As I was re-reading my Bright Shiny Things post about trying new things and the shift from scared of failure to “why not?”, I wondered to myself, “how did that happen?” Am I the only one who talks to myself … and answers? I think that is why I got a cat when I was single, so I could talk to myself and not seem completely insane.
The moral of the story was lost on me at that point, when I thought you were who you were and didn’t believe the whole rags to riches story, yet some part of my brain kept mulling it over.
After my divorce, I was adrift. Having spent the previous six years of my life viewing myself as an Officer’s wife left me completely without a sense of self (not that the sense of self was strong before that!). I started out by taking baby steps. I wrote out a list …
[Authors note: I love writing lists! Once I wrote a list of all the lists that I needed to write!]
of all the things the voice in my said that I couldn’t do or didn’t like. I then would take one activity at a time and try it. I did it by myself so it wasn’t a threatening environment: I didn’t care what complete strangers thought of me. I told myself I had to try things more than once, and then I could decide that I didn’t like it, regardless of whether I was good at it or not. You know what, that voice in my head was WRONG for most things! I could do a lot of things, and I rather enjoyed them:
- Traveling alone
- Meeting new people
As I was working diligently through my list(!), I was keeping in contact with a former professor and great friend. He created a new persona for me during all these pursuits: Adventure Girl. My goal became to continuously do “un-Tammy” things”. Still being myself, I planned my spontaneity – yup, on one day month in my calendar I wrote, “be spontaneous.” That morning I would find out what was happening in the city that day and go. When I found myself feeling uncomfortable in a situation (wanting to become a wall flower), I gave myself a job to do: Find out 3 peoples’ names; learn 2 new things; ask the host(ess) if help is needed and do whatever is asked. Once the task was over, I was free to leave. Most of the time, however, completing the task gave me the confidence and comfort level to stay.
When I was at the University of Surrey for grad school, I wrote that professor friend saying that adventure girl had died. I wrote that WHILE I WAS LIVING IN ENGLAND! It had become a part of me and no longer a part I played. I was able to change a part of me in a way that I valued. Fake it ‘til you make it can work!
So what changes have you been able to incorporate into who you are … or … What is your favorite Cary Grant film? (Mine is Operation Petticoat)