As of today, I'm four months shy of the big three-oh. When I was blissfully unaware of what adulting would look like, I used view thirty as the age when you've got it all figured out. As I inch closer and closer to this milestone, I realize that the only thing I've figured out is that I've got a little more than more than nothing figured out.
I believe that aging, in spite of all of its' shortcomings, is great. I may no longer look like a spring chicken but what I lack in tautness is made up for ten-fold with the giant dose of perspective only hindsight can afford us.
As they say, whoever they are, hindsight is twenty-twenty. One thing hindsight has made painfully obvious is how unkind I've been to myself over the years. I've kicked myself when I've been down, I've beaten myself up for being human, and I've been ashamed of mistakes that did, in fact, all lead me to where I am.
Of course, one could argue that this lack of self-imposed grace only aided the process of becoming a better person or whateverthefuck. One could claim that it was all a part of of figuring out who I am and who I want to become and what work needs to be done in order to become her. One could (and many have) say that what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger which, I guess, is true.
But does the ride to our destination really need to be so painful? Especially when we're the ones not only holding the keys, but also the only person who determines where we want to go and how we want to get there?
The only thing I've gleaned from the realization that I have been my own biggest worst enemy is that this narrative that is utter nonsense and complete bullshit. If I need anyone to like me, shouldn't that person be... I don't know... me? I'm the one who's got to spend a lifetime being me so I might as well become a person I like and like the person I'm becoming?
If you've been following along here or The C-word for longer than a hot second, you've likely noticed that I'm a vat of self-deprecation. I've always found self-deprecation funny and I appreciate when a person doesn't have their head stuck so far up their own ass that they can't call a spade a spade. I'm also a firm believer that if people know you're in on the joke, rarely will you be the butt of it. The problem is that there is a thin line between self-deprecation and radiating abhorrent insecurity and self-angst and women, as a whole, tend to straddle that line.
For example, how many times have you deflected someone's compliment instead of graciously saying thank you? When someone bumps into you, how often do you apologize to them for simply being where you are supposed to be? How many times have you felt embarrassed by a person acknowledging a specific feature they find particularly striking or beautiful instead of appreciating the feature they find worthy of such praise?
Do you see what I mean? WHY?
Now, I'm not saying we should all walk around responding, "yeah, I know" to kind strangers' compliments. However, as I creep up on the age I thought I'd know all that I'd ever need to know, the one thing I know for certain is that this shit needs to stop. When are we going to stop selling the idea that humility trumps self-love? When are we going to admit that maybe, just maybe, we're not only worthy of praise but worthy of self-acceptance?
I, for one, am done.
I'm tired of apologizing. I'm sick of the excuses I so often give for SIMPLY BEING MYSELF. I'm exhausted from prefacing every thought or conversation I express with what I think those listening need to hear in order to not think less of me for thinking it. I'm through with feeling like I shouldn't, for whatever reason, like myself.
I've spent almost thirty years getting to know myself and I've discovered that she sucks on occasion. She hasn't always been a peach and she hasn't always been kind. She hasn't always made the right decisions nor cared enough to even attempt to make a good one. She's been handed challenges and been defeated. She's been handed trials and walked away a champion. She's fought really fucking hard to achieve perspective and hindsight and she deserves to own it. She's high-maintenance (high quality), she's complicated (multi-faceted), and she's a walking contradiction on days that end with a -Y (mysterious). I have spent the last almost-thirty years getting to know me and you know what?
I quite like her.
And, in my humble opinion, there is no better 30th birthday present than the gift of self-acceptance.