Over the years I have struggled with the same question: Who am I? Now, I know that is another one out of the big book of clichés, but I’m sure you’ve asked yourself that same question, even just once.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to reinvent who I think I am. Like everyone growing up, I have gone through the numerous stages of style and self-discovery that consistently lead to another reinvention of the one new and improved version of who I think I actually I am. One of the greatest parts of this journey has led me to believe something very important about myself: I am me with every face that I put on.
Some days I walk out of my apartment looking straight out of an episode of Stranger Things, rocking a pastel pink and teal geometric patterned sweater with purple eye shadow and my favorite pair of gray boots. Other days I walk out of my apartment decked from head to toe in black with dark smokey eyes and a bold lip. On the next day, I’ll throw on jeans, a fleece, a vest, running shoes, and a baseball cap ready to take on my errands with vigor and determination.
I have even been across the board when it comes to hobbies. A few years ago you would have caught me with a guitar across my lap writing morose lyrics to songs to get me through my inner turmoil. Just before that you would have seen me with a massive sketch pad going to town drawing cartoon versions of everything around me.
Today, I feel like I sit here as myself. Sweatpants, hair pulled back, glasses on, and my laptop in front of me where I am able to pour my heart and mind into words that I hope can inspire others.
The past couple years I have taken a big step back from all of the reinvention that I was trying to force upon myself. I looked at all the consistencies that I could pull from the different faces of me: active, creative, nerdy, fun-loving, whimsical, compassionate, quirky, and quite the social butterfly. As I looked at all the faces of me that had come through my life, I decided to stop being the reinvention of “my one true self” that I so truly yearned to be and just did me. I stopped what I was doing and let it all go.
Living alone and on my own has truly helped my insides blossom outward. Today, I can say that all of those adjectives that had nothing to do with my outer appearance are now manifested in my daily life. I am no longer trying to paint myself into the “one creative outlet” that I thought I was supposed to dedicate myself to day in and day out. Today, I’ve decided that I can actually do and be all of the many faces that I have been pretending to wear as “my true self” all this time. Why pick just one stylized version of yourself to be for the rest of your life?
Everyday we each have the chance to make today “the day”. The day that we choose to be whoever we want to be and embrace the impulse of action and creation. Each day we wake up and decide what face we put on for the world to see, whether it be our “true” face or the face we want everyone else to see. But, coming from my own experience, no matter what face you think you are showing to the world on any given day, that face is a part of the greater collection that makes up the ever-changing collage of you.
Embracing all of your faces may not be the easiest thing to do some days. I, myself, have had to work very hard to look within and choose to let the face of someone who has overcome tough life obstacles and who deserves a beautiful life be the one that I wear. As a woman up against the images of photo-shopped beauty, I work hard to accept the actual face on my head and let my beauty shine through despite the never-ending artificial criticisms. Even choosing to let my creativity shine in any way the wind blows has been a struggle after taking on the imaginary pressure of “finding your life’s calling” and “sticking with it”.
Today I am writing, on the next day I may crochet a scarf, and the next day I might decide that I need to play outside all day and not do one creative thing. On one day I may walk out of the house looking like I’m ready to go muck some horse stalls and the next day look like I’m ready for a trip to wine country with a set of pearls in my ears. Trapping yourself into a box of what you believe you should be isn’t worth it and can actually stop you from sharing the gift of you with the world.
So many times we have seen the weirdos and the odd balls change the world. Walking from one day to the next wearing all of the different faces of themselves that create an amalgamation of awesomeness that inspires. Stunting yourself and limiting yourself to the “one true self” you believe you should be isn’t worth the energy it takes to hamper what is fighting to make its way into the world.
I challenge you do to do this: try it all on. Try on all of the different faces that you have ever put on and look at who you are in each one. Do you see it? Under each and every one you are still there, you are still you, and, believe it or not, that’s still your face. So here’s to being all of the versions you are of yourself, embracing all of the pieces of you that make you who you are, and doing you the best way that you know how to.
Each morning is an opportunity to continue your journey through life seeking who you are and who you will be. Don’t be afraid to try something new and don’t be afraid to go back to the “old self” who you thought wasn’t actually you. As someone has said before, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
Let yourself grow. Let yourself discover. Let yourself be.