“I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.” ~Henry Rollins
I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic of reinvention lately, about how you can seemingly change yourself day in, day out, just in the blink of an eye. You can be whoever you want to be, whenever you want to be, and while scary, this concept can also be breathtaking, life changing, and completely freeing.
But what about when the concept of reinvention is simply becoming who you really are when you are not afraid of the judgement of others? I feel like this is where I am at this point of my life. I know I am too worried about being judged to be the person I feel like I am all the time, even around my closest friends. Do I keep my mouth shut too much, simply to avoid confrontation and judgement? Do I gossip more than I should to fit in with those around me? Do I hide that bit of weird and crazy we all have simply to avoid whispers behind the back? Of course I do. Because, of course, I’m scared.
But really, why am I so afraid of it? I’m a rather successful 33 year old wife, mother, and teacher who has a handful of wonderful friends and an amazing family. And yet, I can list literally a million examples of when I hid my true self simply to avoid other people’s judgement, whether it’s what I wear, what I say (or don’t say), or what I choose to do in my free time.
And frankly, I’m tired of it.
I’m tired of not wearing certain clothes, accessories, or make-up (though I’m not really a fan) for fear that it looks like I’m trying to bring attention to myself, or simply be judged because someone doesn’t like how I look. I don’t talk up my accomplishments for fear that I’m seen as egotistical, arrogant, and a braggart. I’m tired of being nice to people and others simply thinking I’m “flirting” or have ulterior motives.
I’m tired of being judged, and I’m tired of being a judger.
And most importantly, I’m tired of valuing what other people think about me over what I think about me.