Have you ever noticed when you meet new people, start a new job, or go into a new situation, you try to tone down your personality? I know I do. I am often quiet, dress “normal” and try to be as bland vanilla as I can. It is only after I know people for awhile that my sparkle starts to break through and people get to see the “real me” – sparkle and all.
I’m normally a very talkative, sarcastic, and opinionated person. I am not one to bite my tongue or agree for the sake of agreeing. I do like to keep peace or find middle ground. But I am not willing to go against my own grain just to fit in. Which isn’t always been. I desperately wanted to fit in when I was little, and especially in middle school. I watch my youngest son struggle in 6th grade to find his niche. To find a way to fit in and yet still be himself. And it’s a little sad for me. He is a wonderful kid. He loves to make bad jokes, talk Minecraft, and laugh. He is fascinated by tons of subjects and loves to talk. He talks over his age because he has an awesome vocabulary. Which to me is a good thing. But apparently it is not so good to kids his age. So I hear him try to use the slang he hears the other kids use. Not always successfully. But it is amusing in a sad way.
I think it was about 5 years ago when I stopped really caring what other people thought of me. But I’m also getting up there in years. I dyed my hair blue, let my sparkle shine, and stopped worrying who knew I was a Pagan. I started talking about my beliefs, my opinions, and my life. I stopped worrying so much about what people would think or say about me. Because “those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter”. My youngest son told me one day “Mom, I’m so glad you are so brave.” I asked him what made me so brave, as I was simply sitting at the table doing bills. Now I realize that trying to manage our bills with our income is akin to slaying dragons, I didn’t consider it brave. So he told me “You must be brave to go out each day with blue hair and not care what people say”. Hmm, I guess to him it was a pretty amazing thing. I personally just considered it part of being me.
The saddest part to me is that I had to wait until i was almost 50 to sparkle. I know not everyone worries about fitting in. I also know that there are many who sparkle all the time. But for many of us it is a struggle to balance letting their light shine and not blinding those around us. At least not before they know us. We are not an accepting society. We as a whole are judgmental and critical of others. Especially as children. Elementary and Middle school can be cruel and harsh times for kids. Not that high school is a cake walk. How do we teach our kids to accept others and let their own light shine? I guess it starts with adults who are comfortable enough to let their own personality sparkle.