It seems like an age since I wrote my last post. In reality it’s been a few weeks but so much seems to have happened in this time. I’ve prepared for a month-long trip away to Asia with my husband and 5 month old baby, I’ve spoken to work about my imminent return to the office, I’ve started to be regularly coached, I’ve spent quality time with my son enjoying everything we (ok, I) love in Brighton – baby groups, ice creams in the sun, time with close friends – and I’ve had a visit from my very close friend, Nadine, who flew over from Texas to stand by my side for a bit and support me with looking after Jenson.
It’s been a very full time and so I hope you’ll forgive me for my silence.
I wanted to take a moment before the day starts to ponder upon what I explored in my recent coaching session – the thought of being selfish.
I know that I can’t do everything I want to in life now that I’m going to become a full-time working mother. Or more I could do everything but it would mean that I can’t do much of what I want for myself.
And what do I want for myself?
I want to live a life that lights me up.
A life full of time with close friends instead of saying ‘yes’ to every offer made to me. A life with time to spend playing with and loving and treasuring my husband and son instead of rushing around. A life where I have space and time instead of rushing around from commitment to commitment. A life where I have time to coach those looking to find freedom from comfort eating and people pleasing instead of having no time for this vocation that I so love. A life where I can save up to travel around the world instead of frittering away money doing everything offered to me.
But the thing that is holding me back is this one big, dirty thought that I can’t seem to shake.
That taking this path I so long to follow is selfish.
Selfish – such a loaded word. It blunts the enjoyment of pursuing my dream of a life that lights me up as I feel that to do what I want, I’m trampling on others and am taking up too much space in this world. It makes me feel like I’ll stop being loved if I show my true self and follow my own compass instead of being easy-breezy and always going along with the flow.
And then I remember this amazing quote by Nayyirah Waheed that my friend, Heather, sent to me:
What about this theory – the fear of not being enough and the fear of being too much are exactly the same fear. The fear of being you.
Because who am I? I am someone who is both selfish and selfless. And for that matter, I am so much more. I am also someone who is both strong and weak, loving and hateful, patient and impatient, opinionated and shy. But I try to push down that which I deem to be ‘wrong’ – being selfish, weak, hateful, impatient, shy.
But I am these things.
And to deny who I am is to deny my true self.
I don’t know if any of what I’m saying is making sense. I feel like it’s only half-sense to me.
But the bit that does make sense is to embrace who I am. To acknowledge that I’m selfish sometimes and that’s ok. And I’m hateful sometimes and that’s ok. And that I’m weak sometimes and that’s ok. And I’m impatient sometimes and that’s ok. And I’m shy sometimes and that’s ok.
It’s only in writing that paragraph above that I realise the feelings I am ‘ok’ with are those which don’t take up too much space in the world – I realised this because I wrote ‘And I’m shy sometimes’ but felt that it was more ok for me to be small and shy than loud and opinionated. I’m ok with showing the emotions that don’t clamour for attention. Being loving, patient, strong, shy, strong, selfless are feelings that seem ok because they take up less space in the world…but when I’m my true self – the Amy who is both selfish and selfless, loving and hateful (you get the gist…), that’s not ok because it demands me to take up more space and be seen as something that might not be accepted.
Oh geez, this is tricky.
I’m getting to a space where I’m starting to see what it would be like for me to accept exactly who I am. It feels scary because I feel that to be me would be to show the ‘true’ Amy that might not be loved by everyone or anyone.
I know that’s not true – I know that most people in my life will love me exactly as I am because as much as I try to hide that which is unacceptable to others, I can’t help but be me at times. Plus, I don’t think that most people’s love for me is based on me saying yes to their invitations or me doing things I didn’t want to do or not speaking my mind.
But some people may not like me as much. And it feels scary to risk that love, even if it is a love paid for by being less than I am.
And so here I am at a cross roads. Knowing that I want to become more ‘me’ but unsure how to start that journey. Feeling the fear of showing myself but knowing that it’s the only way to be, dreading the discomfort of this journey but knowing that it will be worth it.
It is the only path I can take for it is the path I want for myself – one where I show courage to take a route I’ve never taken before. Where I speak my truth, even if it’s scary. Where I start to love myself for exactly who I am without hiding.
A life of courage, truth and love.