Tuesday, October 21, 2008

That Other Me

Allow me some self-indulgence in this post, won't you?

It seems that lately I’m re-inventing myself. It was not a conscious decision, this “becoming someone new” thing, but there it is. I’m shedding my old skin (along with a few pounds and a ton of insecurities) and re-emerging as the star I know I was meant to be.

It’s funny how that’s happened more than once in my life, and funnier yet how I don’t notice that I’ve climbed back into my cocoon until I’ve re-emerged from it.

When I was younger, growing up in Portugal, I was a pretty popular kid. In every memory I have as a kid, I was always surrounded by friends, holding court, the leader of the pack. It was my show, everyone else was just lucky to get a bit part in it.

However, moving to the United States in the middle of 4th grade threw a bit of a ratchet into my plans of becoming queen of the world. Suddenly I was in a strange land, speaking a strange language, trying to fit into a world that had been revolving without me for a long time.

It didn’t take me too long, however, to find my place, and once again, establish myself as the “go to” person amongst my friends. That is, until, I was thrust into a brand new school year after year, as my parents attempted to figure out their life in this new country.

By the 8th grade, I’d lost my place all over again, and was feeling about as beat down as a kid can get when they are completely out of their element. No longer was I the star of the show, at this point, I didn’t even make the cast. In fact, I’m not sure I felt I was even qualified to paint the set pieces.

My high school years were NOT the best years of my life by any means, and I struggled to find my footing. It was during this time that the timid, insecure part of my personality truly took form. The girl I became in high school would haunt me for years to come, the insecurities heavy on my heart and mind more often than not.

In college, however, I did it again. Re-invent myself, I mean. This time, it was a conscious effort, as I pushed aside the shy, insecure girl, and let the vivacious, flirtatious, and ambitious ME come out to play. I had a great time in college, and have mostly memories of being free to be the “real” me. This new me, the confident, strong, independent me, lived on after college as well. She took a few unscheduled sabbaticals, mostly during the two or three destructive relationships I allowed myself to be in, but never failed to reappear before it was too late. Before I was too lost.

But something happened in the last few years. Although by all appearances, anyone would tell you that I was still representing that college girl, that strong, confident woman on the outside, the truth was that she was gone on sabbatical again. Only this time, she didn’t tell me she left.

I hadn’t realized what a beating my self-esteem had taken until very recently. Until I started to work on bettering myself again.

So, it brings me to this moment. Over the last several months, I’ve been re-inventing myself again. At first, sub-consciously, reconnecting with old friends, and with God, and finding an inner strength, and inner peace I hadn’t realized I’d lost. Then, more consciously, on a slightly more “superficial” level, by taking back my social life, and taking back my body from the complacent place I’d let it settle (heavily) upon.

Now, I walk down the street with my head held high again, no more watching my feet as they land step by step. I make eye contact with strangers, and I smile at passersby. I feel worthy once again of the attention I’m receiving from the opposite sex, and am not afraid to return it, as I have been for so long. I now look forward to heading out to social events, dressing up, getting all girly to show off what God gave me, and enjoy my existence in this world.

Always a bit of a fashionista, I’d let even that side of me slack recently, but I am again taking pride in my wardrobe, pulling together outfits, creating trendy, unique looks that only THIS ME can pull off. THIS me. Because that other me? She didn’t believe she could do it, she didn’t have the guts. She didn’t want to be seen, she wanted to just coast by unnoticed. THIS me, however? I want it all, the attention, the intrigue, even the disapproving or misunderstanding looks. Not everyone will get me, and THIS me is okay with that. You don’t have to like me, but you will notice me. That’s the me I’ve always so enjoyed being. The “unafraid to raise eyebrows” me. The “look at the bounce in her step” me. The “that girl could rule the world” me.

See, you can’t be a star if you don’t allow yourself to shine, and stand out there all alone at times, and me? I’m ready for my moment in the spotlight once again.

Don’t worry though, I promise to use my powers only for good.


A Spot of T said...

I'm loving and enjoying this new you you write about. Of course I liked the old you too...and I haven't even known you that long?? Which means I guess I just like you for you, old or new :o)

Lisa said...

Well, I think you're super. And I love your attitude! Lots of days I could use a dash of that myself. =)


Dory said...

Good for you!

Finally, at the ripe old age of 42, I can say THIS ME is comfortable in my skin. Despite my flaws and failures.... THIS ME has value.

Gosh it took me a long time to get there. You're light years ahead of me. :o)

Anonymous said...

i don't think that there is a woman alive who hasn't bounced back & forth between 2 selves at one time or another. good for you!

-jeanne (aka mama waples)

Karina said...

Joy, thank you! I like you too! ;-) A Lot!

Lisa, thanks! I think you're pretty darn cool yourself!

Dory, thank you! I've spent enough time beating up on myself...hopefully I'm done, but well...you never know, right?

Jeanne, that is so true. And I'm sure my "bouncing around" isn't done yet, but hopefully I can put it on hold for a few more years, you know?

Pamela said...

I have a split personality, to. giggle

Anonymous said...

I think it's wonderful to be in a state of "becoming"; that way, you don't become stuck in ruts...and devoid of life! You're FULL of life and it's a joy to see you on this journey :).

Thanks for sharing so much of yourself, you encourage all of us who spend time with you!