“if they don’t like you for being yourself, be yourself even more.” taylor swift
My worth used to come from being loved. How many people could I convince to love me? How deeply and madly could I make a boy love me? How could I change and contort to fit their needs? How small and agreeable could I be in order to win their affection? How many times could I make them say, “You’re too good/perfect/wonderful.”
Then I would break. The perfect venire would crack and my true, weird, strong, loud, funny, imperfect self would emerge. And they would be confused. Left wondering where that perfect, quiet little doll had gone. The ideal mold the world had stuffed me into, the one it stuffs all girls and women into, quietly suffocated me until my lungs burst.
Then would come the burning. I had been containing my fire for so long, quietly burning, that when it came out it spit and smoked. It rushed like fire from a dragon. Wasn’t that who those knights were always trying to slay? The dragon that went away to an abandoned castle for peace and rest and quiet, the dragon trying so desperately to escape a world that didn’t understand her, to live as her true self- that is far too scary a thought for those knights.
I would breathe fire as criticism. As faults of theirs. “Too mean, unattentive, boring, passive, weak, cruel, not enough.” And then I would push and push and push, hoping they would end it. End my torture, the fire I had kept contained still burning me up. How could I end it? How could I break up with this boy that had loved me so? That had fallen in love with my imposter.
They never ended it. And so I would move on, see who else was on the horizon. Who else could I introduce the perfect bubbly mold to, to escape the boy that had truly seen me, and then I would jump effortlessly from that boy to the next, leaving burned ruins in my wake.
Then I became a mama.
I grew and birthed the most beautiful little boy. My insides moved and shifted to make room for him. My body stretched and grew, and morphed just for him. He let the fire out. Carrying and creating him, bringing him earthside, broke the mold. It shattered the mold into so many pieces it couldn’t be repaired. I was free.
Becoming a mama to my sweet boy saved me. It showed me my power and my true self. It showed me that women are warriors and dragons and witches and healers and fucking powerful.
I spent my whole life coming back to myself. Coming back to the kind, strong, opinionated, happy, wild woman my parents raised. You are not beholden to the lies the world tells you. You are not meant to be small and perfect and agreeable.
You are meant to be you. In all forms. In all your weird and wonderful attributes. You are meant to love yourself. To know yourself. You are not made of the love that people give to you. You are worthy and whole just as you are. Not for the roles and titles you have. Not for the compliments and pats on the head that others give you. You are enough, just as you are.
Embrace all that is you, my love.
Whatever it is that makes you weird or “too much” is probably the most wonderful thing about you. And the opinion that others have of you? It’s not a mirror. Good or bad, that external validation or condemnation has nothing to do with you.