Have you ever made yourself smaller to try and fit into your environment? Quieted your voice so that it blended with the hemming and hawing of the people or places around you? Cut off the edges of your square peg, so that it could finally fit into that ever-so-desirable round hole? Maybe you've sacrificed your needs or priorities to not cause “drama” or stand out for being “complicated?”
I have. In many ways. This may be my first post about this topic, but it surely won't be my last.
At many different points of my life, I've quieted my own voice and let the world tell me what to do instead.
Rather than diving into the deep caverns of this topic right away, I’m going to keep this post about something a little lighter - owning my choices, being firm in my choices, proud of my choices, and giving zero f's about what anyone thinks about those choices.
I'm what I like to call a “flexitarian” because I've learned that when I label myself as something else, other people get offended if even a pinky toe gets out of line. It's exhausting. People want to know “what I am” but the fact of the matter is, it's complicated. My diet is weird because I've adjusted it to make me feel my best and to give me what I need mentally, physically and spiritually (sometimes you need those Oreos, ya know?!).
Most of the time I stick to vegan food - no dairy, no meat. However, I was raised by the Chesapeake Bay and you’ll never, ever take my Maryland blue crabs away from me. I've gone through phases where I've stayed away from fresh seafood, feeling bad for not “following the rules,” but I always come back. So, instead of flip flopping and feeling guilty when people get annoyed, I've chosen to get comfy with my unique dietary blend. When I eat at a restaurant, sometimes I'm very picky and confirm all the ingredients in a dish. Other times, if there is no obvious meat or dairy, I don't confirm. I own both of those choices. It. Does. Not. Matter. It's. MY. Life. MY. Choice.
And if people fuss or roll their eyes - #boybye.
Another change I've recently made that warrants this kind of attitude, is that I don't really drink anymore. I haven't completely stopped, because, clearly, I like my flexibility! I just drink very little, and very infrequently. This is new for me, and sometimes very uncomfortable. My discomfort stems from my life being filled with people who really do enjoy drinking. I love that about them, they have fun with it! I don't have fun with it. I get anxiety, I feel terrible, and I've decided it's not worth the repercussions I deal with when I drink too much, so I limit myself.
It makes me stand out.
Turning down drinks or changing my order to soda water at the last minute can be really awkward. I can see people making assumptions or wondering why I do what I do. The times I choose to drink, I take small sips, drink slowly, and stop when I'm not comfortable anymore. No matter how much is left in my glass. I own the anxiety, the buzz, the whole dang thing.
I’ve learned that it really comes down to confidence in who you are and what you need. I've never been great with either of those things. Good news is, every time I succeed at owning my choices despite the discomfort I cause myself or others, my confidence level ticks up.
I’m facing the beautiful fact that no one is normal because there IS no normal. Everyone is an individual, and that's nothing to be ashamed of! The choice you make might not be the one I'd make but if it's right for YOU, that's all that matters, right? You're not doing anything wrong by living the way that makes you feel your best. Eat all the meat, or don't. Eat all the ice cream, or don't. Drink all the drinks, or don't. Go to comic con, or don't. Watch the Hallmark channel, or don't. Love dogs, or don't. Be proud of the unique, stunning, individual you ARE.
There is only one of you in this world
and you're here, right now, living this life - so own it.