"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
^ Watercolor paper cut into 4-inch by 6-inch squares and painted with acrylics.
I went with an uncharacteristic pastel palette but what can I say, it just felt right.
^ Letters cut freehand from white cardstock in my trademark font. What can I say, the shape of these letters lives in a special corner of my brain, directly connected to the neurons that fire up my scissors reflex. And I use a paper punch to snip out those tiny inner circles.
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^ I made and gave away these framed bits of inspiration to a couple dozen of my nearest and dearest this past year. Word art is not normally my thing, but how else to convey - simply, directly - the best advice that exists in the universe?
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Screw society, the media, schools, workplaces, well-meaning friends and neighbors, even our beloved parents, if they try to shape us into who they want us to be, rather than letting us find our own way in the world.
I well remember the resistance I've faced, my metaphorical hands over my ears to block out the voices that have tried to tell me what to do with my life, and the hard feelings I've stirred up by doing things my own way.
Choosing to go to college.
Choosing where to go to college.
Moving to Seattle...and not eventually moving back to the Midwest.
Homeschooling my kids.
Welcoming my kids back home after college.
These are the mere tip of the individualist's iceberg that I've floated out into the ocean of my life, and I've had to deal with plenty of push back in my quest to be me.
But guess how many of these be me decisions I regret?
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But this whole thing of being me does not just apply to major life decisions. I've learned that trusting my gut happens on the daily.
I listen to that voice that whispers inside my head,
I feel the sense of rightness that brings calm to my body,
I notice how certain ideas float back to me again and again, lighting up in front of my eyes like sunshine hitting a disco ball.
Those are the moments that tell me I'm on the right track to doing what's right for me.
And the more I pay attention to those moments,
the more I recognize them when they happen,
the more opportunities I find to make the choice to be me,
the more I am rewarded by a sense of rightness when I do.
Being true to myself creates a self-perpetuating cycle, a repetitive reward system that encourages me to keep being me, and teaches me how to get better at being me over the years.
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Somehow I stumbled onto this simple truth, that being me is the answer to every single question life can possibly throw at me, and frankly, I love how it's all worked out.
And I plan to keep on heeding this advice for the rest of my life.
So, even though you have probably worked this all out for yourself too, let me encourage you:.
Be true to the amazing, one-of-a-kind treasure that you are.
Be who you see yourself to be, and don't listen to anyone who tries to tell you differently.
You are perfectly made to be you.
And the world needs you to be exactly as you are.
So please, by all means, be you.
And I will try my best to be me.