Many years ago, Eminem had a song that asked, “Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?” (Copyright attributed to him and his songwriting team.) As I have gone through this growth process lately, I keep asking myself, “Is the real Shell standing up?” Am I yet uncovered and truly living MY life? Am I yet the individual who I really am? These thoughts really came to the forefront the other day. This is my story about hiding in the crowd. How can you relate?
As I shared with you a few weeks ago, I am who I am and I don’t know how to change that or necessarily want to. I am willing to improve, but the things like being energetic, talkative, vibrant, and outgoing are in my nature. They make up who I am. Then last week I shared that I woke up still feeling as though I wasn’t fully on the right path still – that something felt like it was missing and I was still living by others’ expectations. As such, I met with some individuals in the non-profit field for “Informational Interviews” to seek an understanding of how I can transfer from a technical background to getting back into the non-profit arena for full-time employment. This would allow me to go to work each day doing what I have done as volunteer work yet earn a living and not feel drained at the end of the day. Through these efforts, and the work I have been doing in my community over the past year, I realize that I was born for one reason: to serve others within my community through improved programming and outreach while maximizing organizational growth and success. Yes, my mission in life is to help others succeed. To direct them to the right resources. To facilitate communication and inspiration and love between my fellow humans. I want to see organizations reach out to their communities. To see the church meet its members’ needs AND reach out to those who aren’t within the walls of the buildings. I want to see the smiles as business owners see their marketing campaigns work. I want to be part of a revolution in which we become a community instead of faces in the crowd. This is why I breathe. THIS is why I wake up each morning.
As this realization sunk in, I began to understand the one area of my life that I have not improved over this past year. Well, the one area I haven’t improved as well as I would like to have accomplished by now. I am still ashamed of my weight gain and how I look. Though I have lost 40 pounds this year, I still look at myself and feel like I let me down. I want to get out and be a better me, to feel great in those jeans rolled up on the closet shelf because I am at least months away from fitting into them again. I want to lose more than 2 pounds a week but also tighten my muscles, increase my endurance, and lose more pants’ sizes. I want to truly make exercise a part of my life just as I have taken time to ensure I eat a healthy diet. I want…I want…I want. But what am I doing? I am hiding in the crowd.
What does that mean? When you are in a crowd of people, no one notices YOU. They see your face as a blur. No one person stands out to you. You may remember you saw someone with headphones, but typically you won’t remember what color his eyes were. You may recall a mother with children, but not what they were wearing. We notice the big picture but not the individual faces. As I am been working on all this self improvement and really focusing on my path in life and what I want to do next, I have been looking at the overall picture when it came to my appearance. Instead of making time everyday for exercise, I put that last on my list and see if I have time. I fit it in within errands and work by parking further away. When I meet with clients I ensure I don’t meet at food locations anymore. I am cautious about what I put into my body but not how I treat my body. I have paid attention to the overall me, but not the specific details, such as how much better I feel when I am in shape. I hide in the crowd that comprises my personality, my career, my passions. I don’t allow myself to stand out as someone I want to notice the details of but instead just continue to scan.
Well, I am done with that. I want to stand out. This journey is about being able to be ME. To be the individual I am, in the career I should be working, living the life I should be living. It is about being a positive role model to my daughters and family members who watched me let go of myself after my divorce four years ago, reclaim myself a year later to become beautiful and fun again, and then let it all go a year later. I look at the pictures of myself when I had reclaimed who I was. I smiled. I wanted to be filmed. I wanted to share these memories of a fit mother with my children. We are not talking about a size 6. I was still a 12/14 at this time. But I felt great. I had a stomach, but I accepted it and loved how I felt. I wasn’t afraid to wear comfy clothes or ones that showed my figure a tiny bit. I am tired of hiding in this package I have created to ensure I am loved for my personality instead of my body. I am tired of hiding who I am under layers of this shell I have built. I am ready to unveil who I really am to the world – to finally be fit and wonderful instead of being afraid that being thin and fit again will turn me back into the monster I was in my 20s. To embrace that beautiful, wonderful, girl whose beauty isn’t on the skin but in her overall being. The girl who could talk to teenagers about overcoming abuse and violence and finding love, without looking like a person who escapes it all through food. I want to be the girl who I am instead of this one I have created externally. I am done talking and ready to take action. Today at 4:00 a fitness coach who has the ability and willingness to help me is calling me to talk about my options for working out at home or in my community (not a gym). I am ready to finally make a commitment to myself to stop hiding in the crowd of my own being, and start standing out to become more than a blur. I have accepted that this is what I am at the moment – but as the Albert Einstein noted, “I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.” Yes, Albert, I must. And I am.