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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Commandment #1: Be Julie

I kind of already blogged about this topic, but that was before I understood that Gretchen's commandments were Gretchen's commandments, and mine needed to be personalized for me.

The one I want to write about is commandment #11, but I figure I'll eventually get there.

When I had child #4, a friend gave me a book.  She said that by the time you have #4, baby gifts should be for the mom, not so much for the baby.  I think I agree with this line of thinking, and she gave me the most wonderful book.

I got so I would read it every morning and follow the instructions each day.  It was a fun little exercise.  It spoke of your "authentic self" and being true to who you really are.

 My authentic self?
One day it said to go find a photo of yourself around the age of 11.  Eleven, for most of us, was when you were really true to yourself.  You wore what you wanted to just because you wanted to.  You didn't care what other people thought about what you did or said, you just did and said them because it was part of who you were.

I remember for my birthday in first or second grade, my mom threw me a party.   The week prior, my friends would come up to me and ask me what I wanted for my birthday.  I told every one of them that I wanted puzzles.  I wasn't smart enough to tell them each something different, so for my birthday, I was given jigsaw puzzle on top of jigsaw puzzle.  I was in heaven.  I look back on that and see that that's a point in my life when I was true to my nature.  By nature, I'm a thinker, and it's when I would sit and do a puzzle that my brain would wander and take me to new thoughts and ideas--something I truly enjoyed.

Once you hit adolescence and start caring about being popular and having friends and following the crowd, you've lost a lot of your originality and you become one of the many.  Sad, huh?  I never ask for puzzles any more

Me at 11.
So, the point is, how do we get back to who we really are?  How can we recapture 11 and feel good about who we are inside our skin and not worry quite so much about what everybody else sees?  How can I go around and not apologize quite so much for those traits that are mine and mine alone?  How can I just feel good about being me again like I did before I cared about what others thought of me?

I think there are little glimmers that still remain.  As I look at this photo of me at 11, I have to laugh.  Just this morning I was getting dressed.  I grabbed a knee-high sock and put it on.  As I did so, I thought, I really love knee-high socks.  I hardly ever wear them, but as I put them on, I felt really happy in my heart.  I pulled out this photo to scan this afternoon, and this little recognition of where that feeling originated resonated inside of me.  The knee socks are my 11-year-old self coming out.  Funny!

So, the challenge of commandment #1 is to get back in touch with the old me.  When I have decisions to make, I need to remember to "be Julie" and choose what I feel best about and not choose it because someone I think is totally fantastic would do it.

So, what about you?  What did you love to do when you were 11?  What did you wear?  How did you act?  Are you different now?   How are you being true to your authentic self? 

So, there you have it, commandment #1.  If you're wondering about my cupboard cleaning adventures, yes, I have avoided the top of the fridge for two days now.  I'm just thoroughly enjoying the clean ones, but I will do it tonight.

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