life

Confessions of a girl who should be working on her final assignment

I'd love pink hair, maybe one day I'll be brave enough ;-)
I’d love pink hair, maybe one day I’ll be brave enough 😉

Naturally, I am the queen of procrastination. If I weren’t, I’d be working on my final assignment, which I just today realized is due on the 10th and not the 17th, not dwelling on the random thoughts that have been assaulting me of late. I think, though, perhaps they are all converging for a reason.

This year has been the hardest year of study yet. In fact, even outside of study it’s been hard. I’ve been challenged by the world, by my memories, by my assignments, by my writing. To push past barriers, to question who I am and what I stand for, to not stop when it’s difficult, to step past the hurt and damage and hardship and be really, brutally honest with myself.

Not about all things, of course, but many things, and once you start looking at the world like that, everything starts to change. I think as a result I am both more confident, and more anxious. I don’t know when this self-learning stops. I’m not sure it can be switched off, and my baseline fear is that it will change my life in ways I’m not ready for. My mother changed, dramatically, and when she was true to herself she had to leave my father. I just have to trust that my marriage can withstand my changes, that I was enough myself with my husband when we met that we will still work when I am changed*.

It feels like I am becoming. What, I am not sure. But something, something more than I am right now. It’s exciting, and raw, and fraught with a kind of tension that isn’t normal.

It’s slowly dawning on me that I set high standards for myself. I’ve been convinced my whole life that I half-ass everything. I am going to pin that on my father berating me for being a scruff, for never doing anything properly, never finishing tasks in the way that he deemed acceptable. I’m not up to scratch. I’m a mess. Sure. I’ve been living with this belief for 30+ years now. People have been holding mirrors up lately though, and I’m starting to see myself as they do – hard working, passionate, skilled, dedicated, caring, with a desire to do things well. It’s quite strange to see myself that way for a change. Moments of feeling like a success at anything have been fleeting. I think I like it. I can see myself becoming the things they think of me, or rather, I can see myself begin to believe that maybe those reflections are true. More true than my self-perception.

And that means that actually I get to make some informed decisions about who I am. I get to try things out, experiment with how I show my inner self to the world. This ‘becoming’ is huge for me. I’ve spent so much of my life being the girl everyone else told me I should be – being that proverbial good girl (it’s no wonder that song from Frozen makes me teary) – that it is well and truly time to shake those shackles off. At the end of the day I’m confident I’m still going to be awesome, caring, generous, kind, and hard-working among other things, but I’ll be those things because that’s me, not because I’ve been told I should be that way.

*I’m fairly confident this is the case, I even said as much in my wedding toast – that he’s the first man I could just be me around and feel like that was totally fine. There is something very special about that.

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5 thoughts on “Confessions of a girl who should be working on her final assignment”

  1. I am so grateful you chose to post this, Cassie. Being yourself is hard when you’ve spent so long showing a mask – or a semi-mask, at least – to the world. It’s hugely empowering but also scary. I think the people who really know you have been able to see through that mask, and oftentimes see more of yourself than you do – especially the good stuff. And it’s great to recognise the good stuff in you as well!

    Keep being awesome xx

    1. Thanks Zee 🙂 I really appreciate your comment. I’m starting to see the good stuff, and it’s awesome! I’m looking forward to continuing to become more me as life progresses

  2. Beautiful post, Cassie. 🙂

    I know I said I’d try and keep this short but…oops.

    The first thing that came to mind when I read this was a quote from my favourite author, Jeff Long, which once upon a time used to be on on my blog:

    “These days my office walls are papered with maps, old and new, alien and familiar (the ocean floor, the back of the moon). I study them, less to find some city or island, or to chart the extremes, but to try and figure out whose stories the mapmakers were trying to tell. Every one of us contains worlds in search of a navigator. At one time or another, we all get lost and then go on to find our path. Some use maps, some use words, some their bare hands. In that way, I like to believe, we make ourselves from the wilderness.”

    I don’t think the self-learning ever stops, and I don’t think it’s supposed to. Somehow, we (society) seem to have gotten it into our heads that there are certain ways we have to be – as a woman, an adult, whatever – and I call bullshit on that. We also seem to have this idea that we’ll do this and this and that and then we’ll magically “arrive” at the person we’re going to be one day and stay there forever. But it doesn’t work like that. The person that we are isn’t static. The person that we are is dynamic, always evolving as life unfolds and I, for one, love that.

    I’ve always been overly self-aware, which can be both really good and really difficult. But one thing I have learned, and that I am immeasurably grateful for, is to be completely honest with myself and, like you said, once you start looking at the world like that, there’s no going back. I used to resent my contemplative nature when I was a kid. Now I think it’s one of my greatest gifts. I like that I am constantly looking at the world, and myself, and challenging and questioning and learning and becoming.
    I feel like I am a navigator, not just a passenger. It doesn’t matter if I don’t know where I’m going. As Tom Petty said:

    “I’ve started out, for God knows where, I guess I’ll know, when I get there”.

    I’m cool with that.

    I guess I see life as “making myself”, and I’ve only got one life, and I’m not interested in spending it making myself miserable trying to fit into somebody else’s mould. It’s scary and hard, being true to yourself, but I think it’s harder trying to be someone else. I also think it can be really hard to break out of a particular way of thinking, whether it’s how we’ve been told we have to be, or what we’ve convinced ourselves we are (I have never seen you do anything half-assed!). I also think it’s OK to admit that change is scary, fear is OK, everyone gets lost sometimes, we all have different ways of finding our way, and when we hold up a mirror to ourselves, we are allowed to see good things.

    I know you’re an awesome, caring, generous, kind and amazing person and I know you always will be. That’s not “surface Cassie”. That’s “essence of Cassie”. I’m proud to know you and glad that I am able to come on some small part of your journey with you. 🙂

    1. As I said on twitter, your comment brought tears to my eyes – thank you 🙂

      I feel like self growth and change is undeniable, but I’m so ready to shake off everything that’s not me, and embrace life with both arms. Thank you!

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