For as long as I can remember, I’ve played by the rules. I’ve worked hard all of my life, I’ve never shaved my eyebrows, I’ve always paid my bills on time. I’m responsible to a fault – if that makes any sense. That was ingrained into me by my father – work hard, maintain the status quo, keep your mouth shut and carry on.
Well, that sort of worked; I do work hard, I don’t wear cut off shorts to work, but I have been known on more than one occasion to open my big, fat gob and spout off to the wrong people. Usually, an authority figure. My mom. My dad. My teachers. My bosses. Thankfully, it hasn’t gotten me fired or thrown in jail yet, and when I have PMS, I have to explain to my boss that he can’t hold me responsible for anything I say for those two days. But for some reason, I just have that little voice in me that says ‘REBEL, MIDDLE AGED WOMAN – REBEL!’
As for the status quo part – I dress conservatively and my hair is always done perfectly (hey, I’m a Leo, I can’t help myself). I have a great job, I have a good, reliable vehicle, I do my laundry on a regular basis and I even manage to bathe daily. I get up, go to work, come home, watch TV and go to bed. Repeat every seven days. Once in awhile, I might break tradition and go out for dinner, but that’s only on special occasions like the beginning of a new millennia or when monkies fly out of my bum. And, sometimes on Saturdays, I REALLY go to town, by stopping by the local Walmart for toilet paper! Let the good times roll! (pun intended). You could say, I’m like a goldfish trapped in a bowl.
So, while I’ve been off from work, focussing on healing from depression, some really interesting things have taken place in my oatmeal bowl brain. I’ve always done what others think I should do. My mother had me trained to take out the garbage even if she hadn’t asked. And God forbid if I didn’t (apparently, I was supposed to be able to read her mind at ALL TIMES) – my mom ‘withdrew her love’ from me for days on end and so in order to keep the peace, I learned at a very early age to do what was expected of me and to always put what others wanted or needed before what I wanted or needed.
Ever so slowly, my true self has been bubbling up to the surface these past few weeks. I’m learning to let go of what other people think of me (it’s a work in progress). I’m doing things I WANT to do. I went to a hoity toity salon and got my hair cut and frankly, it sort of looks like someone took a lawn mower to it, but I LOVE IT! I love the fact that it isn’t ‘perfectly coiffed.’ I wore clothes today that DIDN’T MATCH (okay, I didn’t look like a blind, drunk person – just to put your fears to rest) but I didn’t have to be immaculately dressed to do my errands. My hair looked like I’d just gotten out of bed (in a funky way) and I threw on jeans, a sweater and a scarf and headed out. Just like that. People didn’t gawk! People didn’t really give a crap about what I looked like! I was comfortable, I felt confident and I just ‘was’.
To top it all off, I did something extraordinary this week (for me, at least). Something I’ve wanted to do for about 15 years. Something I’ve put off having done because I didn’t want people to think the wrong way about me. I woke up on Wednesday morning and decided – that was it – I was going to do it. So, I gathered up my courage and dragged my sister with me, and this is the result:
At the ripe old age of 45, I decided to get my nose pierced. And, I love it. I don’t care what others think of it. I LIKE IT.
As I continue along my journey of self discovery, I hope many more of these moments will come to light – the ones that I’ve stuffed down deep inside. Because you know what? I’m learning to be okay with who I want to be – not what everyone else thinks I should be.