Photo by Chelsea Joy Photography
I like crystals, meditation, tarot, oracle cards, chakras, poetry, beauty and witchcraft. I also like Bath & Body Works candles, the color pink, makeup, the 90s, dancing, musicals, France and alcohol. None of those things are mutually exclusive. When we own all parts of ourselves, that’s when we can truly be confident and live our best lives.
For so long, I (and many others) have lived in shame for liking what we like because others may (or do) think it’s weird or stupid or wrong. Aside from hurting or killing people, we should be free to be ourselves, whatever that means to us.
So, to start us off in a vulnerable state, this is me:
— I love to sing while I’m driving, but I never used to do it if the windows were down in case someone would hear the song and think I was stupid for singing along to it.
I don’t know why a window was the differentiator for me since people could still see me singing and perhaps figure out the song, but oh well. For the longest time if I ever had the window down, I would barely sing along, even if I knew every word to song, and I’d turn the volume down just in case someone I was stopped next to at a stoplight would hear it and judge me. And for what?!
Lately I’ve been singing and dancing to my heart’s content while driving, whether my window is down or not. So far no one has yelled at me or laughed at me (to my knowledge), and it’s so freeing. Here’s to freedom!
— I recognize that I’m really good at coming up with ideas and getting momentum going, but I’m really bad at following through.
Reading through some of my old blog posts has been really eye-opening for me. There are several lessons I’ve had to relearn multiple times before they really started to stick. And I used to be embarrassed and ashamed about that. Why? I don’t think everyone learns everything and follows through with it 100% of the time. That’s just not feasible to me.
I used to be embarrassed to admit I was learning or relearning something again (or for the seventh time) because I already talked about it on my blog, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Again, so what?! I’m so done with minimizing myself just because someone else might potentially have a problem with it.
— I’m still battling myself with body image issues.
For a self-proclaimed self-love and body positive blogger, I honestly used to feel really ashamed for admitting my ever-present issues with my body. I’m still learning how to love myself, and that’s okay. Wearing dresses without shorts underneath them was a huge step for me. Wearing certain pieces of clothing in my closet that I loved but thought others might think it was stupid or dumb was a big step for me as well.
I’m learning (again) that it’s okay to express yourself through clothing. I bought the things in my closet for a reason, so why not wear them? Some things I ended up donating or selling, but there are just some items I couldn’t bare to part with even though I didn’t wear them much (hello, hot pink pineapple dress). I’m still not 100% comfortable in my body, but by sharing that with you and others, it helps show that body positivity (or even body neutrality) is a journey, not a destination.
— I have a hard time calling myself a writer, even though it’s my main passion in life.
Whew, that was hard to think in my head and then type out here. I’ve always been a huge reader and writer, but I feel myself still grimacing when I think about calling myself a writer. “I’m just a blogger” or “I’m just saying what other people are saying” are common phrases that pass through my brain. So what?! Writing and communicating are valuable tools. Sure, there are a million writers and bloggers and YouTubers out there. So?
I’m learning again (for the umpteenth time) that just because other people are out there doing something similar to me doesn’t mean that my voice doesn’t have value. I have a lot of things to say, and I’m going to say them. Words are literally my life. I haven’t had (or made) as much time for reading now that I have a full-time job again, but every time I read, I know and recognize how much joy it gives me.
I just love words, so freaking much, and I want to use my voice and my words to help connect other people and help them feel less alone. Right now the best way I can do that is through this blog. I’m getting over my imposter syndrome, my ego and my brain and just going with what my heart and gut say. They know what’s up.
— I’m a homebody, but I still crave connection to other people.
For a while now, but in the past few months in particular, I’ve been slacking on really connecting with other people. I crave deep connections and conversations, but I haven’t put myself out there or really tried to foster that with other people lately. I tell myself I’m a homebody (and I am. Hello, I’m a Cancer through and through), but that doesn’t mean I need to be home all the time.
Sometimes I really need to decompress and just be home with my fiance and dog, but other times, I want to be out exploring at Barnes & Noble or meeting a friend for coffee and/or conversation. It’s okay (and even healthy) to want those things, so this is a permission slip for myself and others out there who are feeling a similar thing.
— I don’t speak up much at work or in my personal life because I often take a long time to process things, so I feel like my voice doesn’t matter.
But it does! So much. So often at jobs I’ve had in the past and even currently, I’m silent at meetings and discussions because I need time to process things before coming to a conclusion. Other people (and in fact, most people I’ve worked with) aren’t wired that way, so people often say to me, “Jessica, what do you think?” Um, I don’t know what I think yet, and that’s okay.
The fact that I don’t speak much at jobs has haunted me for a really long time, but that’s just how my brain operates and it’s hard to change that. I’ve always been better with writing than speaking, but even so, I have a hard time reconciling that fact here. Since I don’t talk or contribute much at jobs or meetings, why would I think I have anything of value to say here? That’s just who and how I am, and that’s okay. For everyone else out there who’s quiet a lot and self-conscious of it, know that you’re not alone. Your voice has value and is so, so important. Please use it.
All of that was really hard to both admit and type here to share with the Internet, but I believe it’s important to share. Vulnerability has always been a core value of mine, and I want (and need) to start exhibiting that again.
Wherever you are with your journey in life, I hope that you always know you can come to me, message me, call me, anything if you need another opinion or just need to vent to someone.
I don’t care if I don’t know you at all or if I’ve known you for years; I crave connecting with other people, and the only way I can do that is by being vulnerable myself.
So here I am. Open, raw and vulnerable for all of you, just to show you that yes, it can be scary in the moment, but it feels better to get things out in the open. Try it. Show the world who you are. I’ll be here no matter what.