Permission to Be Yourself

This morning as I started my run, the song This Is Me from the Greatest Showman soundtrack played. As I ran along the rural Wisconsin roads, in the cool 17 degree weather, I realized how scary it is to be blogging very publicly and running. How childhood trauma of other children making fun of me, as children will do to one another, still effects me as adult. In the deep recesses of my mind,where I put what i don’t want to acknowledge, it is still there. I turn 50 this month. My healthcare professional would label me as obese. Do I have any right to be out here running into the sunrise? I came to the realization that I still fear being judged for the choices I make. As my legs carried me along the rolling Wisconsin hills, I realized that a lot of people feel this same way.

Do you filter who you are to fit in with society at large? Do you express yourself as less than authentic in order to not stand out from the crowd? You do not need permission to be your truest self. But… if you would like permission, I give it to you. Your special form of “you” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does not need to be. If people read my blog and judge my words or even my right to be putting myself out there, it matters not. What does matter is that I show up for myself. I keep putting one foot in front of the other on my runs, despite my age or my weight. My actions in this life are for me alone. When I show up for myself I show myself that I matter and that I am worthy of living the life of my dreams.

This morning was only my second morning running, after years of believing I couldn’t run anymore. The C25K program includes a walk/run algorithm to help you slowly increase your endurance. I am very early in the program; about 22-26 runs remain to bring me to successful completion of a 5K. It is the journey that is important. This running journey has me feeling amazing! I smile more. I feel completely unstoppable. I feel radiant. Where I am running there is a good size hill that hits early on in the run. It is intimidating and I freaking love it. By the time I am cresting the top of the hill I know I will complete todays run, because the hardest part is behind me.

When I slip into my sneakers and secure my knee brace, I am doing it for me. I am doing it because I want to show up for me. I saw running as something I was doing for my physical health. As I dip my toe back into the running waters, I realize that for me, running is for my emotional health. Once the run is done I am glowing.

That glow has an amazing side effect. It is contagious! I see how my elevated mood effects those around me. My exuberance for life rubs off on my friends and family. Even my co-workers get caught up in it, even if they don’t know what they are caught up in. The affects goes beyond that. My work days have been more productive, passing with ease, flow, and contentment. All of this because I won’t let the naysayers in the dark corners of my mind talk me out of my self-care goals.

How easy it would have been to tell myself I was too old, or my knees too bad and talk myself out of this. I could have put it off until I lost some weight or the weather was better. I could have made up excuses about being to busy or needing better shoes. No one would have faulted me for any of these things. They would have agreed with me and nodded, feeling supportive. All of those things, for me, would have been giving in to the childhood taunts and fears. Isn’t it interesting that we have fears we don’t even know about or acknowledge? If asked, I would have said I don’t have fears related to being judged by others. I believed I had proceed and move beyond any childhood teasing. When you consider things you have wanted to do, but talked yourself out of, can you trace it back to a fear?

It is worth exploring what might be holding you back from setting off towards your dreams. When those fears are brought out of the mists, in which they hid, into the bright light of day, you can see them for what they are. They don’t necessarily slip away. It still takes a concerted effort to push beyond them, but at least I know what I am pushing beyond. It does not matters what anyone thinks of me, past or present. The mean kids in life reflect on themselves, not me, with any judgement they may pass. Why would I make myself small in fear of their judgement? If I had, I would have missed out on this feeling of invincibility. I would not have felt this glow that started in my solar plexus and spread golden light all throughout me, until it was spilling out into the world around me.

I get that running is not for everyone. This same truth holds true for whatever is calling to you. Painting, yoga, writing poetry, cooking, body building, collecting stamps, rebuilding motors, growing vegetables, raising fainting goats, it doesn’t matter what it is or if it makes sense to someone else. What matters is that it lights you up. You feel like “you” when you are doing it. Your glow will rub off on those around you. My grandmother was the type of woman who walked into a room and it lit up. I have always aspired to be like her in that. When I run, I am.

After my run this morning I texted a friend letting her know how ama-za-zing I was feeling. She told me she was so glad to experience me feeling great again after having been down for so long. Talk about a serious blind spot. I had no idea I had been “down”. Apparently those around me knew.

I enjoy being a bright and shiny, positive, being. I delight in the emotional zeal for life that courses through me. After a run, I look forward to writing a blog to share my morning’s insights. My vibration is higher, raising the vibration of those around me. For all of these reason I will run on. I am having the time of my life learning to take care of me. Who knew it could be so fun? Life looks rosy and I can’t wait to see how amazing my 50s will be!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find that thing that lights you up and do it, no matter what anyone else thinks! I love you.

Uniquely Me

You are unique. There is none like you. As we move through life we start out secure in who we are. As we grow older, how people react to us starts to form how freely we express that very personal individuality. Then, as we age, we come back to ourselves.

When you are a very young child you are free in this uniqueness. Adults even praise and give positive feedback to young children, when they express themselves in odd and quirky ways. When I watch my grandchild put on something silly and dance around the house, I am impressed by their freedom. They feel safe in their play. Then adolescence happens.

During adolescence we want nothing more than to “fit in” with our peers. We don’t mind being different from adults, but heaven forbid if we stand out form those around us. This is our first step in conforming. We want to dress like everyone else, listen to the same music, and even use the same terminology that the “cool kids” are using. Of course, there are always some free spirits who don’t mind being different and stand out like a daisy in the rose garden.

The next step happens as young adults. Suddenly we see the wisdom of our parents and other adults. We decide we want to be like those role model “grownups ” who made a difference for us. We work the jobs, decorate our homes, even drive the cars that are socially expected. We go on through life, not quite ourselves. Until that one day we take a risk.

We feel some kind of itch in the back of our consciousness. When we act on it and express our true nature, how others respond to us, will have a big impact on if we do it again or not. The more people age the more they feel comfortable expressing their unique nature. The poem, When I am Old, by Jenny Joseph, expresses this desire to be an individual. She talks about all she will do to “… make up for the sobriety of her youth”. How comfortable people feel moving towards their true and marvelous self, has all kinds of baggage tied to it. How people have responded in the past, what validation or lack of it did they receive as children, their self esteem or lack of, and how much they value fitting in; all play into how free they feel to be themselves.

I don’t mind expressing my uniqueness. Working a professional job, reading Tarot on the side, pursuing self improvement, playing hard, passionate about travel, practicing my individual spirituality and seeing the world just a little bit differently; are all aspects of who I am. These things are among a few of the flavors of me. As Doctor Seuss said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Express this nature! Feel the tickle at the back of your mind that says it’s okay to pump your arms in the air when you’re excited, ride on the grocery cart in the parking lot, or paint pictures that no one but you loves. Feel safe to dress in the quirky outfits, listen to eclectic music, and explore interests that call to you, even if those around you do not “get it”.

I call to you! Feel safe in saying, “I am Uniquely Me!” Express yourself more freely each day. You may find that others are impressed by your example. You will likely find that you like yourself more than you ever realized was possible.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you feel safe being uniquely you, as if by magic.

*Photo taken in Dubrovnik, Croatia

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