“It’s such hard work to try and act like something that you’re not that you should really just be who you are,” Shaun says. “It’s okay to be vulnerable, and it’s okay not to lie about who you are. Because the more you show of yourself, the more people are going to relate to you on a deeper level.”– Shaun Blokker
Be yourself, so easy to say, so hard for me to actually do.
As I peel away the layers of myself like an onion, I sometimes dislike what I find, but much more often it’s just hard to even be able to “see” what is there.
We don’t see with our eyes, we see with our brains.
Some blind people are able to recover sight and typically what they first get isn’t recognition of objects we all know, but overwhelming shapes and colors.
I have trouble “seeing” myself. Maybe because I’m inside me? I see a little of my nose, but none of my eyelashes, I have two tattoos, one on my neck I’ll never actually see directly, one on my shoulder I can halfway see… (I don’t regret either by the way). One reminds me of my temporary life, the ephemeral nature of it… the other of the moment I met my husband, sure a risky tattoo, but if I was willing to take the risk with my heart I was also to take it with my shoulder. I’m like that.
I listened to a book “T for Transformation” by Shaun Blokker around 2017, I was interesting, because it at once did and didn’t resonate with me at the same time. So much of it was helpful, but some of it felt so far away. Very much like Shaun T’s work outs. My exercise soul mate is T25, Shaun T’s 25 minute workout video. Even before I became a mom, I felt like “I don’t have enough time” to get in shape, and abs were my weak spot so I wanted an instructor that obviously knew about abs evidenced by having them, T25 was… the perfect fit for me in a world without a lot of perfect fits. I had tried P90X first, it was fine, a lot of kinds of push ups, kind of not enough lower body and core for me, not that it had too much upper body, just not enough lower body and core… Shaun’s work outs make 25 minutes seem like 2 hours to me. Really. He changed my perception of time. Einstein explains that time doesn’t only seem flexible and relative, it actually does bend, shift and warp… but T25 is visceral proof for me. That 25 minutes is not the same as browsing Youtube for 25 minutes…
I haven’t gone on Instagram in a long time, many years ago (10?) I had a good friend that wanted to keep in touch that way when we stopped working together. I’ve been logging in a few times a year for years, I follow only 5 people, Shaun T, my good friend, and three amazing photographers David Guttenfelder, Merlin Kafka, Michael Shainblum. I never browse, I don’t like seeing the girls glamour poses (not hating on them, but not into seeing them) and other than that I also don’t like the suggestions Instagram thinks I would like. But today when I went on Instagram I saw my good friend had reached out to me to visit whenever we can make it work with their jobs and new baby, my two kids and the pandemic. I also saw Shaun T, parenting his twins with so much joy, it makes me want to step up in the joyful parenting department. But at the same time I’ve never been more joyful than now that I’ve decided I can stop trying to be someone I’m not.
My daughter mentions everything, if there are any insects in the pool, she will make sure I know about it. I’ve been letting her swim (meaning I have to open the pool, put sun block on both kids, swim, take the baby swimming, close the pool cover – yuck) if she has less than 3 time outs at 3 PM. When I saw there was a bee yesterday I was dreading her mentioning it. It was already dead, no one could have saved it… because she tells me as if it’s interesting… and to me, it’s not at all interesting. I’ve been having a hard time feeling I need to fake interest in things I’m not at all interested in, I don’t want to be rude, I want her to know I hear her, so I say “I hear you,” or “got it,” but I don’t like the tone in my voice that “I don’t want to hear it,” even though I don’t want to hear it… ha…
I have the same problem with my husband, he tells me his work gossip in an excited way, wanting me to care, and I just don’t. I hate gossip, I didn’t even gossip about my work… I think it’s kind of asinine to do much gossip and I’ve told my husband, but it’s pretty much his “joie de vivre” and he is fine with it…
I read somewhere, whatever someone you loved said should matter to you, as much as that person matters, but wow that’s hard to actually do with family members. Whether they talk a little or a lot, I really struggle to care about repeated information. Lately I think I should stop trying to be an interested listener when I’m a disinterested listener, stop trying to be a cheerful parent when I’m a haggard parent… but I’m not sure.
When people say, “be yourself” do they really mean it? If so 50%, 80%, 100%? Is anyone 100% themselves “happily” married?
But who I am is not static.
