I’ve realized that every once in a while I have to fall back in love with myself. There are times when I’m completely convinced that I’m the best I can be (I’m fabulous!), but there are darker moments when I struggle to accept myself fully. Doubt creeps in and it’s hard to push it back out!
Luckily I have some seriously amazing friends and family to help me out of my funk when I need assistance. I also know that it’s something very personal that, in the end, I have to work out all on my own. Some of the things I have been doing include rewarding myself for my daily achievements, remembering that “perfect” is a state of mind and not an actual tangible thing, performing fun feel-good rituals, and most of all, reminding myself that all my idiosyncrasies are not negative things; they make me unique. I live in a city where one of the most popular mottos is “Keep Portland Weird.” I don’t think it is a coincidence that I ended up here. I’ve always been somewhat eccentric, a little kooky, and I definitely have habits that others consider strange. Generally I don’t even notice them until someone points them out. Most of the time it is my coworkers, who admittedly see me every day for at least eight hours, and know my diehard habits like clockwork. They actually have a whole skit where they “do” Becky, each of them taking one thing that I do and mocking it. It’s hilarious. It should go on Broadway, I’m not kidding. You know you’ve gotten WAY too comfortable at a job when your coworkers can present all your habits and reactions in a performance art format.
Do you remember in middle school that all you wanted to be was exactly like everyone else? When I chosen for Talented and Gifted (and therefore had to go to special classes at the middle school when I was only a fifth grader), I just wanted to sink into the carpet and never show my face at elementary school again. If I was praised for reading the most pages for the month, I just wanted my teacher to shut her trap about it. I wanted to be like everyone else; I wanted to wear what everyone was wearing; I certainly didn’t want anyone to know that I got free lunch because I was raised by a single parent and my mother couldn’t afford to pay full price for both of us girls. Oh the irony that being less than middle class is now The American Way! It is a sad state of affairs, but I think in some ways it bonds people, and helps them build character in these tough economic times. Do-It-Yourself has certainly risen to another level in the United States.
Things changed after middle school. In college we had a bunch of extracurricular groups. There were the sororities and fraternities, the sports teams, the smart kid groups, drama clubs, even secret societies. The greatest part about it was that there was something for everyone. Yes, they were labeling themselves by joining, but there wasn’t one group that was more important or more popular than the others. People could even overlap groups! I found the groups that were perfect for me, and am so grateful for it.
Since the horrifying days of middle school, I have truly embraced my weirdness, and I love that no one can ever put just one label on me. Have you ever heard of another Bellydancing Quaker Granola-Head Writer-Hiker-Runner-Twin? I don’t think so. By the way, that label doesn’t even cover half of who I am.
So today I am taking the Idiosyncratic Oath (created July 8, 2011):
“I affirm (that’s Quaker-speak for ‘I swear’) by my teddy bear Chocolate Chip, and I take to witness all the Gods, all the Goddesses, the Spirit, and the Soul, to keep, according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement: In pure holiness I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts. I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my friends/family/therapist when the skills of another are needed for my sanity. If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my unique self and may I long experience the joy of accepting others’ eccentricities.”
Feel free to declare this oath to yourself, if you feel so led. Celebrate your weirdness! But please don’t swear on my teddy bear. He is only for my own personal use.