Sunday, January 11, 2015

To be nobody but yourself...

I have been thinking about this post for a while now, probably at least a month. Isis just turned 5 and seeing her growth and her personality beginning to develop, I just find myself with so many things to say and I want to save these thoughts somewhere so we can come back to this later when it is really relevant. 

As Isis' personality develops, I see so much of myself in her. Parenting is a truly brutal lens into your own life and insecurities. Suddenly there is this person with their own struggles and shortcomings & you find yourself going, "oh wow I recognize that struggle. That struggle is mine. That struggle came from me. I am intimately connected to the pain and fear that can come from that type of personality trait because it has been my struggle my entire life." What a humbling discovery.

Isis has such a sensitive soul. She is sensitive both in the sense that she loves and hurts with such a degree of depth and understanding, but also sensitive in the way that embarrassments and fears can quickly turn to tantrums and tears. Oh, how I have struggled with these same issues. I remember days where I felt so much that it all just turned into pain because I had no understanding of the depth of meaning in the spectrum of some of those feelings. I struggled for years to learn to tame and overcome my feelings and sensitivities, even to a fault at times where I thought the only solution was to completely tune out any real feelings.

This is still a very real and current struggle of mine today and while I recognize that I will always have these struggles to a certain degree, I have also realized that I struggle because I feel and when it comes down to it, to feel is not a bad thing. If I cannot accept and allow these and many other things about myself, then how can I expect her to accept and allow these same things in herself with any amount of grace or appreciation?

So here I am, laying myself bare, allowing myself to share me - both the good and the bad. Because again when it comes down to it, for better for worse, this is what I have to offer and while I definitely have areas that I will continue to focus on growth and improvement, I have to stop focusing on what needs to be changed and start allowing myself to appreciate what might be ok to leave alone.

So here goes...

I am awkward. I don’t know how to handle most social situations.

My humor is very awkward and sarcastic. Such a strange combo when you’re with new people.

I say the wrong thing half the time, but it comes from a place of honesty. What I am thinking will ultimately always come out.

I don't do well in situations with new people or people I don't know well. There is an element of trust in terms of sharing my personality that is very much earned. This doesn't mean I can't make new friends or won't eventually stop being as awkward or uncomfortable around someone, but it will usually come after a period of awkwardness, so bear with me.

I hate to be late. It gives me major anxiety. If you want me there at 5:00, tell me something starts at 5:15. I will be there early. Unless it's a situation where I don't know anyone, and then see above. I'll be there when I'm sure people I know will be there.

I am a fiercely loyal & dedicated friend. If we make it through the awkward stage to a point where there is trust and mutual respect, just be prepared for me to stick around for the long haul. I am that person you can pick up with after a year or 2 and we will fall right back into our old routine. This is probably why I have maintained friendships with so many people from high school. I don't need to see them all the time to stay connected in some fashion, although Facebook helps.

I love to read. A lot. I love to crawl into someone else's world for a little while & experience elements of life that I either won't, can't or don't want to ever experience. The quote that a reader lives a thousand lives is so true and the ultimate definition of why I read. 

I have a very obsessive personality. If I find something I like, I really like it. No, really. There are so many examples of this. Just ask literally anyone I know or who has ever been on my Instagram or Facebook feed. This also goes back to the fiercely loyal & dedicated friend element. It comes from this part of my personality.

I am absolutely sensitive. This is the thing about Isis that I see and relate to most often. I think it comes from this deep down ability to relate to people or things that are going on around you. I can find myself completely gutted by a YouTube video, commercial or music video. Don't even get me started on books or tv shows. Book hangovers are real, people.

If I feel like I have said the wrong thing & in any way hurt someone else or made them disappointed in me, it will Tear. Me. Apart. Yes, this goes to an issue with being a perfectionist, but it also goes hand in hand with the part of my personality that is sensitive and identifies with the hurt of others & feels real pain if I had a hand in causing it. Combine sensitivity with being a perfectionist and it is absolutely something I have to keep boundaries on, but something I'm learning is not always a negative aspect of who I am.

