Well, I can tell you that it WASN'T to get to the other side like the chicken!
My family had just moved into our new house in the mountains of East Tennessee. I was 4 years old. We lived on a little farm, on a dead-end road, in the country. Mama told my sister and I to play outside. We could play anywhere on our little farm. Anywhere!
"Just don't go in the road!" she said.
My sister started playing something obedient on the porch, while I marched my little self out to the edge of our property - THE ROAD. I walked along the edge for a few steps while making sure mama wasn't distracted by my sister. When I was sure she had her eyes on me, I put my big toe on road (where the white line would be if we didn't live on a dead-end-country-road.)
My foot was barely touching pavement. I glanced at mama...no threat from her, except for "the look." Then, I stepped my whole foot on the road.
Some experts call this personality trait "leadership skills," but my mama called it "plain ol' disobedience" and spanked my butt.
If someone told me NOT to do something, I made sure they were watching BEFORE I went ahead and did it anyway. My way.
Why did the little girl put her foot on the road? Because I could. I was testing my boundaries. I was proving I was in control of my little body, mind, and heart.
My mama always told me I marched to the beat of my own drum.
Somewhere along the line of becoming an adult, I recognized the drum my mama was talking about. I noticed that my "drum" was playing a different beat. It seemed to be out of rhythm from the other "drums" around me. Perhaps, someone pointed out the difference to me or, perhaps, it was just a part of growing up, but I began to try marching with the other rhythms. While it didn't feel right, the "fitting in" and "playing along" earned me smiles, applause, and approval.
Apparently, I like affirmation. Becoming a "People Pleaser" became easier than creating my own beat.
The desire to fit in won, and I did things because I was "supposed to." I marked achievements off my bucket list (before I even knew what a bucket list was). I was crazy productive. I built a house, launched a business, and lost 85 lbs. without crazy diets, supplements, or surgery.
Even after all of my accomplishments, all of the applause and approval...I didn't feel successful or accomplished even after all my "doing."
Standing in the road wasn't anything like I thought it would be.
At my goal weight, in the smallest size I had worn since the 6th grade, I was still marching with "the band", I still compared myself to everyone - in all aspects of my life.
"Her house is waaaay cuter than mine. How does she do it!? I can't even get it together enough to run
the vacuum around here? Her house is clean AND decorated for every season."
"Look! She's eating pizza AND chips AND she's a size 6. I gained 10 lbs just looking at HER
"Doing [that thing] helped her get to the next level at work. I'm going to do [that thing]! If it worked for
her, surely I can pull it off too!?"
You find fault in everyone else so you feel better about yourself.
I can identify points in my life I felt I was doing what I was created to do. I had peace in my mind, body, and spirit. My heart simply sang!
Ironically, on my journey towards health, I arrived at my "magic number", wearing a size I NEVER thought possible yet didn't find the peace I had expected. My heart was NOT singing. I was still searching, looking, reaching for more.
"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it...only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." Brene Brown author of 'The Gifts of Imperfection'
I began owning my story when I recognized I am enough outside of "fitting in".
- I am enough even when I'm not doing what I'm "supposed to do" (according to the other drums).
- I am enough when I do something boring - or something zany and unexpected.
- I am enough when I'm brave, when I've afraid.
My enough-ness isn't found in how much I weigh, what size I wear, or even what I do (or don't do.) My enough-ness is found in my soul.
Is your enough-ness tank feeling empty?
Are you so overwhelmed with today that you can't begin to even think about tomorrow (or your future, or your weight, or your family, etc.?)
I had to choose to get unstuck. I had to choose to play my own drum. I had to choose to be brave. I choose to be me.
Ultimately, I chose to continue becoming instead of settling for just "fitting in."
It takes courage to become who you really are! Come stand in the road with me.