It’s My Story

Photo by Stacey Gabrielle Koenitz Rozells on

“The version of me you created in your mind is not my responsibility via  I love this one.  For me there was a lot to unpack when it came to other people’s expectations of me and their definitions of who I was.  There is still a lot to unpack about why I still fall into that pattern.  What started as a child’s need for validation turned into an adult paralyzed by what other people thought of me.  The need for permission and a lot of hiding in my own space because that is where I felt free.  My whole life felt performative for a long time and I’ve spoken about how it didn’t even feel like mine.  Regardless of any success or progress I had, whatever marker I achieved to show my parents I could do it, there was always the next thing.  And most of it felt pretty hollow. 

I didn’t think I was supposed to be anything more than a series of wins and if I didn’t win, then suddenly I was no longer worthy.  The amount of unlearning I had to do to solidify the belief that my existence was enough felt insurmountable.  Every layer brought out another wound and when I thought I moved forward, there was still more beneath.  It wasn’t until I really started digging into purpose and the relationship we have with time that I began to reclaim my autonomy and the authority in my own life.  That and the recognition of how many people were capable of doing amazing things.  Big or small, it didn’t matter, if they wanted to do something they did it.  By the time I got to adulthood I was stuck in corporate land and still needing to ask permission for a day off.  That is when I decided enough was enough.  I was tired of living in a cage.

I took a hard look around and realized that I was living up to everyone else’s expectations except my own.  It became really challenging to function around other people because I felt like I had to be someone different with everyone.  I felt like I let parts of myself show through with each individual and they automatically defined me in a certain way.  Then I had to be that way and I started living my life to make others comfortable rather than fulfilling my dreams.  I did the things other people wanted me to do and I tried doing things I saw other people doing.  Learning to get quiet with myself and to really hear the core of my desires was really challenging.  It felt selfish and wrong at first, like the things I wanted were something to be ashamed of or greedy.  But let me tell you, there is no shame in what your heart is telling you is right.

Once I made peace with that, I realized that I no longer needed to put on a show.  In living this life, we get one shot and I knew that included me.  I couldn’t pass up anymore time.  I heartily began questioning why on Earth someone else’s desires/expectations were more important than my own—I’m living MY life, why should they have any say in it?  Myleik Teele said it best, “You’re trying to run my race on your legs.”  So GOOD.  The thoughts people have about you are really a projection of them.  Their fears of your failure are really a projection of their fears.  They weren’t really seeing what I could do—they were seeing what they COULDN’T do.  So why was I living up to their expectation?  Why do any of us?  They don’t think they can make it through the day, do you think they have enough energy to see where you’re going?

I was no longer meant to stay in the cage of the perfect girl, always doing what she is told, making safe moves, following the path.  Even on that path, no matter how well I did, I still had to fight twice as hard to get there.  That was a lot of wasted energy on things I didn’t even want.  But I realized that if people couldn’t see their own potential, there was no way they could see mine.  It wasn’t my responsibility to be the person they thought I was—it was my responsibility to define and flex who I was as I saw fit.  That goes for EVERYONE. I held onto who I thought I was supposed to be for too long and it created a TON of internal conflict because my heart and my mind were telling me what was right for me but that nagging guilt told me I had to do something else.  Trying to satisfy both got me nowhere.

For those of you struggling to define yourself or to break free from someone else’s definition, this is your permission slip.  Put down the weight of what they say you are.  Put down the imposed responsibility of maintaining an image for the sake of someone else’s comfort.  Step into who you are.  No matter what you do, someone is going to talk.  It literally doesn’t matter. So do what makes you happy, do what feels right, do whatever you want as long as you do no harm.  Their happiness isn’t your responsibility: your happiness is your responsibility.  People may feel hurt about your choices because they’re not getting what they want from you.  Do it anyway.  You set the bar.  You make the choice.  It’s yours.

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