I want to go back. I’m trying to go back.
I don’t know when I stopped wanting to be the most intelligent woman in the room, and began to care more about being the most adored person in the room.
I don’t know when, but I wish I could go back and tell myself STOP!
I don’t know when I traded my books in for twitter. I don’t know when I started to notice what was “fly” and what wasn’t. I don’t know when I started to compare my hair, skin, and nails to other girls. I don’t know when I started to recognize the “finest” brands and turned my nose down at the “cheap” brands.
It happened. A shift happened. NYC ripped all that I knew of myself out of me and built it’s own version of me.
I began to do the things I thought were right, to be liked or validated.
How did I let that become more important than being genuinely myself?
Sometimes I accredit the change to being a late bloomer. I was never the girl that guys lined up to date and trust I wasn’t the girl who was going to be dressed in the 9’s. And honestly, to the old me, going to the nail salon was more of a hassle than it was a good time. The new attention became addicting. I began to feed the areas where I was drawing attention rather than the areas that made me feel most whole.
What good is it to bring pleasure to other people and sacrifice yourself?
The old me? I prided myself on my intelligence. My quick witt. The ability to fit in any room & make everyone comfortable. I knew there would be 10 other women in the room with better looks, bodies, and careers but they couldn’t hold a candle to my gift of conversation. They couldnt change the fact that whoever I was sitting down with, was going to like me by the end of the conversation. I had this innate ability to sit across from someone and actually build a relationship with them in moments. To connect about random things like ancient Rome or the women’s peace movement in Liberia.
The new me? I prided myself on a business card, or the “client” I walked in the room with. I never wanted to speak first, “They should come to you,” the new me said.
What good is it if people hear your words but never encounter you?
I would make decisions for the outcome and not for my own integrity.
What does a man profit to gain the whole world yet lose yourself?
Guilt was another factor, I felt guilty that I wasn’t the same girl anymore. Guilt will make you do some things. I began to overcompensate for the guilt I carried.
As much as I didn’t love my aunts awfully, tacky Christmas sweater gift from JC Penny, I would still feel bad that I turned my nose up. What would I do instead? The following Christmas, I would spend my last dime to buy her the newest, nicest sweater from that overly expensive Soho boutique. All she really wanted, was a hug & a kiss from me, my presence.
Spending time with myself has forced me to explore the deeper nuanseances of my soul. I noticed that I had been willing to become something else because I was lost, confused, and in need of some centering. I have started to assess myself from a vantage point far beyond the best self help book.
I stand here with two versions of myself side by side, working to find the healthy balance. The balance that says “I am not willing to diminish the power of me to make comfortable the weakness of this world.”