True Self: Taking Off the Mask

“Imagine the best version of your true self. Describe what that looks like.”

I found that question on a page in the Spring 2019 issue of Magnolia Journal that offered monthly journal prompts. It has been on my mind during this last week that consisted of watching any BrenéBrown talk I could find. I’ve mentioned her several times and wholeheartedly recommend checking out what she has to say. I can say with certainty that I am thankful for her and the work she does.

So what’s my answer to the prompt?

I wouldn’t manufacture smallness in my life. I wouldn’t assume I’m bad at or not cutout for something that interest me before giving it a fair chance. I wouldn’t be afraid to try or do the things I want to for fear of not being instantly good or wondering if others will laugh. I wouldn’t have the mindset that something is beyond my abilities, too big for me to take on, or that I can’t make a difference. I wouldn’t pretend to not know what I want or throw a ‘just’ in when answering someone’s question about who I am, what I do, or where I’m at in life. I wouldn’t judge myself for them or deflect emotion, sincerity, or a compliment with sarcasm, humor, hurtfulness, avoidance, or by making myself appear as less than. I wouldn’t tear someone down to try and make myself seem better. I wouldn’t be afraid to wear a clothing item because I was scared of what people may say. I wouldn’t present the truest form of myself as a joke used to test my audience.

I would step into my talents and own them. I would pursue the things that matter to me and are on my heart. I would write that children’s book, share those recipes that would lead to a cookbook, and dream of starting a company that produces games, books, and educational materials. I would believe that what I had to offer was good enough to put in a book or be presented in a speech or talk. I would learn sign language knowing it’s going to take work and French and Spanish, too, without wondering if I’d be made fun of for how I pronounced words or couldn’t roll my R’s. I would get yoga certified and enjoy the opportunity to teach. I would give what I’m good at. I would nurture those around me with food, compassion, kindness, helpfulness, understanding, patience, and perspective. I would build people up and celebrate their individuality, talents, and accomplishments. I would practice gratitude. I would obey the prompting that came from something greater than me and write them down to remind myself that it came to me for a reason and I am more than capable and equipped to make it happen. I would acknowledge and accept that life isn’t lived through a screen, lasting happiness doesn’t come through acquiring things, the little moments are really the sweetest, and, as a result, I would be present, simplify, and choose connection over convenience. I would try all of those sports I’ve thought about; take that dance class, join a softball team or a volleyball league, buy those golf clubs and become a regular at the driving range, and play a game of tennis even if I don’t know the rules. I would wear those gingham pants, that romper that makes me feel like a 1940s female factory worker, a midi skirt, or that ribbon or bandana in my hair because I like them and I see a side of me reflected back in the mirror that feels oddly raw and personal. Sure I’d eat healthy well-balanced meals, get regular exercise, soak up some Vitamin D daily, spend the last few minutes before bed reading, and always spend less money than I make, as well, but mostly, I would have the courage to let myself be seen.

**I had something else in mind for this week, which will be coming shortly, but I’ve been working on doing a better job of owning up to myself, who I am, and what I truly want. I will admit that writing it is much easier and less scary than verbalizing it, but it’s one way for me to document it and dip my toe in the pool of vulnerability and courage. I’ve never been the Mary Katherine Gallagher type who jumps in, for those who understand a Superstar reference. I hope to switch things up briefly in the near future and hope you’ll enjoy it.

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