I was thinking of writing a blog about being yourself, but as I trawled through Winnie the Pooh quotes ( because where else would you start?) I saw one that made me laugh. Pooh asks, ‘is that you rabbit?’ Rabbit replies, ‘let’s pretend it isn’t and see what happens.’
Thinking about that, there have been many times when I’ve tried to be someone I’m not. When I was wee, my sister dressed me up as a made-up, bangle-covered lady of mystery called ‘Esmerelda’. At twelve I bought beads and a mood ring, trying to look exactly like my friend in school. As a grown-up I make up my eyes and put on blusher to try and hide how tired or sad I get sometimes. I used to love swimming because I could be like everyone else- no wonky legs on show.
Last week my son cycled eleven miles to school because he wanted to show people he was ‘more than a nerd who plays the clarinet’. When my daughter dressed up as Ginny from Harry Potter, her wig turned her into a super-confident wee girl.
The thing is, I love my clarinet-playing nerd and my timid little girl just the way they are. Being more aware of my family’s support, I walk with my head held high. Most times I can’t pretend because the truth of what I’m dealing with every day is out there, impossible to conceal.
What I’m discovering is, when you show the truth of what you’re feeling, other people start to show you theirs. It takes courage but also a knowledge that you are loved ‘just as you are’.
The best thing I’ve read recently was two words in an evaluation of an Alpha course I facilitated. Instead of circling a number on the scale they’d simply written in capital letters
So long Esmerelda, I’m done with you.
You are the best version of you. No-one else can do it. So why don’t you try climbing out of your rabbit hole, flinging off your mask and just revel in the person you really are?
As Piglet says, ‘the things that make me different are the things that make me me.’
What are those things for you?