All I Can Be Is Me
I hate to shop especially if I need something for an upcoming event. Nothing fits right. Or if it does it’s out of my price range. The neckline is wrong, or it’s too long, or they don’t have it in my size. I’m not a fan of looking at myself in the mirror either, especially those unforgiving department store mirrors that seem to emphasize every physical flaw I possess. Ugh. It’s torture.
No miracle is going to occur between now and my big event to change me. I’m not going to lose twenty pounds in the next couple of months and start working out six hours a day. I know myself. This is me and I have to accept that.
Same goes for my approach to writing. I tried for years to fit my writing into publishers' molds. I couldn’t do it. I cut and edited and got rejected and cried. I cleaned it up to sell it and I hated the result. I shouldn’t have compromised, but doing so taught me something important: All I can be is me.
No one else has my perspective, my life experience or my voice. No one views the world exactly the way I do. No one else writes exactly the way I do.
There may be no new ideas but no one else is going to put my spin on an old one, either.
I know I’m bad at the business of writing. I know my sales numbers are lousy. I don’t understand marketing. I don’t have the money to advertise. I’ve accepted those things about myself and the rest of the world will have to.
So much of social media is filled with “shoulds.” What you should be doing to market your brand. What you’re doing wrong. Why what you’re doing isn’t effective. It’s exhausting. My brain can’t absorb it and my psyche is reluctant to act on it. So I just keep plugging along being me. Because that seems to be what I know how to do and I’m good at that.
You can’t be someone else and why would you want to? And if you’re trying to be other than who you are to gain something, love, admiration, fame, what anyone then loves or admires about you is the façade you showed them. It isn’t genuine and therefore it’s meaningless.
Sometimes it isn’t easy to be authentic in a world of fakery. We’re bombarded with reality television shows which aren’t real at all. Our politicians posture and angle and pose for the camera. We assume they’re all lying because we can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what isn’t.
Marriages flounder because fear creeps in. If he really knew me, we think, he wouldn’t love me. So we play pretend to hang on to something that’s as fake as we are.
Many of us aren’t sure who we are. We’ve covered ourselves with layers of protectiveness, so when we look in that mirror we aren’t confronted with our flaws. In fact, we can’t even see ourselves.
It won’t be easy but here’s what I wish for you:
Find yourself. Accept yourself. Be authentic. Stop the judgment, both your own and that of others. Be the best you you can be. And every day remind yourself of this: All I can be is me.
Barista by day, novelist by night: When not writing fiction, Barbara Meyers sometimes disguises herself behind a green apron and trades lattes for story ideas. Her work mixes comedy, suspense and spice and often features a displaced child. Discover more at BarbaraMeyers.com