There’s something about children that totally fascinates me…small children anyway. They are carefree, uninhibited, undiluted, raw. They are amazed by the most miniscule things and find joy in the absolute ridiculous. It’s beautiful. This lack of reservation and authentic wonderment makes me envious sometimes. To watch a kid sit in a park and express delight at feeding ducks or the floating bubbles her parents have just blown from a tiny pink ring, leaves me in awe. And I can’t help but think, why not me? And it’s not that it can’t be me, it could. But only after I’ve looked around to see who’s watching or I make sure that I am in complete solitude. Or that the only people around are just as quirky as me and therefore, wouldn’t give a damn if I decided to stand on my head and sing a song, just as quirky and random as my actions, like “She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes….” Yeah, I would have to ask myself a million questions before I did that and even then, afterwards, I would feel like a nut.
The thing that frustrates me is where on earth does that feeling of come from? You know the feeling for the need of approval, acceptance, and just to be normal. Because, let’s face it, I’m not your typical, average woman. There are elements that are typical (I won’t dare begin to list them). But for the most part, I’m kinda different. I’m a black woman with two advanced degrees, who speaks differently than some, with big natural hair, who does yoga, studies astrology, prefers Indian food to soul food, can rock out to Kings of Leon just as easily as Jay-Z, won’t let beef or pork touch my lips, feels guilty when I kill a bug (even though they scare me tremendously) and believes, with every fiber of my being, that love conquers all. Yeah, I’m not like most. And surprisingly, I don’t consider myself different until people point out certain things or ask me silly questions.
But what I’m discovering is that I’ve always been different. Always. And instead of attempting to “fit” in or conform, I’ve always simply done my own thing and it’s worked out just fine. So, I have to ask myself, is this really a fear of not being accepted or deemed “normal”, because what the hell is normal anyway? Or is this simply a fear of being naked, exposed, for all to see? What am I afraid of allowing people to see? As I’ve come to this particular juncture in my life, it’s become increasingly important for me to live in authenticity. And in so doing, I feel even more exposed. Being authentic is scary. Showing people who I am is scary. Before, I would go along with the norm. Keep my interests and hobbies to myself for fear of ridicule or flack, but now it’s ok. I know and understand that I do not have to cover myself. I don’t have to analyze others’ reactions and I don’t have to seek acceptance or approval. The one thing I MUST be in this life is…well…me. Authentic, naked, exposed…me.