I get excited. About pretty much anything. I feel like this has gotten me into so many situations of embarrassment and is the number one reason why people think I’m 12, but when it comes down to it, this all goes back to that part of me that is a feeler. I feel. Everything. I don’t often have in-betweens. If I’m happy, I’m really happy. If I’m sad, I’m really sad. If I’m excited, I’m really excited. There is just no in between. And if you find me just sort-of sitting and seeming like I am in between – you may want to ask me what’s up because it probably means I’m shutting some feeling down, which in my experience never turns out good for me. Because again, go back to the beginning of this post, all my feelings and thoughts will eventually come out. And the longer I wait to get them out, the more forced and unkempt they will appear.

I stress eat. And I happy eat. And I eat when I’m bored. I love food. Chips & salsa at a Mexican restaurant are my favorite. I’m trying to get control of this because I do want my children to see healthy habits and I have definitely maintained a healthy weight and physique by some miracle of God because I hate to work out, too (another thing I do find value in trying to get better at), but I think I have a little fat kid that lives inside me and is always whispering things to me about how good that doughnut looks or how awesome it would feel to eat the entire container of spinach artichoke dip. It’s going to be a lifelong problem.

I think more than I talk, which is crazy because I talk a lot. And I talk fast. We can accomplish a lot of conversation in a short amount of time if needed. But I also think about everything and I think all the time. I dwell. I ponder. And sometimes I just go absolutely out in left field. I sat in a planning meeting last week at school and halfway through the meeting I couldn’t stop thinking about how bad I wanted some chili. So I said that out loud. Because I think and then I speak. I am Cameron.

I have experienced a pretty ultimate amount of self-loathing due to decisions I have made in my life. I spent some time in high school and early college with basically a better-than-thou attitude and approach to life, which ended up biting me in the butt when I made some choices that tore my world apart. While I hate that these things happened, I am who I am because of them and I have learned how to view the world with grace. If you need to make a confession or have someone walk you through a struggle, I’m your girl.

I love my job. I seriously cannot imagine doing anything else and while I hate student loan payments, every single one I pay tells me that I chose to go back and do something with my life that I love. And that’s a good thing.

One of my biggest struggles in life is not seeing the good in myself. I have spent the majority of my life thinking that almost everything in this list makes me somehow unlovable, unwanted, unattractive or unappealing. That may sound like a ridiculous thing to say, but it is so true. And one of the reasons why I compiled this was because I wanted to find the good in these things. I also want to teach my children to find the good in those things as well because I see so many of these traits in them, and when I see it in them I see it as such a positive thing. I hope they do as well.

I asked 4 of my people – and by people I mean my closest people, my friends who know me best and have been there through the vast majority of my life, my husband who sees me good and bad through everything, and my mentor who seriously gives me more guidance than anyone else right now – but I asked them to give me 5 words they would use to describe me and not to think about it too hard. Here are the words they gave: Spunky, Hard-Working, Complex, Sensitive, Loyal, Friendly, Funny, Quirky, Passionate, Loving, Truthful, Sarcastic, Generous, Diligent, Eager, Speedy, Thinker, Intelligent, Friend, Mom. I find it so interesting how many of those speak to the things I’ve said above. And I am pretty sure they meant them all as a good thing…

I have tried to do away with New Year’s Resolutions for myself, so last year I focused on a word. That word was SIMPLIFY. I think it helped a lot to just think about one word to focus on, so this year I decided to do the same. My word for 2015 is GRATITUDE. When I start struggling and not seeing the good, I want to stop and actually name the things I’m thankful for. I’m reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and it’s helping me to get in this mindset. 

For my girls, for my husband, for my friends, and for myself, I want to learn to be able to name all the things above as things I am thankful for about myself. They aren’t perfect and they aren’t tied up in a pretty package and half the time I am just a serious hot mess. But I’m me. And I only have one life to do this and I need to not waste it with disappointment.
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