It’s a weird feeling to stand in your own house, surrounded by your family, and be struck with the sudden realization that you have no idea who you are or what you want.
It was Thanksgiving a few years ago, and I was in a house packed with family and friends. I was standing there holding a plate, getting food for one of my kiddos and someone asked the inevitable question every family gathering will contain: “What are you up to these days, Libby?”
And I smiled, with my best “hiding the deer-in-the-headlights eyes” face. I had no idea how to answer. I mumbled something about how being a Stay At Home Mom was my calling (it was at that time) and tried to avoid the question for the rest of dinner.
I tried copying other people for a while, I tried forcing myself into things I thought would be me. I faked “finding myself”. I threw myself into activities I thought would be my “thing”.
I buried my Self under what I thought everyone else wanted me to do. Under everyone else’s expectations and requirements, wants and needs. It was exhausting, trying to morph into a different person, depending on the crowd.
It took me 6 years of getting lost in many different ways before I started asking myself important questions.
Here’s the 4 questions I asked myself until my Self came into focus:
- What do I pin or like or watch the most? When I took a good hard look at my social media, I found that my Pinterest boards showed more about me than I realized. I’ve been pinning things like cookie decorating, pie making, costuming and calligraphy. My YouTube history is cookie decorating, cosplay makeup and pie crusts (And really bad covers of songs, and possibly Dr Pimple Popper. AHEM.) My Instagram is full of cookie decorators, food creators, cosplayers, and my friends. My social media told me more about myself than I thought I knew.
- What makes me smile? What “turns your crank”? What gets you up out of bed in the morning? (And I don’t mean your alarm clock.) Does your soul fill up when you play the piano? Do you fly high when you roller skate? Does it drive you out of bed in the morning to bake bread? The more you can answer this question, the more you can put together the puzzle of what your Self looks like.
- What does my ideal life look like? Sit down, and clear your mind. Imagine a typical “day in the life” of your perfect existence. What would you eat for breakfast? What would your mornings look like? What would you see out your windows while you have your coffee/tea/shake/water/whatever? Go through a whole day and write out what it would look like in detail.
- Who do you truly admire? And why? I admire my best friend Angela because she is an awesome creator of opportunities and she gets things DONE. I admire my friend Autumn because she is so calm and her house is so gorgeously clutter-free and her kids are awesome. I admire Ashley because she is a riot of color and smiles. Syd, because she is adventurous and constantly moving. Ashli, because she is generous of spirit and so welcoming. Lem, because he’s an excellent preacher and a good human. Recognizing the specific traits I like most about the people I like the most leads me to who I really am under all of this clutter I’ve accumulated through my life.
When it comes down to it, you just have to trust your gut. When you get sick every time you lace up your shoes to go run, and actually running doesn’t make it better, maybe running isn’t your thing.
Do you. Go find your Self.
This post was written as a part of the NaBloPoMo, a daily blogging journey I am committing to in November 2017.