Picture this: Your doing something. This thing is something you enjoy. However, every now and again you pause. You get self conscious. You get embarrassed. You feel the need to justify liking whatever it is. Not anyone else, but to yourself. You remind yourself that it's okay to like things. That because you like them you aren't somehow some strange, abnormal thing that should be shunned away. It's fine. You're fine.
Maybe you haven't experienced this. Maybe you have. All I know is that this is something that I deal with a fair amount. Not all the time, but enough to be annoying. Enough to keep me on edge. I don't like those moments. I don't like checking myself, doubting myself like that. I know in part where it comes from.
My past, for one thing. As a child I felt that there were expectations I had to meet, and that no matter what I did I could never meet said expectations. Some of them were from my family (a few real, but most imagined) while others came from peers, teachers, or religious folks. It was really rough for me, and took me a long time to realize that what some people said didn't matter in the long run. It took me even longer to realize that in some instances I'd been brainwashed, or indoctrinated if you prefer.
I'm still a work in progress. I know more pauses will come in the future, and that sometimes I'll have setbacks. Sometimes I'll breakdown and freak out, wonder what the hell is wrong with me. But I also know that those times won't be the majority, and that when they happen they won't last. I won't be beaten by fear, by doubt. I will be myself. With all my wonders. With all my flaws. Everything.
I encourage you all to do the same.
May your own journeys be filled with more ups than downs,
more joy than sorrow, more tenderness than pain, and plenty
of whatever it is that makes life worth living for you.