Scrolling through my Instagram this morning, I started feeling sick. I don't like any of this stuff. My feed is full of hiking pictures, pictures of mountains and coffee and books and healthy foods and workout routines. As I was clicking on the different tabs on my blog even, I was annoyed. I don't want to write about fitness and food. I think I just feel like I have to in order to make this whole thing successful. I like hiking. I like camping. I live in Colorado and I am dating a mountain man so those photos are really accessible. But is it really ME? Are these things that I am saying are me, really representing what I care about when I am alone and being 100% myself.
For some reason, Pinterest has also felt safe for self expression to me. I scrolled through my pins and felt like I could take a deep breathe. THIS was me. Red lipstick, gold jewelry, florals, traveling, magazines and newspapers.
I feel this itch to reinvent myself. I feel this volcano of need rising up in my to delete everything on Instagram, everything on my blog, throw away all the clothes in my closet and start over. This has happened to me plenty of times before and is usually a warning sign that I haven't been myself lately but someone else's version of me. The one I thought they wanted me to be. The version I thought would be easiest for them to love.
I love nature.
I love adventuring.
I love hiking boots and that I am from Colorado.
But, I don't think I came to love it on my own. I think I came to love nature people. I think I fell in love with an adventurer. I think the people I love wear hiking boots more often than not and most of them live in Colorado. (If you know anything about the enneagram, you know I am a type two at this point).
My favorite movie is Eat, Pray, Love. I know, how millennial cliché of me. But, I have never identified so much with a movie character (who is actually a real person, as this is a memoir film). Elizabeth Gilbert rights in her book (that later became the movie),
"But I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog’s money, my dog’s time—everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else. I do not relay these facts about myself with pride, but this is how it’s always been."
I don't want it to be like this. I try really hard to not be like this. But this time, it seemed to happen without me even realizing it until I was scrolling through my own Instagram feed this morning gagging at all the green and lack of city pictures.
I have always struggled with the different people that were trying to cohabitate within my body.
There's the fashion forward, bad-ass, smart and independent girl that wants to have her hair done and make up beat everyday as she leaves the house. She spends her money on clothes, cocktails on the weekends and overpriced pilates classes. She has her life together, wears heels more often than not, keeps up with the Bachelorette and has made her cell phone an extension of her right arm. She's unafraid. She kicks ass at her job. She has a plan for this blog. She likes hip-hop and gets regular waxes.
Then there's the home-grown Americana girl that has spent the past 16 years of her life barefooted in the front range of the Rocky Mountains. She cares deeply about the health of her body and environment. She spends her money on health books, expensive foods from Whole Foods, signs up to run half-marathons, eats kale, dreams about living out of a van and traveling the country one day, doesn't mind dogs, reads on the porch in the morning and meditates on scripture during her morning yoga. She listens to acoustic mountain music most of the time and prefers driving with the windows down. She is the version she thinks her boyfriend loves the most.
Then there is the vagabond, dreamy eyed, space cadet, boho girl who lives in her hammock on the front porch of my heart. She doesn't get too comfortable anywhere she is because she wants to be ready to leave at any moment. She is escaping in her mind on the reg and is constantly checking Frontier's online deals to escape in real life. She regrets not going overseas after college. She's afraid she will never be brace enough to cross the ocean to live among a new people, eat new foods, learn a new language and embrace new cultures. She struggles with the idea of living on this planet for a lifetime without doing so. She is brave, giddy, loves ethnic cuisine and rich wines. She prefers wearing white linens, scrappy sandals, ethically made jewelry and wants to spend her money on books, wines and cheeses. She wants to go to the French bakery for her birthday.
The feminist lives inside of me. Spending her mornings listening to news podcasts, reading news articles and learning about political policy and upcoming influencers. She reads Darling magazine, listenings to Solange and wishes she has black afro hair. She believes in grass roots movements and the idea of a diversity of people joining together for a common movement of good. She is a little softer than you would expect. She still shaves her body hair. She likes wearing a bra. But she binge watches shows set in Washington DC, understands many different views and gets caught up on "truth" sometimes. She prefers RnB, 95% of the time.
All of these women live in me. And I feel like I have spent my entire life trying to figure out which one is the most lovable.
When I test one girl out, I take my entire heart with me. I change what I wear, what I look at on Instagram, the shows I watch, the music I listen to, the restaurants I suggest, the ways I spend my time, the books I read-everything. I'm learning how damaging it is to the other parts of me that I neglect while trying to wholeheartedly be this one other "kind" of girl. When I am triggered to think that the nature girl version of me is the most lovable, I deny any existence of the career girl living in me. When I come to the belief that the career girl version of me is going to be the most lovable and successful, I deny any evidence that I deeply want to uproot myself and travel the world. It leaves the rest of me aching.
I feel too expansive and broad to be labeled, which is really scary. How can someone love what they can't name? What am I? Am I a city girl? Girly-girl? Basic white girl? Sporty girl? Nature girl? Health nut? World Travel? Blogger?
How can you know if you love me until you know what box to put me in?
How can I love me until I know what box to put me in?
How do I allow all these straight lines and stereotypes melt into the diverse center of me creating a full and complete version of myself?
I feel scared that if I can't figure this out, no one else will be able to either. The voices in my head tells me that people need to be able to figure me out in order to love me. They need to know if we are the same. They need to know what they are signing up for. They need to know if our dreams align, if they like my style, if we are headed the same direction. But I'm sorry. I don't have an answer for you. Or actually- the answer is ever evolving.
Here I am again- smack dab in the middle. This is where I am. Learning where I want to go, what dreams are worth fighting for for me, what I want to wear and what I am truly passionate about.
I am not a half formed person. I am fully here, taking my entire self along the transformative journey of discovering the clay I was made from. I am bringing my whole heart and soul along the journey of being formed into Christ image. And, I am reminding myself today that I am lacking nothing ALONG this journey. The Lord sees me past, present and future and loves me fully NOW. This is the motivation to keep going. Keep trying. Scratch the Instagram and start another one. Change your style. Repent and start again. Try new things. Go new places. Stay where you are if you haven't tried that. Be rooted in the truth and in Godly community. Ask your questions. Say you're sorry. You're just in your twenties and you're trying.