Many who know me would laugh out loud at the idea that I am anything less than a full-on extrovert. And they’re right – I am an extrovert who is curious about people and enjoys connecting, learning about, encouraging and supporting others. But, at the end of the day, I need to shut it down and recharge to vegetate and chill in a quiet, calm, peaceful space. When everyone else wants to celebrate together the end of a workday, I know myself well enough to know that I need that time and space alone. I cannot function at my optimum level day-after-day without it.
I’ve come to truly appreciate when I go my own way to pursue that solitude and space. Just a couple of weeks ago, while out on a beautiful rock formation in Maui, about 40 feet above the clear, deep, royal blue water, I found the introvert in me pulling away from the patterns of Hawaii’s touristy crowds. Everyone was following a set path, heading to a popular point at the end of the large tourist attraction as though they were on a conveyor belt to one of the world’s most beautiful places. I never made it to that point. I veered off to the left, scaling over some rocks and then down towards the water. It was a remarkable space with a breathtaking view. My soul was in full reboot.
Then, my son called me on my phone; he was looking for me. I explained I was hidden out on this amazing rock formation; if and his sister wanted to join me, I told him he should call once they arrived. He assured me they would find me. Not long after, he called again – he and my youngest daughter were searching for me. So I stood up. Lots of people had now shown up mid-morning. I popped up, and, in doing so, made myself known to the crowds. Like moths to the flame, all those who had not even considered veering of the main drag, started to look my way. Then, some started to head my way.
All those following the conveyor belt of the masses now decided that since I had veered off the popular beaches, they should, too. Even more people would come that way.
It’s sad to say, but I believe it to be true – I find very few people actually stop and think for themselves. We are a people of followers with few true leaders who dare to march to the beat of their own drum.
I have had to make a conscious choice to play by the rules of political correctness in my world simply because it’s the pond in which I am swimming. Am I all the way in the box? Nope. In relationships – romantic, friends, or family alike – I say what I think and what I feel. Do I care if that rubs someone the wrong way? Mm, I’m learning not to. Because the right people will appreciate it and see it for what it is and know it’s just part of what makes me uniquely and sometimes maddeningly-lovable me.
My point? You do you. And love yourself as you are true to truest you.
Because we live in a world where far too many people only dare to go on the road less traveled. We fail to think for ourselves.
It’s a model we’ve seen for generations now. We finish high school. We go to college. We start our career, then go to grad school. We look for our forever person. We get engaged or move in together. We’re promoted. We plan weddings. We get a dog, then make plans for children. Then, we start a family. We schedule beach and mountain and European vacations. And then we post it all over social media to let everyone know we are happy.
We pace and track ourselves according to societal expectations. It’s like we’re on a conveyor belt that never stops. We hit the benchmarks, and, now thanks to social media, show all the world we’ve hit them.
For me, the conveyor belt is a trap. It’s a passion-stifling, conforming way of being. And ironically, it leaves us feeling alienated and alone. Because it’s not real; it’s not ours. Most are more concerned with how things look rather than how things feel. Most are more concerned with honoring the world’s expectations and others’ expectations about who or where they should be rather than where it feels right to be.
Break the norms. Challenge the status quo. Dare to march to the beat of your own fucking, beautiful drum.
Be the first to find your own beautiful rock formation in Maui; there’s something waiting for you out there. In that beautiful space, there is autonomy and boldness and courage and braveness; it is in that beautiful space that we find our true selves, our true peace and joy.
That’s my not so sexy truth.