“You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There's only one person in this whole world like you. And people can like you exactly as you are.” - Mr. Rogers
My high school had a magnet for the Creative and Performing Arts, and I was involved in the drama program. After working for 100 hours both on and backstage, you could apply to become a lifetime member of the International Thespian Society within the troop sponsored by the school. This was quite an honor (as well it should be after all that hard work). Our school's tradition at the time was to invite those students whose applications were complete on the closing night of the current show, after the bows were taken. Because we were drama students, we invited members by writing skits about them and then calling them on stage. Because I had gotten a rather late start in the theatre program, and because I hadn't done much onstage work, I was afraid I wouldn't make the cut at our first show in my senior year and, sure enough, after several skits I was sure I'd have to wait until the next show in the spring. I was so disappointed. But! There was one more skit to perform that night!
In addition to being a part of the small but hardcore Cult of Hitchhiker's Guide fans at my school, I had also procured a small pink bicycle-type bell on a wristwatch band I wore constantly and I was known for squeaking an “e” sound across campus to my friends (we were obnoxious, perhaps, but damn cute). These things apart could mean any of a number of students (well, except perhaps the wrist-bell) but together they made me. And that's what my skit represented. Me. Unmistakably me.
And so there you had me, lost in a sea of high-top Chucks and cassette-tape-playing Walkmen, and still uniquely me. I remember talking to my first real boyfriend on the phone before he even was my boyfriend, I think, and he was impressed that I acted like ME at home. Honestly? I acted like me everywhere. I have been lost many times and in many ways, but my ME-ness has never been in question. I sadly do not have that wrist-bell anymore, and I'm a hell of a lot more mature, thank god, but I'm still that same girl: ME everywhere, always.
There is a blog-meme that comes around every so often in which the writer lists 101 random facts about him or herself, and I started writing a shorter version of a list like that, but as I was writing it, I thought my facts didn't seem all that unique after all. I mean, lots of people have hazel eyes and love coffee. But Mr. Rogers, one of my most important Life-guides, says there is no one else out there exactly like me, and I think that's the key. It's when you add up all the things on this list –- and all the rest I didn't list –- that's when you get me as an individual, wholly and authentically me. It is our list items that help us communicate and relate to others, but it is our lists as a whole that help us stand out as individuals. All our creativity. All our flaws. All our beauty. Together. That's me. That's you. That's individuality.
- My fingers are long.
- I have struggled with anxiety, almost as long as I can remember, but I've worked hard to beat it. I'm almost there.
- According to genealogy, my family is descended from William the Conqueror.
- My eyes are hazel green, and I've always loved them.
- I am passionate about almost everything I feel.
- I am socially nervous and sometimes very shy.
- I wear tank tops even if my arms aren't muscular or thin or whatever they are “supposed” to be. And I look pretty even so.
- If I laugh too hard, I am at risk of peeing my pants. Doesn't stop me from laughing hard as often as I can.
- I love coffee. Seriously. LOVE. I might marry coffee if it becomes legal in California.
- My body cannot tolerate dairy. It makes me yell and throw stuff. True story.
- Well, just cow dairy. Goat, buffalo and sheep dairy products seem to be OK.
- My nose has often been described as a Roman nose. I don't know what that means, but I like my nose okay.
- I think I'm pretty funny, although I suppose that could be because I share my own sense of humor.
- I'm flaky.
- I collect local history in the form of stories. I especially love the bizarre ones.
- I also collect pressed pennies. I like collections that don't take up much room.
- My body is fairly apple-shaped with no real hips to speak of, and I kind of love that. It makes my shape unique.
- I really, really love coffee.
- I put salt on my salsa when I dip my chips into it.
- I also love bacon. I hope that doesn't make me a hipster.
- I'm tall, but always wear average-length jeans. My tall is all kept in my torso.
- I keep my hair short because I am too lazy to spend time on it.
- My birthstone is amethyst.
- My hair is actually brown now that I'm a grown up, but I still think of myself as blond.
- I am emotional and cry easily, even if the emotion isn't sadness. I used to hate that about myself. Now I find it kind of beautiful.
How about you? What's your list? What is your YOU-ness that shines though no matter what?
More Own Your Beauty on BlogHer
- Talking to Teens: It's Okay to Be Unique.
- Coming Out of the Closet About Adult Acne
- 12 Tips on Individuality From Award-Winning Novelist Jean Kwok
Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one's self and influence the lives of those around us - our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.
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