I'm Not That Girl Anymore

 A few months ago I was soaking in the hot tub at my gym, trying to forget how much my body was falling apart from my sudden intense desire to squat significantly more than what I was used to when I had an older man join me. That sounds dirty, but I promise it's not. We chatted for a bit and he kept saying to me “You look so familiar.” I awkwardly giggled and went with my “I must just have one of those faces” responses that I do when I have no clue where I know someone from. Come to find out, it was my 6th-grade teacher who inspired an immediate flashback to a middle school period I would rather forget.

 

Let me take you to my middle school days…I was about 5’7 and 100 lbs. soaking wet. I played a lot of sports but wasn’t overly great at any of them. I had a wild imagination and a huge personality, none of which anyone saw at school. I was so quiet and so afraid to be myself that raising my hand to ask a question was completely stepping

 out of my box. A box that I really liked. A box that was wallpapered with Lisa Frank, hand drawn games of mash, and that weird “S” thing that you could make with the 6 lines, you know what I’m talking about.

I cringed at the thought, as I sat with Mr. G. Who was that girl? I’ve changed so much since middle school, since high school, since September. I mean I’m changing rapidly at this point on my venture to authenticity. The thought of a girl who couldn’t speak her mind felt really foreign to me. I mean, I talk for a living; I’ve stood on a stage of 200 people and mumbled off something that resembled an inspirational speech. I have such serious faith in myself that it would be pretty incredible for anyone to tamper with it. I’m by no means perfect, but my sense of self is pretty solidly developed. To look back at the girl who wouldn’t ask for help on homework, or requested that her mom made phone calls for her, was so bizarre. It felt like another time period, another lifetime, someone who wasn’t me.

Assessing the situation I had one of two choices: I could suddenly pretend that I didn't speak English or own the girl I was when Mr. G. had me in his 6th-grade class. Instead of being embarrassed by my 11-year-old brace-faced self, I brought her innocence back to me. I wanted to hug her and reassure her that the more she is true to herself, the more she uses her voice, the more she allows that wild imagination to flow through, that the more empowered and simultaneously the more loved, she will feel. I want to tell her that it’s cool if people don’t like her because there’s a really good chance they are assholes and will grow up to live in their parents basement with their pet iguana named Herman. I want to tell her that she’s a serious bad ass. I want to tell her that the Universe is open and ready for her to be exactly who she is designed to be.

Authenticity takes balls. Like, big ones. It takes a willingness to be exactly who you are no matter the response from other people. People are going to love you or hate you, or think you are ok. You aren’t responsible for their impressions of you as long as you are being true to yourself. Dr. Dyer always agrees with me, reminding me as I was doing my hair this morning, “What other people think of me is none of my business”. You can only take one day at a time and decide who the hell you will be today. If it looks different than yesterday, awesome, great, wonderful, kudos to you – you are growing like a damn wildflower. I’ll be honest growing sucks sometimes. It sucks because you will have people tell you what you are and who you are isn’t the way they want you to be. Don't crumble when this occurs it is the time when you stare right back at them, smile, and feel grateful that you don’t listen to that crap anymore. It’s the part where you strengthen everything you’ve worked so hard for.

So thank you Mr. G for reminding me of that girl. For reminding me of all the great qualities that came with that girl, but most importantly for reminding me of how I’m so not that girl anymore. Sometimes we need a little reminder of how far we’ve come or we can go on forever thinking we are still the same person we were in 6th grade.

Decide what it takes to come into who you are. Decide whose opinions you need to shut off, whose voice needs to hit the mute button. Decide to pull your inner bad ass up from the ashes and dust her right off. She’s still there, I promise you. Ready and waiting.