I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately in an effort to become a better me. Part of this journey is learning to find my voice, versus the voice people expect of me. I am also learning to listen to other voices that actually have something to say and can send me on my journey armed with confidence. This post from one of those voices….
Channeling Childhood – Who do YOU want to be?
guest post by @mizChartreuse
Adults can be a messed-up bunch; you only have to look at young children to see the contrast.
Many adults used to be self-aware, creative kiddies who believed they could do/be anything “when they grew up.” More than half of these free-spirited kids grow up to be stressed, problem-riddled adults with bills due and life paths in limbo. It’s gross and sad and chock full of excuses and reasons. Where did we go wrong?
“Life just got away from me,” they’ll say. Or, “I had children and MY life ended.” Or, “I just wasn’t cut out for school back then; it’d be ridiculous for me to go back now.”
Certainly, there are many adults leading fulfilling lives—from stay-at-home-parents, to Oprah Winfrey—with millions of options in between. (Not that one is better than the other—even though Oprah is better than all of us…) But doesn’t it seem that for every happy adult, there are just as many unsatisfied ones?
Kids aspire to be astronauts and acrobats and animal doctors and ballerinas, and nothing in their world tells them that they can’t do it. Their options are limitless—and not even limited to just one!
My first love was reading and I as a child I would write and illustrate countless storybooks, using scratch paper and my colored pencils. When we got a typewriter, I’d write stories on that, filling the machine with lined notebook paper. When we got an IBM with perforated-edged printer paper, I’d write novels. Yes, I’ve written NOVELS. Hundred-something page epic adventures. And I was doing it all for myself, because I loved it and was “going to be an author like Beverly Cleary” when I grew up. I’m, uh, still working on that breakout book, but just you wait.
I’ve gone through a ton of changes in the last year (which everyone has, undoubtedly), but something’s clicked within me, specifically soon after 2011 began. I’ve found my voice, have eradicated past guilt, and have found catharsis for my childhood baggage. I feel more empowered than ever—I know what I’m here for, and I do my best to help people empower themselves every single day, in as many interactions possible.
“Going natural” has been another source of power for me since January 2010. By embracing my kinky-curly African hair, I’m not trying to hide myself or blend in with anyone else. I am who I AM; I feel authentic. Two years ago, the story would not have been the same.
Exercise, too, can help instill mindsets that trickle into other areas of your life. Working out regularly has strengthened my ability to harness that “mind over body” power. It’s still hard to drive to the YMCA and get “the burn,” but being able to control my self-doubts and tell my whining, wanting-to-die body, “SUCK IT UP, you can do it!” proves to me that I can overcome anything, no matter how painful.
The back says: “This is gonna hurt!” I made this shirt to wear to the gym just as a reminder to me and my classmates; I will be making more with other motivational Char-isms.
I’d guess that somewhere around junior high (when kids start getting especially nasty) is when we begin the slow process of completely shattering into our fragmented adult selves. Some kids maintain their self-confidence and thrive straight through into successful careers, but it isn’t always easy when life throws so much at us, especially throughout high school and even college.
During one of my usual three-hour excursions to Michael’s craft store last week, I took a picture of an especially cute children’s poster, with “It’s OKAY!” up top and “To Be Different!” at the bottom:
“What the hell happened?” I wondered, as I thought about the state of a world that is run by a bunch of other shattered adult human beings.
Adults are the ones who hate others for being different colors (and when kids grow up with prejudices, it’s because of what they are taught at home by their adults). Older folk ostracize the dirty hobos we encounter in the city—homeless people who know they’re crazy and love themselves anyway.
A mother putting relaxing her 4-year-old daughter’s hair indirectly teaches the child that her hair isn’t okay and needs to be tamed into submission. If someone is proud of themselves (and seemingly might have narcissistic personality disorder [like Oprah]), we call them egomaniacs and think they should be more humble and less elitist.
What happened to “It’s OKAY to be different! Dance by yourself! Treat yourself to something good! Be PROUD of yourself!” But we adults are made to feel guilty about buying new shoes or sharing our accomplishments—when we deserve to reap the fruits of our labor? That’s messed up.
Everything is about balance. You can’t just have a dance party in your kitchen all day every day and expect to change the world. The television show Hoarders demonstrates how buying things doesn’t bring happiness and can kill you.
But if we go back to the innocence of childhood, before we were corrupted by the shattered adult world full of responsibilities and obligations, we can gain more clarity about who we are and what we should spend time doing in order to fulfill our inner desires.
No circumstance or situation can keep you from doing what you want to do. Half the time, we psych ourselves out, when there’s nothing to be afraid of, other than hard work and ultimately, success. And like the title of my website, we all can define our own versions of success. The only thing standing in the way of what you want is you!
With 7 billion people on the planet, of course we’re all going to be different—and that’s a beautiful thing. When we channel our inner children (who did what we wanted at all costs) and become self-aware of our inherent ability to create our own existences, nothing can stop us. So, what are you going to do?
mizChartreuse (sometimes known as Charlotte Mutesha) is free-spirited, free-thinking artist who lives in the cute neighborhood of Bridgeport in Chicago. Whether writing, modeling, working out, painting, dancing, or watching bad TV, she enjoys her life every day and is a proponent of self-empowerment. Char owns a business called Charlotte’s Web of Writing, a blog named mizChartreuse: redefiningSuccess, and a comedic podcast entitled Consumption Junction, co-hosted with her manfriend, bokeen. She can be found on Twitter or her Blog or her Writing business.