Learning As I Go - On Self-Acceptance


The 'Learning As I Go' series invites you to take a peek behind the curtain. Each month, I'll be posting thoughts on life, crafting, pursuing passions, and the messes I make along the way. I hope you'll join me on this journey of mine.

For the first post in this series, I wanted to talk about something I find difficult to talk about. Silly as that may sound, my hope is that in sharing this, however inarticulately, it might help others on their journey with self-acceptance, wherever they may be .

Now, let me tell you, I am far from being all "I love me, I love myself, I don't need anybody else" (sorry for the ridiculous reference there), but I'm getting better at accepting the parts of myself I used to feel really ashamed of. 

I think it started in high school, my being cognisant of my difference, that is. I didn't really feel like going out, partying, drinking. And at first I think it stemmed from this weird place of judgement. I think I liked feeling "above" people for not partaking in activities I saw as bad or unhealthy. And this stemmed from my school environment - 200 of the same students, more or less, for 12 years. I couldn't break out of this "goodie-two-shoes-stick-up-her-ass" image people had in their heads. So that's what I was - a goodie-goodie. But I wasn't feeling myself that whole time.

Fast-forward to university, and things were feeling a bit better. I found like-minded friends, strong, athletic, tender women who raised each other up. But still, there was this nagging feeling. Every Friday and Saturday night, my co-op would boom with loud music, friends and acquaintances would run down the hallways, screaming til the wee hours of the morning. And sure, there were times that I was that person. My face painted, high heels on, I was running up and down the halls, dancing til my feet felt like they were going to fall off. 

But something about that never felt right. I would often drag myself to parties, only to leave 30 minutes later, feeling deflated and honestly just sad. I'd pity myself and reflect on how "boring" I was, how different I felt to everyone else my age. I'd try to shake it off and poke fun at myself, saying I was an 80-year-old in a 21-year-old's body - but I'd mostly say that just to make the joke before someone else could. 

There was one night that I had a moment of peace with it all. I was walking down "frat row" - the street that had all of the sororities and fraternities (aka party central) - as it was the fastest route from my co-op to my partner's house. I looked around at all the people, drunk and stumbling, giggling and singing. I'd just finished performing at an African Dance concert, and I was feeling alive. And in that space of contentment, I thought maybe I'm more like everyone else than I had believed. Maybe we're just all looking for ways to have fun, ways to be happy. And for me, that's dancing in an ensemble, knitting alone on my couch, singing in my shower. And for others, that's dancing the night away, imbibing, living wildly. And we're both right. Neither of us is doing things wrong, we're all just trying things on to see what fits us. 

Maybe we're all just learning as we go.