The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect
and beginning the work of becoming yourself.
~ Anna Quindlen
I don’t remember wanting to be a princess. It was fun to play with my friend’s dollhouse or Barbie dolls, but I was actually more at home shooting hoops, riding bikes or solving mysteries with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.
See, I really wanted to be a tomboy. In my young mind, I was more Jo than Blair, and I was just a short lesson away from fixing cars, hitting home runs and building a clubhouse. (That clubhouse would have had teal walls, though, because even I wasn’t delusional enough to forget my true self loved the very girly color of teal.)
But in reality I was neither the tough girl nor the princess. I was the people pleaser with manners, the nerd with her nose in a book, the try-hard, sometimes-awkward, please-like-me girl who talked too much. As it turns out, I guess I was closer to a cross between Natalie and Tootie when it comes to Which Facts of Life Girl Are You?
I still talk too much – and that’s okay. My house will never sparkle, and I’m cool with that. I really love fluffy YA books and detective shows on TV, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m a list-maker who still tries a bit too hard to make people happy, but I’m also sarcastic and a little selfish. I like cats but not dogs, I will choose Mexican food every day if given the choice, and losing weight is a never-ending battle I can’t seem to win.
I know who I am.
Yet, sometimes . . .
I wish I were the kind of girl who looks cute in prairie skirts and cowboy boots.
Or the kind of girl who can shoot free throws just as well as the guys.
I wish I were cool enough to play poker or drink something non-fruity.
I wish I were a big blogger with tons of traffic and a no-work-required book deal.
I wish I were the kind of mom who plans frequent trips to the park and craft projects for my daughter – and enjoys them.
I wish I cared enough about my house to have seasonal decorations. Or a garden. Or corners without cobwebs. (Although maybe those cobwebs could be considered seasonal just this month?)
If I let myself I could wish I were any kind of girl but the kind I am. And that would be a shame. Because, even though I always thought I’d be the life of the party (the fabulous party I planned, of course), the mom with the best snacks, the friend who always answers her phone and sends cards for no reason – or every reason, the executive making a name for herself in the corner office – I’m not.
Somebody else is being that woman, and I’m busy being me. And figuring out, over and over, who that “me” really is – and learning to like her, despite the ways she’s different than all those other, imaginary women I thought I’d be someday.
Earlier this week I noticed my cat was running around the living room, chasing something. I assumed she had a toy or a sock or who knows what, but I never expected to see A MOUSE dangling from her mouth. A mouse. In my house. IN MY HOUSE!
If you’d asked me last week what kind of person I am when faced with adversity, I’m sure I would have assured you that I’m tough. I might never have achieved anything close to the definition of tomboy, but I’m no wimp. I can handle things. I’m NOT a baby – and I most certainly am NOT the kind of woman who would scream at the sight of a tiny mouse and consider climbing onto a chair with broom in hand until her husband got home.
Nope, not me.
Except . . . you guessed it . . . that’s exactly who I was when I spotted that dark brown rodent wriggling in my cat’s mouth. WRIGGLING!
And you know what? I just had to own it. I am woman, hear me roar – but when it comes to a mouse in my house? I am woman, COME GET RID OF THAT MOUSE RIGHT NOW!
Do I still wish I could be that kind of girl, whatever “that kind of girl” means today? Sure. Sometimes. But little by little I’m beginning to believe that the kind of person I truly want to be is the kind of person God made me. And that girl? Does not garden or crochet or wear heels to the grocery store (and she’s afraid of mice and spiders and slugs) – and that’s okay.
Do you ever wish you were a different kind of person?
What kind of person ARE you?
Believing I would someday turn into “that kind of girl” is one more fairy tale I’m giving up. I hope you’ll join me this month for Giving Up on Fairy Tales, a 31 Days series. And make sure you don’t miss a post by subscribing to this blog. When you do, you’ll receive an ebook called Finding a Happier Ever After for FREE!