Closely staring at the increasing gray hairs and lines on my face, I wonder if the world sees me as I see myself.
Since I have always struggled with other forms of body dysmorphia, it isn't uncommon for me to ask my trusted friends and family to provide me with realistic feedback on things I don't see clearly; the challenge is legitimate and for those who haven't experienced it, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit jealous.
Getting older doesn't frighten me much as there are many things from my youth that no longer plague me - the self-consciousness of my difference for example. At a young age, I clearly emerged as a person who wasn't like the folks who were around me. As cliche as it sounds, I marched to my own beat - being an individual wasn't a quality my peers seemed to value but I couldn't stand to be like everyone else. It wasn't for a lack of trying when I was in middle school, of course.
As a matter of fact, after trying in earnest to fit, I realized that I was just not going to be able to do it. I'm not that good of an actor.
Experience has been a gift in knowing that my "otherness" is what makes me who I am. Seeing the world as I do, there is so much to delight in that I can't spend my days worrying if I meet the expectations of those in my peer group. Instead, I choose to surround myself with people who accept me no matter what and at times get me and when they don't, they have the respect to ask me to tell them more without judgment.
I started writing this post a while ago, coming back to it for weeks now. I'm not sure what my original intent was when I started it, but in these confusing times, I find myself even more engaged with my inner dialogue.
So forgive me for being a little self-indulgent, as this is usually a space I use for learning, but lately, this introspection has me thinking about seasons of life and how things change and/or stay the same. How wisdom grows from seemingly unsightly experiences and how foibles and misgivings become funny recollections when the sting of humiliation pass.
At 42, I'm less worried about being wrong or making mistakes than I ever have been in a lot of senses. My perfectionism isn't debilitating anymore, it has its own compartment that helps with quality control but doesn't ruin my enjoyment of experiences. Every once in awhile it pokes its head into other areas threatening to create panic but I'm able to stamp that out before it forces me under a rock.
I'm not sure what I call this point in my life or what I'm trying to even get at here, but I know these last few weeks, I've struggled to write and I'm just glad to share with everyone that not all writing is good and this is what it could look like when you're stuck.
So I'm calling on friends to share their advice or encouragement as days grow long at home and my focus sometimes feels a long distance away.
Sending everyone positive thoughts and whimsy as I drift back into it for a little while longer.