Being Self-Aware and OK With Your Baggage

I know this may come as a shock to most of you reading this, and especially for those of you who know me, but I like who I am. I’m 36 years old and I’m pretty self-aware.

I’ve been around long enough to know who I am, what I like, what I don’t like, and I’m sure I’ll adopt more new/weird eccentricities in the next ten years. And I’ll probably not give a fuck then either.

Listen. I spent most of my adolescence (including my twenties) being dangerously insecure, which is annoying because in terms of looks that was probably my peak. I remember when my 5th grade teacher told my mom that she thought I was “gifted” and wanted to skip me a grade, I panicked. And by the way, how does anyone even make that call on someone in 5th grade? I was able to tell the difference between horizontal lines and vertical ones? I could spell onomatopoeia?? Who the fuck knows.

Anyway, I just remember sitting there thinking “please god just let me stay in my grade with the kids my age where I can grow into my nose comfortably”. I desperately wanted to be accepted and wouldn’t ya know it? Never really was. I was always sort of the outcast, had “unpopular” friends, boys were unaware of my presence and girls were mean to me. Classic grade school. That was where I discovered my undying love for Funyuns and Spaghettios. Nothing cured a case of the school day blues like a bag of Funyuns crunched up over Spaghettios. Don’t you judge me.

I’m not saying it’s wise to eat your feelings, but sometimes it happens and you don’t have to feel bad about it. Unless you’re starting to get to a point where you need actual medical help or a dolly to get out of your apartment. Find a balance. The term “comfort food” exists for a reason, even though I think all that is very subjective. Because TASTE is subjective.

Fast forward to my late twenties/early thirties, and that’s where it all started to come together. I started spending more time by myself (after many, many horrid relationships) and realized…I can do this. I can spend time with ME and enjoy it. I don’t need the kids from school or a random guy to validate my existence. I’m “gonna do me” and let my freak flag fly.

I’m an old soul. I’m sarcastic and dark. My wit is drier than an aged cote de boeuf. I like music from the 50’s and 60’s. I LOVE cars. I love classic rock. I think Uni and oysters are boogers of the ocean. I love NYC pizza more than I love most people. I think rainbow cookies are bullshit. I think mint chip ice cream is toothpaste with chocolate in it. I think fashion is incredible, yet I wear black 90% of the time because I’m lazy and I just don’t like people staring at me. In the physical sense, I like to blend. But my voice? That’s different.

I have a lot of opinions and I have zero problems sharing them with anyone who comes within 10 feet of my orbit. I’m not an arrogant blowhard about it, but I’m comfortable taking a stand for the things I believe in. And you know what you call that? Confidence. And self-awareness.

Let’s backtrack for a sec on the fashion thing – I may be secure and comfortable with who I am, but I HATE being stared at. Hate it. That’s why I don’t wear “flashy” clothes that grab attention. I used to be a dancer, so you’d think I’d like being center stage, but it was never really about that. For me, it was about the release of emotions. I was one of those people who bottled everything up, so dancing was my outlet for anger, sadness, joy, and anything in between. That’s neither here nor there, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Just because I don’t like people staring at me doesn’t mean I’m insecure. I’ve come a long way in my self esteem/awareness journey (after many years of therapy and self-introspection) and I’ll be damned if I let anyone make me feel bad about it.

We’re all just out here doing our fucking best. Everyone has their own pile of shit that they have to carry around with them, and if they’re lucky, they drop off bits and pieces as they go and they get lighter. I carried a lot of weight around for YEARS, and I finally got to a place where I could say “this bag of shit is rather small now, I think I’m good with this”. So I threw the metaphorical shitsack over my shoulder and trudged on. That’s just what you have to do sometimes.

You’re never going to be completely free of baggage. Imagine boarding a plane with NO carryon. Not even a purse or pockets. Not even one of those dumb shit things that holds earbuds. Feels fuckin weird right? It’s OK to have baggage. It’s OK to try and unpack your shit as you go, and you CAN do it alone. Lord knows I did, and I still do. If you’re lucky enough to do it with someone else who gets you and helps you, then great. But you gotta work on you, and sometimes that takes a little time. Be patient with yourself, and if anyone is pushing you too hard? Tell them to fuck right off.

Wheels up, bitches.  

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