I started a Nanny 911 discipline binge about 2 weeks ago and it’s changed our family life a lot for the better. Before I could start I was so haggard and tired and emotionally desperate I could only imagine changing our discipline 1 hour at a time… I mentally diced the day into 24 hour slices instead of just 2 (night/day) or 3 (morning/afternoon/night) sections. Somehow the mental hack of treating 8 AM like a separate realm of life, ext helped me have the courage to try to be the parent I should be since I planned on my kids. I wanted them, I anticipated them, I didn’t know how hard it would be, but it’s still my kuleana (personal responsibility/duty) to care for them with respect, though it is so often physically exhausting and emotionally defeating.
I’m so much different today than just a few weeks ago, my whole family is. It’s not always like that, but it just happens to be the time we are all growing up a bit. My baby is 16 months old, walking, eating at a table, not much of a baby in general, starting to talk, to count to three, to rebel. My toddler is 4, but starting to let go of being dependent and rebellious and beginning to understand it behooves her to comply so she can do the activities she likes such as swimming. My husband is moving, in my opinion, from teen level maturity to at least young adult level maturity… he asked me why I didn’t throw away his empty deodorant containers… I said I would be glad to help out but maybe he could also help out with that too… I’m admittedly still just transitioning into feeling like an adult as well. We were a very childish couple when we got married about 6 years ago, having kids has given me a chance to either grow up or feel guilty…
I’ve also started learning computer coding with Grasshopper, a free app, it’s so very easy to learn, really anyone could do it with Grasshopper, 100% approachable I think.
I don’t know where computer coding will take me, but as my daughter does her language learning for 5-10 minutes a day I would like to be learning a new language as well and that’s a quite interesting one. Very much like puzzles or riddles, more fun than I thought it would be. Or at least it suits me.
So, I don’t know how much I can be myself, but I’m starting to at least uncover myself to myself, that still feels amazing.
I will admit I have always struggled with perfectionism, procrastination, and starting projects without finishing them, but knowing that, it no longer seems like I have to continue being that person.
I’ve changed so much in my family in the past two weeks, it gives me hope for my internal life being able to change as well.
My husband and I are parenting as a team, I didn’t think that was possible, I gave him special time from 6-7 PM and he is doing great, I never thought he would do that, he hates schedules. He didn’t volunteer, he did resent it, but he did try it and it’s so amazing for our children. They love it, it means they don’t have to fight to be noticed or wonder if they will be. If it was about me getting a break, I don’t think it would have happened, but it stopped being about me and about him and started being about “the family” well-being, which didn’t exist cohesively before.
Many modern parenting articles say moms and dads will have different styles and you don’t need to parent the same way, but I found that to be a trap. It caused a lot of confusion in the kids, boundary testing, resentment between us parents, wasted energy coming up with the game plan every single moment, miscommunication not knowing what would happen.
Like much of modern parenting advice I think it sounds nice to say mom and dad can have different styles, but since we took the time to create one mold for our kids the pressure has dissipated so much from our day. Because when our family was undefined, everyone was to blame for us not being perfect, but now we have a scapegoat of the “family unit” which is not necessarily me nor my husband…. also the kids have consistency, which I’m sure is major for lowering their anxiety to a more tolerable level.
Can I really be myself? My hair is very gray, I like it, but I kind of feel pushed to dye it, even though my husband doesn’t mind it. So who would I be dying it for then? I guess the women who think looking “better” is mentally uplifting for every one? Because it’s defiantly to be eye candy to men since I’m married. I don’t really know why I feel pressured in that way, no one has ever had the audacity to tell me, you look old, dye your hair. I don’t mind looking old, I feel old often after accidentally falling asleep on the floor I’m a bit achy, and I have always like to look how I feel.
Can I really be myself? I don’t like to encourage my kids interests, I like them to encourage themselves and seek affirmation from within, yet it helps them so much to hear that “good job” when they are trying hard. Why can’t “the trying hard” be the “good job”? I think it is. My daughter wanted me to tell her I liked her ballet dancing, but I couldn’t, because I didn’t. I just don’t like ballet, but when I told her, it felt somehow wrong. It also felt wrong to lie. Often with my loved ones, both the answers I can think of feel wrong…
A few weeks ago my daughter couldn’t swim, now since there was nothing much else to do I’ve taken her mostly everyday to the backyard pool and she is swimming so well. But it wasn’t me being who I am, it was me forcing myself to get out of my comfort zone…
Growth comes from getting outside of yourself, not being your old self, so it’s more nuanced to be yourself with a transformation mindset than “follow your bliss” when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly the inside organs loose their anchors in a liquid and are rearranged.
