Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. ~Judy Garland
I spent most of my life trying to be anyone but me. I’d surround myself with people that were fun. I’d involve myself with their interests and activities. I was so busy living through and for other people that I didn’t know how to feel for myself. I didn’t know where they ended and I began. I was unable to separate into my own being. I was unaware of my own values, needs, and desires. It wasn’t that I didn’t like myself; I just didn’t know myself. I had no idea that I had been lost, so looking for me wasn’t even an option at that time.
There came a point in my life that I felt something was missing. There was a void I tried to fill with people, activities, education, and hobbies. No matter how busy I became, I still felt empty. It was then I started searching. For what, I didn’t know. I became involved in organized religion, and for a while I was satisfied. The more I found, the more I wanted. I started pulling out the spiritual truths within myself. I recognized glimpses of someone vaguely familiar. I realized there was someone more than a wife, mother, daughter, sister, or friend within me. Someone with her own feelings and ideas.
I became stifled with fear, afraid of what I’d find if I kept looking. I was fearful of appearing different or self-serving. I was overly concerned about other people judging me. It was somewhere along that path that I began to understand that I was the only one that could make me happy. And how was I ever going to be truly happy if I didn’t know who I was? It takes courage to search, and it takes courage to accept what you find. It takes audacity to be authentic.
I feared abandonment, yet I’d abandoned myself. What point in my life had I buried my identity? Where had I gone? Did I ever really exist? I have not always been happy with the truths I’ve discovered about myself. But only I have the power to rewrite my story. I embrace the parts of me that are pleasing, and I acknowledge and work on changing the parts that aren’t. Now, that I have welcomed myself, I am home.
Having comfort with one’s own soul, to rest in solitude, is the beginning of peace. I didn’t find myself or peace within a day, a week, or a month. Not even a year. It has taken years of soul searching. It is a continuing process. I am creating my own tapestry.