Reclaiming Awesomeness

I don’t know really how to approach this, so I’ll just say it. I think we’re all pretty clear on the fact that I am awesome. My friend Dan always says I have the highest self-esteem of just about anyone he knows, and it’s true, but I’m about to let y’all in on a big secret: I used to be way awesomer. Not in every way, but I was a lot more fun. Some might have called it immaturity, but thinking about it now, I know that is only partially the case. Mostly, I was just comfortable being myself. I just was who I was, and I didn’t care what anyone thought who happened to be walking by as I was leaping across the mall on ECU’s campus or lying at the bottom of college hill laughing in the dark just for laughter’s sake. I simply did not care, and it was fun. I hugged my friends freely and whole-heartedly, I loved more deeply, I lived more passionately, and believe it or not, I was even more ridiculous.

I haven’t been that way in a while, and someone called me out on it today. Somewhere along the line, “growing up” for me turned into “becoming steadily more boring and guarded,” and I started to wonder why. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened. Maybe it was little remarks here and there, or maybe it was a disappointment that never got dealt with that then got covered, layer by layer, with other disappointments. Most likely, it was a combination of a lot of things, but somehow I got the message that who I was wasn’t ok, and that I needed to be different.

And friends, that pisses me off. Who ever told me that who I was wasn’t a good person to be? Who told me it was wrong to be a little crazy, to run wild around campus doing silly things, to dance in public, to hug people I love, to be myself? Who made playing just for kids and told me to grow up and be serious? Who said my dreams were silly or stupid, and that I should get a real major, a real job, a real life? Who told me I couldn’t be who I was? Who killed the real me with their boring non-awesomeness?

At this point, some of you think I am being melodramatic. Clearly I am not talking to you. You can go watch this YouTube video.

But I know some of you feel the same way I do – that there’s something you wanted to be or do that you were told (in some way) was not ok, not because it was immoral or unethical or sinful, but just because it wasn’t practical, or maybe because it was silly, stupid, unrealistic or weird. I know you feel this way because I talk to you about your life, and everything’s going along just fine, but when I get you on one particular topic, you light up. But you don’t pursue it. You just wish.

So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to resolve to be ourselves no matter what that means because everyone will be a lot more awesome that way. If you’d like to participate in this with me and reclaim the real you, who IS ok even though someone told you you weren’t good enough somehow, then please rise, raise your right hand, and repeat after me:

I (state your name) do hereby resolve to live my life exactly as I am, honestly, unapologetically and passionately. I will not hold back who I am, for better or for worse. I will guard my heart against evil, but not against feeling or experience. Even pain will be accepted without regret if it comes from having lived fully. I will not do anything simply because it is the good and responsible thing my inner college advisor tells me I should do. Rather, I will love and live with reckless abandon, not wasting a moment of my life on boredom, regret, indecision or general non-awesomeness.

Feel free to add in any clauses you want that are specific to your life. Write it down somewhere, sign it, date it, tell someone and have them call you out on it if you start to slip back into the acceptable-for-all-audiences version of yourself who sucked. And then, just like Dolly Parton says, “You better get to livin’!”

Author: beth

I'm told that I'm cleverly stupid, and that's why people are friends with me. And here I thought it was because I was so dang cute...

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