I’m the luckiest girl in the world. I’m lucky that he laughs at my corny jokes, smiles when I sing him my awful made-up songs, hugs me when I need comfort and supports me no matter what. I’m lucky that he loves me.
I guess it really is true what they say about love.
You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.