Throughout my blog thus far, I have presented myself as a jealous jerk turned supportive sister, a socially awkward and unfortunate looking 11-year-old turned a socially awkward and only slightly more fortunate looking 20-year-old and a pink-obsessed, fat cat-worshipping bookworm. I’ve shared a lot about who I am and why I am the way that I am, but I’ve left something out. Despite my self-deprecation and high level of self awareness, I can honestly say I love who I am. I’m not super confident in a crowd or around people I don’t know, but I have a very high self esteem and wouldn’t want to be anyone other than who I am.
I can’t remember if I’ve always felt this way or if adulthood has made me appreciate myself more as I’ve grown into my introversion. Given my predilection to spend time alone, it would be rather unfortunate to not enjoy my own company—if one’s a crowd, I have a big problem. Being alone with my thoughts is rarely torture, and my inner voice and I have established a great rapport; it’s almost as if she knows what I’m about to say before I even say it.
All kidding aside, I am grateful to have grown into the person I am today and realize it is a luxury to love who I am. Do I still look in the mirror sometimes and make a face at my latest breakout? Yes. Do I oftentimes find myself muttering “I hate myself” under my breath after an embarrassing incident? Sure. Are there things about myself I sometimes wish I could change? Of course, but then I realize every trait, hobby or obsession of mine is ingrained into my identity as a whole.
For example, I’m a huge fraidy-cat. At 20, I still check under my bed for monsters and sprint to get under the covers before anything can grab me. I couldn’t swallow a pill until I got my wisdom teeth out when I was 15, and that was only because my swollen cheeks prevented my normal method of chewing. I didn’t drive on the interstate alone until earlier this year because I was so scared of driving. And the list goes on…
It might be nice to walk calmly to bed and lie serenely under the covers like a normal person, and I certainly could have benefitted from never having experienced the acrid taste of a chewed up pill; but, if I weren’t scared of literally everything, I wouldn’t be as cautious as I am now. I constantly am aware of my surroundings when walking alone outside, and I’m always on my toes when I’m driving. Being on edge all the time, while annoying, also gives me an illusion of safety. If I’m aware that something bad could happen, I’m already more prepared to handle it if it does. I wouldn’t want to be fearless because I feel safer being afraid.
An Important Conclusion
My point is, I have learned that I have to accept every aspect of my identity. I can’t be cautious if I’m not first afraid. I can’t be as self aware and independent if I’m not a bit socially awkward in the meantime. I can’t be myself without lots of pink and at least one—but preferably three—fat cats to love. When it comes to identity, I’ve learned it’s not give and take but more like take it or leave it. And I’m going to take it—all of it.