Dull Your Sparkle

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.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I have often lived my life thinking, when we get ahead on the bills. Or when things calm down. Or even when I have time. So I put a lot of things off. I planned them only to see them collapse when life happened. It has meant a lot of missed opportunities for life experiences. It has meant a lot of times when I wanted to do things and didn’t. It’s not exactly regret. I try not to live regretting things. But it does mean I have missed a lot of chances to do things I really wanted to do.

Some of it is responsibility. I had my first child when I was 20. As a single parent I had to work, had to support us, and didn’t have the freedom to take big risks or blow some things off. And now, I have 3 kids, two of them grown and one still at home. So I still have other lives depending on me, so it’s not quite possible to throw chance to the wind and do as I want. No living in a camper traveling the world…yet.

But I have also learned that if I keep putting things off and waiting for the right time, the right chance, the right whatever – I’ll end up dying with all of these should haves and could haves. The will have dangled just on the horizon of my vision with me sighing and wishing I could go there, do that, have that. So maybe the time is now, maybe I should do it now, go there now, get it now.

What I want to see and do has also changed. I have found that over time, I have wanted less “things” and wanted more experiences. I have come to treasure time more than items. I want more experiences to do more things than I want to own more stuff. But time is the one thing I can’t replace. I can’t go to the store and buy a few more years. I can’t set back my watch and get back some time I wasted. So maybe it’s time to slide down off the rainbow and start doing some of these things rather than waiting for the right time to do them. Because once my time is gone, there is no getting it back.

You Should Be….

Every day we are bombarded with being told how we should feel, what we should think, what we should do, how we should vote. The media – from the news, to the radio, to the social media, to our friends, to our family. You should be afraid, you should be ashamed, you should vote for (Blank). There are constantly people trying to tell you how you should think, feel, and act. They are great at telling you what products you should buy, how you should spend your money, save your money.

Wow, with all these people coming at us constantly, it can get hard to decide what to do, how to think, and how to feel. We can easily be influenced, even when we don’t realize it. We can pick up on how others are feeling and feel the same way. Fear and anger can be spread like a wildfire. The media amps up a story, whipping people into a frenzy, making them angry and afraid for whatever and then moves on to the next story. Social media posts will make you laugh, cry, join, share, like.

But often times the one thing they don’t want you to do is think. Think for yourself, decide for yourself, be informed. Because if you do stop and think, do your research, find out the truth – you will realize that much of it is BS. That what they are saying isn’t true. That the information they are passing on to you is not the whole story or is complete lies. It’s being said to manipulate you, to influence you, to get you to do whatever it is they want you to do. That happens on a daily basis over and over.

But how do you stop from being influenced and manipulated? Well, you can’t stop it completely. We are social creatures. We listen to those around us and the media around us and we are emotional beings. But, there are things you can do. You can stop when you find yourself getting angry or afraid and think about it. Why are you feeling that way? Is there really a reason. Do some research. Is the president really a terrorist who wants to take prayer out of school? Probably not. Is there really a reason to stop eating a certain food or you will die? Probably not. Is the latest bacteria going to wipe out mankind in some type of pandemic? Probably not.

All of these things play on one big fear. Our own fear of our mortality. The fear that we are going to die. Big news flash. We are all going to die. Someday. No one here is immortal. So, when our time comes, we are each going to pass on. Whether you believe in heaven, hell, the after world, Valhalla, or reincarnation – we will all leave this realm for something else. We might get hit by a bus. We might be killed by an illness, or time, or choking on a piece of candy. But when our time is up, our time is up. We can’t know when that will be. But the fear is, we don’t want to go. We aren’t ready to go. It’s like the kid watching tv or playing a video game – Just 5 more minutes Mom!

But spending the time you have on this planet being afraid just takes away from the quality of that time. There are things you should be afraid of, things that do have an impact on your life. You shouldn’t eat unhealthy, you should do some form of exercise,  you should take care of yourself when you are sick. You should make each day count. But what you shouldn’t do is spend the whole time letting anyone else dictate to you how you should live your life or feel.