So perhaps “be yourself” exists in quanta rather than as a all or nothing statement. Perhaps level 1 is not knowing yourself at all, total blindness, level 2 is knowing but not being comfortable, level 3 is holding back sometimes and letting go sometimes, level 4 is demanding (or attempting to) others cater to you being able to be yourself, and level 5 is hurting your own loved ones at the cost of being totally yourself.
I’m still between level 1 and 2 though, still finding myself as a writer, as a person, still to scared to say somethings out loud (either in private or in public writing).
One thing I find strange is I’m not braver in private, nor in public, what I can say here to you, is the same truth I can say to myself in the mirror. I don’t know why that is, but I do know that is one reason this blog is so important to my health and growth as an individual.
It’s a journey of self-discovery as much as it is anything else it may be, as simple as that sounds, it’s very welcome in my life and healing to find some pieces of my soul I thought had been lost or left behind forever.
I was looking through my 2020 planner, wondering if I would keep it or throw it away and I decided the teaching notes and personal notes from this year would actually help me be less scatter brained next year, would be a cool throw back to amuse me by seeing what the day help the year before…
This year is defiantly not wasted, unless you waste it. It may be really weird or hard, but it defiantly doesn’t have to be wasted. Even if there is only one day left, what a difference a day can make, it can be the day you fell in love – with yourself, the day you felt like you are enough, the day you get what you are here to do – or stop obsessing about not knowing what you are here to do – everyday has the potential to be a turning point, the day you open your wings, and even if it isn’t, everyday is part of the bridge that spans your life and death, a normal day is a brush stroke in your larger life, it seems so mundane in the moment sometimes, yet so wonderful or nostalgic or silly or horrible from different points in time.
I think I’ve always been in love with the wonder of the potential of “every day” and I think I never speak about it, because I don’t want other people calling me silly for that, but that’s a major source of my happiness and I don’t need to diminish my joy to avoid thinking people will find me silly, they will find me worse things than that no matter what I do. Some people will hate me, some love me, and most ignore me, no matter what I do, so why diminish my joy and why dye my hair? I think I won’t dye my hair and I will use it to remind me to let myself be myself (but if I want to later on, perhaps I will – I reserve the right to change my mind).
Last summer I wanted to know what I was going to write about everyday, if I should write everyday, if I would ever make writing a job, if my blogging would be most of my writing.
It took almost 100 posts of experience to get the answers I wanted to have then. It was only in action, without knowing what would happen, that I found out.
I am going to write about minimalism or mindfulness Monday, transformation or habit formation Tuesday… the other days I’m not yet sure, of course things can change, but as of now, it feels right to me.
Last year I was more of someone who lived life based on what I thought made sense, now I go a bit more based on what feels right, and things have been going better for me, within my family, within my own mind, within my writing, within progress of covering educational material ext. Basically across the board, the marriage of feeling to thinking has worked better than thinking did alone…
I think after having wrote everyday for two weeks that it isn’t for me, I value the flexibility to let go and go on a walk in the woods without cramming the words into the early morning, or go to a BBQ with friends when I’m not yet done, more than knowing my Google Analytics score would be higher if I did post daily. I think that score isn’t the important part of writing to me. As much as I do love reader feedback, I really do, the primary value is me getting to know me and everything else is at this point secondary.
I think I’m still seeking self awareness, I wouldn’t be opposed to finding a true, significant, overwhelmingly clear mission in life today, but I think I also may never find it, or maybe I will find it after I uncover more of myself to myself.
I’m excited to be joining a writers meet up via computer Saturday at 9 AM, going to let my daughter watch a movie and have my husband deal with the kids… but I have no idea where my writing is going, if I’ll start a book, if I’ll make something for my kids, if I’ll get more “serious” about blogging… if I’ll write a course and if so on what… the unknowing feels okay tonight, perhaps I’ve made peace with the flavor of the unknown finally.
Next Tuesday I plan to continue the Transformation theme, maybe look up notes from Shaun T’s book, maybe check my old Life Improvement Articles and make a new version, maybe work on the Google website twin of this WordPress site… That’s one thing I love about blogging, it feels quite unlimited in potential, scale, theme, like a canvas that is undefined in size. 🎋