I have a story to tell. One about calls with agents and editors, one about contracts and fear and excitement. But first, I’d like to talk about authenticity and how we need to see ourselves through our own lens and not the one provided to us.
My life is full of beauty. I’m surrounded by it. I see it in my daughter’s dimples, my son’s long hair, my husband’s wink, and the laugh lines around my eyes. I didn’t always see every day things with such sparkle. I spent too many years viewing life through society’s lens which left a sour bitter taste in my mouth that bled over into all sections of my life. Renting space out in other people’s heads, obsessing over what others thought of me, was exhausting and toxic.
Over time I realized I was measuring myself and the world against an unrealistic barometer. Once I let go of all the preconceived notions I’d been programmed with I was free to be myself. To begin the exciting adventure of discovering who I really was…or am. The authentic me. I was shocked to learn that I am so many things. There are the labels society puts on me and then there are those I put on myself. Experienced vs. aging. Outlier vs. businesswoman. Feminist vs. Romance Writer. Curvy vs. Plus-sized. Mother vs. Career-minded.
If only it were so easy to stick me in a box, slap on a label, and toss me on a shelf. But women are more complex than that, aren’t we? In a society so ripe with shades of gray (and blue and red and pink and purple) why are we constantly pummeled with images of yes and no, black and white? Why do we force ourselves to confine our style and life choices to what is deemed appropriate by such a small fraction of the greater population? Why can’t we be all the things? Or just a few of the things?
As a writer, businesswoman, and woman in her 40s is it inappropriate (by business standards) for me to wear purple streaks in my hair and pink patent leather combat boots? Probably. Do I care? No, not really. When I was young I had a terrifying fear of becoming Marjorie Morningstar — young and alive one minute and part of the herd the next. I refuse to be that. Oh I chose to get married and become a mother, but I did it on my terms. I found a man that loves me for me. And keeps on loving me when I suddenly decide to pierce my nose or get another tattoo or decide I’ll die if I don’t start writing romance novels. Because he sees me.
See that’s really the secret: surround yourself with people that see you. People that lift you up and and believe in you. Be selective and be thorough. Don’t waste time on trying to convince others of your value. If you believe in yourself and live fiercely others will see that, be drawn to your light.
Don’t be what they tell you to be. Be what you want to be, what your heart tells you to be, who you’re supposed to be. If you want to breathe fire, then breathe fire. If you’re more of a glitter tosser, then toss some damn glitter. The point is it’s time to stop looking at yourself through someone else lens. Being you is beautiful. Being you is perfect.
Dedicated to all the fire breathing glitter throwers in my life. You know who you are…and I hope you know I adore you! <3