Own Skin

It is a funny thing that sometimes we have to relearn to grow comfortable in our own skin. Or, maybe it isn’t that we ever grew uncomfortable in our own skin. Maybe we’ve always loved and known being in our own skin, but we’ve been so fearful of people not seeing us for us. It’s more so that, somewhere along the way in adolescence we worried if people would like us if we were fully ourselves. So, we took on layers of discomfort within our skin as we tried to fit into identities, spaces, and faces that were never our own to begin with. 

As a child, you just are. You dress up when you want to dress up. You get dirty in the creek without a second thought when you desire to do so. You write in a journal without wondering if it is worth it or if your words are meaningful. You play football with the boys because you can and you enjoy it. You take a picture of yourself because you’re fascinated by a camera and by the idea that we can only see ourselves in reflections and images. You make a friend because you said hello and are curious and want to play. You have a crush and you tell them on the playground because why not. You speak honest words without hesitation. You dream. Oh, you dream! 

I never stopped dreaming. But I did grow afraid of it at times. I never stopped knowing what it means to be in my own skin, but I did hide my fullest self at times. I never stopped being curious. A playful and inquisitive spirit has always lived wildly inside of me. Yet, I have withheld my questions and curiosities out of fear of _________. Fill in the blank. A lot fits in that space. 

I’m not sure we can ever fully overcome our fears. And I think I’m okay with that. Fear teaches me and invites me into bravery. Sometimes it protects me. And sometimes it pushes me to push back at it. So, I’m going to keep pushing at it. I’m going to dream when the world tells me to let go of those dreams. I’m going to dance, even when people may just  see the serious side of me. I’m going to speak, even when there is a risk of rejection and deflection involved. I’m going to question, even when the side of me that wants to be “good” and keep peace screams at me to remain quiet. I’m going to create, even when I don’t know a lick about drawing. And, I’m going to walk in curiosity, even when I feel far from the child inside of me. 

I want to fight to be authentically in my own skin. Unashamed. Honestly in process. Free to be. Free to create. Free to dream. Not trying to arrive. Not trying to perfect. But trying to see the beauty in the mess. As cliche as it is, that’s how I want to live.

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