That (and variations of it) is a quote I like to remind myself of, frequently. In remembering that quote, I remember that I haven't worked so hard to be me just to give it up every time it gets a little rough to be "me."
When I was in the 8th grade, I started a new school. A new private school with a bunch of rich white kids. Being at a predominantly white school wasn't new to me, what was new to me was being in a small school that was steeped in rich white people type traditions.
To this day I credit my experience at that school with forming a large part of who I am. It helped me find my voice, helped me see my strengths and I got a great education, to boot.
But that first year kept me off balance. I was making new friends (something I hadn't had to do in a long time) and trying to find my place. At the end of the year, I went around to all the cliques of folks hanging out in the Lower School building, getting them to sign my yearbook. 12 years later I still remember one specific note a girl wrote in that yearbook. "I wish I was as sure of myself as you are of yourself."
Not too long ago I wrote a post about "seeing the great" and that was one of the first times I remember someone not related to me "seeing the great" in me. I was taken aback mostly because reading that note made me realize that I wasn't all that sure of myself, I was just really good at faking it.
At 25, I'm definitely more sure of myself than I was at 13, but what I know now that I didn't know then is "it's ok to be unsure." It's those uncomfortable and icky parts of me that I'm sometimes the happiest with, because I'm growing and learning how to change what I don't like and keep what I do, whether others like it or not.
Today I read this awesome post by Robyn of Skinny Black Girl. Go read it. I'm not summarizing it, because you have to read it.
My favorite quote from this post is
"Because when you dedicate great periods of time to accepting and becoming yourself, you tend to feel a bit queasy when someone demands that you be and answer to something/someone else."OHMIGOSH, AIN'T THAT IT??!! When I think about why long term committed relationships scare me just a tad, I know that that's it. I'm willing to give up a lot; who I am and what I am aren't among those things. I don't mean to insinuate that to be in a committed relationship I have to stop being me, but having just started to feel like I even have a slight idea of what "being me" looks like, having to consider giving that up just isn't something I'm ready to do.
This is bigger than not wanting to move, or having to share my space and time with someone, this is about me and my dreams and the experiences that are the sum of who it is I am. This is putting in work to get something and then being asked to give that something up. Some stuff I'm more than happy to give up, others, like this... I'm not there yet.
Further than that, though, I realize this is at the epitome of some of the clashes with other people I've been having. I woke up one day and decided I was done not being me so that others could be comfortable -- friend or not. Making that decision, in and of itself, is a whole thing. Now I have to live with it and I have to do so unapologetically.
I'm not sorry for who I am and it's not that I feel like folks want me to be. I just know that I've worked so hard to have myself that for right now, I don't have that to give up.