Who were you before the world told you who to be? Before you were labeled, shamed, and crafted into who the world, society, your parents, wanted you to be?
Can you remember?
I was a bright, talkative, creative child. From an early age I never wanted to do anything other than perform. Dance classes, elocution lessons, drama school, music productions. It was my life and I loved it.
I turned into a rebellious teenager, always pushing the edges of what was acceptable. It got me into a world of trouble, but it also primed my spirit and developed my grit. I knew I didn’t want to have a ‘normal’ life. As a wild teen I never dreamed of getting married and having babies, just of living a big life that meant something.
When I was an 18 year old student at an inner city performing arts school, we’d climb out on the window ledge from the dance studio at lunch time. We’d sit there five stories up on the concrete ledge of the 1920’s ornate building and watch those people we called clones in suits rush about getting lunch and trying not to be late back to their desk.
We would laugh and scold them, scoffing at their compliance. At how normal they were. At the boring lives we thought they must live. We were wild and free, creative and fabulous. We were bold and thought we were so badass. We were so young and naive. But we also had a very clear sense of ourselves, our place in the world, and who we wanted to be.
We hadn’t yet hit that age when it was our turn to grow up, be told to get real jobs and conform. We said we never would. Some of us did, thinking it was the only option in the real world that was built on that very compliance.
I look at my son who is now the same age I was back then. I’ve always told him to question everything. To reject the notion that he has to be anything other than who he is. I have watched with curiosity as he has grown about who that person is, and let him develop as much as I was able without interfering or directing him to be anything other than himself. Hopefully he will not a have a ‘before’, just a ‘now’, of being who he is destined to be. Of who he wants to be.
Who are you really? Who were before? Who do you want to be?