What’s really caught me by surprise during this process is how much I feel my sense of identity changing. When I was 18 I was a happy enough girl, I was happy mostly in my own skin, flirty, fun, light hearted. I enjoyed being the centre of attention in a fun way, I was the organiser and the social person.
I got far too serious as life started to weigh me down. Life changed a lot, I grew up, had to work, gained a sense of responsibility and by 21 I was married, at 24 I had my little boy. I wasn’t unhappy overall but I felt a little discontent. I wasn’t myself any more, I started to bury that side of myself. I got it in my head that it wasn’t ladylike or some shit to be outgoing, to enjoy the lime light. In the Happiness Project Gretchen makes a commitment to “Be Gretchen”.
I started to think about what “Being Rebecca” would be like. What am I really like when I’m not trying to be what I think I should be. I started thinking about all the times that I tried to change myself to be what I felt I should be. I guess it’s come up for a number of reasons but one is because I’m about to go in to a brand new environment with new people who I will have to work with and who will be part of me succeeding. Who do I present to them? I’m determined to be myself even if that means not everyone is my greatest fan, cause the ones I do attract will like me for me.
When I met the Man I was a different person to the one I am now, not so much weighed on me (although in the depths of teen angst it didn’t feel like that). I know now what real depression, real problems feel like, and I know what it’s like to really be aware of what people think of you. At 18 I really didn’t think about what anyone outside of my immediate friends and my Man thought of me. I think when I started to become uncomfortably fat I started worrying about other people and in my desperation to be accepted I realised that if I changed my personality to suit other people I would have the fat overlooked.
Part of me still feels like that, another part of me feels damn fabulous. Going out on the town last week was an eye opener for me, I was hit on, properly hit on when I went to the bar. There was no confusion and it was an interesting experience. It wasn’t unpleasant to feel desirable but it occurred to me it wasn’t the real me. It was me with the magic hair. The hair that makes me feel instantly more attractive and more desirable. And yeah, it’s not very feminist of me to say I want to feel desirable but yet I did say it and I mean it, Yep. It hit me too as I was writing that sentence. It’s probably because I feel that way that the attention comes. Don’t get me wrong I’m not putting my self esteem in the hands of others but it doesn’t hurt every once in a while.
I used to be confident and I used to be flirted with, luckily the Man and I are solid and he’s not really offended by some dude thinking his woman is hot. He knows that I do monogamy like a boss. More importantly, vain stuff aside, is that I used to feel good about myself enough to be the life and soul of the party, and want to socialise. Socialising is stressful and difficult when you are constantly trying to behave how you think people want you to. So I’m going to behave how I want to behave. Be that mildly embarrassingly, or quietly if I feel like it. Whether I have a glass too many of dark and stormies or chose to treat myself to a diet coke, it doesn’t matter as long as I’m being me, the trouble is I’m not quite sure who I am. Some things I am for sure is competitive, flirty, fun, full of laughter, sarcastic, inappropriate, loud, friendly, sweet, unaware, naive, worldly, and a contradiction
I am still really finding who the new me is but she reminds me a lot of the person I was when I was happy.