My all-time favorite quote is from the novel The Awakening by Kate Chopin.
“She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”
Did you get goosebumps when you read that? I do. Every. Single. Time. They’re some of the most relatably powerful words I’ve ever read. Those words made me the person typing this right now.
I cannot possibly be the only person who woke up one day and thought “holy shit, this is not who I want to be.” My moment came after a year that had been full of heartbreak and change. I had been putting on a happy face for the world but on the inside, I was broken. I was sad. I was confused. I had so many decisions to make and zero idea of how to make them…and then while mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest, I read that quote.
It hit me like a ton of bricks because I realized that I had been presenting a fictitious self to appear before the world. So, I decided I needed to stop doing that. I thought to myself and realized that at that moment my “real” self wasn’t someone I wanted to present to the world either.
I was at a crossroads. There isn’t a protocol on what to do when you don’t want to present a fake self to anyone but you don’t like your real self either.
It seemed like the only choice I had was to become someone I did like.
So I wrote a list. It seems so cheesy now that I’m typing it, but really… I made a list. I wrote down all of the qualities I wanted to have: I wanted to be kinder, I wanted to be happier, I wanted to be more successful, I wanted to be a better friend and a better daughter and a better sister. I wanted to be better in general.
Then, I woke up every day and made sure that I lived life according to my list. I would listen more when my friends spoke, instead of interrupting them to give my opinion. I called my mom just to say hi. I went outside and took time for self-reflection. Slowly but surely I was able to become someone I was proud of. I didn’t have to think about the list every morning because I was the list.
There’s more work to do. I’m not a perfect person, but I am a person that I’m proud of. I’m living my best life by being my best self and trust me: If I can do it, you can too.