Holiday Spirit

I have so many reasons to be thankful this year. I am gainfully employed. I am respected and well liked at work. I have been diligent and consistent in my powerlifting. I have a wonderful tribe and supportive family. It should be enough. Yet every year at this time i fall into a funk that I can’t quite shake. A few years ago I let it swallow me whole for a long time. This year I am going to direct it into something I can use.

How? I am not quite sure but the first thing I am going to do is talk about it. I’m not talking about it to get your pity or even to ask for your help. Mostly it’s just to let you know what’s up. I have a really hard time talking about my feelings and this is a start.

See, I have built this persona, Donna the Destroyer, for a reason: to mask my insecurities and show you my strengths. Today I am breaking the barrier between my persona and myself. I am sad. The Christmas season has had this affect on me for years, possibly decades. I feel like a fraud and I don’t want anyone to see through my facade.

And if you’ve been resin carefully you know that I haven’t told you why. And I don’t know if or when I will let you know my secret. It’s raw and personal and I don’t know how to express it without hurting myself and other people. And if you know one thing about me it’s that I NEVER intentionally hurt other people.

I guess this is the time of year when I realize the toll that this part of me takes. While I see the pictures others paint of their lives I look at mine and think “why can’t I make this better? Why am I stuck in this rut?” And I know the answer but I’m having a hard time accepting it.

And that is at the heart of my holiday feelings. I am so thankful for my friends and family that it hurts sometimes. I love seeing them happy and excited and enjoying themselves. So much so that I have a hard time talking about my own feelings – who am I to bring them down? Ahh, the double-edged sword of empathy. Wanting everyone to be happy and wanting to reach out to everyone and let them know how I’m feeling.

So for those of you who have been observant and have noticed me get quieter, less vocal in social situations over the course of the season, I want to thank you for asking me how I’m doing AND accepting my response. I am not ready to talk about it partly out of respect for your holiday season and partly because I don’t know how to talk about it. Yet. Just know I am thankful for you and your questions.

Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy Kwanza, and happy holidays to you all. May the coming year bring you joy and peace.

joy-and-peace

 

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Costume Party!

I was out for dinner with a dear friend this past week and we were discussing my recent trip to Paris which included a visit to the Catacombs on Halloween. She asked me if I wore a costume. I thought for a moment and answered “yes” even though I wore street clothes. All the outfits I brought to Paris were costumes – I had consciously packed clothes that would project a specific image to the world.

Upon further reflection I realize that I wear costumes every day. Some days literally (hello PL meet singlets) and others days secretively. You see, I decided not too long ago who I wanted to be and what I wanted to project into the world even if it wasn’t who or what I felt I was internally. While I AM this person, it doesn’t always feel like it and sometimes I need a costume to help me feel the part. And my costumes change from day to day.

Who is this person I created? Well, she is cool, confident, knows what she wants and doesn’t care whether others are on board with this decision. She wears funky vests and skirts over leggings some days, classic business attire other days, and often wears workout clothes. But she is always put together.

Some days she is the daring adventurer – wearing her safari gear and ready to roam to unknown places. Some days she is a fiercely independent business woman who gets shit done and helps the people around her. Some days she is the powerlifting diva, holding court in the gym, strong and confident in her booty shorts and lifting socks.

Except when she isn’t. There are days when these personas, these costumed characters just aren’t me and I have to switch costumes – switch to be a little less out there, a little less noticeable. These are the days when I need to recharge and remember why I have so many costumes in the first place and try to reconcile the costumes with who I am today.

I like to think this was a deliberate choice, but I know better. I created these personas to protect me, keep my inner secrets of insecurity hidden from the world. When I put on the costumes and get into character it is easy to think I’m always confident and act with ease in every interaction throughout the day. But I know it’s not the case. I know there is insecurity (I’m not smart enough, strong enough, capable enough) lurking inside.

But at the same time, I created these personas so one day I can be this person effortlessly. The costume that I put on each day helps bring me one step closer to internalizing the outside. If I continue to look and act the part of a confident woman one day I will realize that this person IS me and my clothes are no longer costumes but the outward reflection of the person I have become.