Today is International Day of The Girl and that is really exciting.
As a girl growing up, I had all these ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a vet, a doctor, a school teacher, a mom, a singer, a writer, a psychologist, a game ranger. I wanted to be married by age 21 and I wanted to have 2 kids by the time I was 24. I wanted a fairy tale life, with a fairy tale wedding and a happily ever after. I wanted a romance like a love song where the guy whisks me off to some romantic place and we live our life of magic. I wanted to make lots of money. I wanted to live happily and freely, in a forest preferably. Or somewhere in the bush-veld.
I was incredibly sporty. I danced, swam, did athletics, gymnastics, hockey, netball, I even did boxing. I had a six pack and muscles like the boys and an ass like the girls. I wore my hair long and I wore my hair short. I wore dresses or shorts, sneakers or sandals, anything I was comfy in. And I had a gap between my teeth for a good 4 years.
I wore braces to correct those bad teeth and I wore a cast to repair a shattered arm. I rode on motorcycles, and in airplanes. Went on boats, kayaks, catamarans and jet skis. I’ve done zip-lining through the forest canopies. I traveled to more places locally than most people see in their lifetime. I’ve been to cities whose names I cannot pronounce and met people I couldn’t fathom existed. I was a happy child. I was enriched and content with the life I had. But I had a wild imagination and dreamt of wonderful things and a wonderful future well beyond what I had.
I liked boys and they like me back. I had my heart broken, and healed, and broken again. I have friends I made at 3, who are still friends today 24 years later.
When I think back at when I was a girl, before womanhood came, I think about a simpler life. I think about school holidays and sleepovers and staying up all night just because Mom said we can’t.
I think about the joys of something small, like takeaways on a school night would bring. I think about nights at the movies with friends, and how a box of Smarties was the biggest treat. Especially if that meant we got popcorn too.
Growing up, my family wasn’t incredibly well off, but we survived. My parents provided, and I understood that things weren’t always easy. And because of this, I pushed myself harder. I achieved more. I became remarkable. But then you grow up and you realize that everyone is remarkable and that remarkable is really mediocre. Everyone has something special about them, everyone is unique, everyone has a story to tell… It’s just about who’s willing to listen.
When I think about my life as a girl and compare it to my life as a 27-year-old woman, those two people aren’t that alike at all. The dreams I once had, the life I had envisioned, is not at all my reality. I expected white ponies and knights and instead I got disappointment, hard work and a life full of effort. I miss the days where I could just sit around and do nothing. Not worried about anything, or anyone. The days where life was simple… or simply taken for granted.
I recently started reading a book by Danielle LaPorte called The Fire Starter Sessions and it has already stirred so much on me.
Last night I read a foreign word to me, that word was ease.
- The condition of being comfortable or relieved.
To be easy and without effort.
What a foreign word to me! The word itself makes me uneasy. It makes me want to run away it makes me question everything! I am at a point in my life where there are so many changes happening all at once that ease is an afterthought. I have become an afterthought in my own life. If my 5-year-old self, or my 10-year-old, or 15-year-old self could see me today they would laugh at me and say: “Why are you so stressed out lady?”.
The girls of my past would say, “How can you not know who you are?”. Who I am right now is not who I used to be, I am not who I want to be. I just am. I became an observer of my own life. Not taking notice, or accountability or action.
But I have started a journey down the rabbit hole if you so put it. And I am terrified, I am scared, I am unsure. But I am excited!
I am for the first time learning how to really stand firmly on my own two feet. In a world that tells me what to do, I am trying for the first time in my life to live my life by my rules. To not worry about other people, other people’s wishes, other people’s goals, other people’s ideas of who I should be, or what I should become.
On this journey, I am learning that it is perfectly ok to be me, to be honest, to be truthful, and to show the world who I want to be. Without a mask. Without holding back. And without shying away from who I really am.
I am finally taking accountability and stepping up to taking ownership of my own life.
And as I go on this journey I am sure a lot of things will come up for me. A lot of dreams will be crushed. A lot of past stories will be looked at differently. I’m sure my perceptions of things will change. My goals may change. My morals may be questioned.
My story, the one I’m writing now, will be one to look at and say; these are the lessons I learned, the things that happened to me happened, for this reason, these were the truths and the worth of it all.
I want my 50-year-old self to look back at my 27-year-old self and say wow that chick did the best thing for us she could ever do.