Please tell me you are watching “This Is Us.” I am not usually one to get attached to TV shows, but this is a good one. Each character has something you can relate to, and the overriding theme of love is incredibly moving.
This past week, one of the characters was deeply struggling with anxiety induced by performance, perfection, and keeping it together. Do you feel that? Have you been there?
After a debilitating break down, he musters up the energy to make a road trip with his father, who is living out his final days. While he is in a frenzy of directions and making good time, his father throws the maps outside and encourages him to “roll down the windows and turn up the music.”
What better feeling is there than that? A gently breeze on your face, the sun kissing your skin, your guilty-pleasure song on full volume, and your hair blowing perfectly away from your face. Just for a minute, all worries, fears, and responsibilities fade away; you don’t have to be anybody.
That moment doesn’t have to be fleeting.
Let’s back up for a minute. We all know I’ve spent the last year re-inventing myself. I don’t need to re-hash that. And in the process I’ve been able to lay down performing and just be. I’ve stopped doing what everyone expects me to do; what I thought I had to do to be “good enough.” The kicker is, I haven’t stopped thinking that way: so a man thinks, so a man is, right?
Earlier this week I had coffee with a friend, and she asked me a question that no one really ever asked me before. “What is good enough?” Define it? Define good enough? I couldn’t do it.
That’s when the glass shattered.
My mind has been swirling around in confusion and lies. I’ve built my entire belief system and actions and life around what other people want for me: to be easy-going, to be pretty, to be successful, to have a plan, to like the cool music, to read the good books, to be a leader, to be responsible, to handle my mishaps with grace and beauty, to be healthy, to be a good wife, to be a good friend – – AHH! It’s too much pressure. I’ve become a people-pleaser. That’s been my occupation.
So, yes, I’ve gotten rid of the actions over the past year. But I find myself agreeing to things I don’t want to agree with. And I am afraid to speak because I don’t want to disagree with or bother anyone.
I need to be my own person. Because I am so tired of never being enough; of always worrying about how I’m going to affect everyone else.
I’m tired of apologizing for who I am.
Sometimes I want to spend the day on the couch and eat a pizza. Sometimes I want to go on a 4-month long hike. Some days I want to listen to Taylor Swift. Some days I want to have a drink and dance like a white girl. Some days I want to read a book outside. Some days I wanna buy people gifts for no reason what-so-ever. I am very aware that I am impulsive. I am very aware that I love cliches. I am very aware that I like to be dramatic. I am very aware that I have a new dream or hobby every couple of months. I am very aware that I don’t like to sit still very long. I am very aware that I take 10 sentences to explain something most people can say in 1.
And I’ve been viewing these things as faults. Really, that’s what I’ve been made to believe; that something is wrong with me. And I’m done. I don’t want to follow the rules any more. I don’t want to be “good.” I want to let the real me emerge.
I feel like I don’t even know what that means. But, it’s time I give myself the time and the space to discover what brings me joy. To discover how I love. To connect with people in a real and meaningful way, one in which I am authentic and unwavering from my truth.
I do feel it necessary to enter a disclaimer here. I said I didn’t want to be “good” anymore. However, I do recognize the need to be a good wife, to be a good friend, to be responsible and to handle struggles with grace. I just won’t be doing it on anyone else’s terms. I won’t be doing it because someone else told me I have to. I want to find these truths and this balance for myself.
I’m rolling down the windows and turning up the music. And it feels good.