When I was very young:
I said I wanted to be a psychiatrist, but I was told not to aim so high.
So I didn’t.
I started to write poetry and short stories, but I was told to get my head out of the clouds.
So I stopped.
I was urged to go down the secretarial path, and it felt wrong.
But I did it.
I was told that I was dumb and I would never account to much, and I believed.
And I stopped believing in me.
There have been many, many occasions in my life when I’ve listened to the teachers, the critics, the doubters, the people who can’t understand what’s wrong with a ‘proper job’. So, when I left school, I got myself a steady 9-5 and made myself fit into a box of other people’s choosing. It was uncomfortable, it didn’t fit and the creative side of me felt utterly, utterly trapped. But I stuck with it, because isn’t that what you do? Then along came my children, the bright shining stars in my life of midnight black.
And through them, I shone.
With every silly verse or story I made up for them; I shone. With every game I created; I shone. With every nativity costume that I sewed; I shone. My creativity was finally set free. And, for that period of my life, I was content. When the inevitable happened and they started to grow out of riddles, rhymes and make-believe, I did what I was ‘supposed’ to do and got myself a job. It was a nice job, with nice people, yet every day that I walked through the office doors I felt suffocated. But yet again, I stuck with it – I stuck with it until I could feel my brain turning into mush – literally.
It was on the way to work after a Christmas break that it finally happened – I broke. It seems that if you’re a square peg, you can only force yourself to fit into a round hole for so long before something breaks. For me it was, well to be frank, it was me. I had a complete and absolute, ‘can’t leave the house, panic attacks in Tesco’ breakdown. It took a long time to fit the pieces together, and even longer to work out that the pieces weren’t actually me – they were a homogenised version of the real me.
Time passed and I healed, not completely – the beast called depression (or Bernard as I like to call it) still knocks on my door occasionally. There are also times when I have to quash a panic attack. But even with the depression and the panic attacks, I love my life. For it is exactly that; MY LIFE. I have a career that I chose, I take the opinions and feelings of other people into consideration, but every decision I make is mine and mine alone.
It wasn’t easy evolving from a people pleasing / box fitting / I can’t person into an entrepreneurial / three company owning / built two blogs /qualified business consultant.
Yet I did it.
I did it despite the rolling of eyes, despite the criticism, despite the inner voice that whispered, “What if you fail?” And if I can live the life that I was born to lead then SO CAN YOU!
Other people just love to have opinions about how we live our lives don’t they? They love to give advice about what we should be doing and what we’re capable of. Some of these people may be incredibly well meaning, but there is a very fine line between advice and criticism – many people over step it; frequently. So it makes sense to choose carefully what you listen to. Because people are not always right. Because people don’t necessarily know what is best for you. Because there is only one person who knows what is right for you and what you are capable of – YOU!
There is dream in all of us. What if you dare to make that dream a reality? What if you dare to live your life, your way. What if you answer your critics with these three words:
Watch – This – Space.
Here’s to the real you.