This is Me
Do I accept who I am, do I have the confidence to show the world the real me?
One of the biggest films available over Christmas was “The Greatest Showman”. In my household it was a big hit!! One of my daughters didn’t stop dancing and singing from the moment she left the cinema. (Although this was delightful at first, it soon drove us crazy!)
There were some lovely original songs in the film but the one that’s caught the most attention is the song sung by Keala Settle, “This is Me”. In the film Keala plays the role of Lettie Lutz who if you didn’t know her name, you would refer to her as “the lady with a beard”. Lettie is part of the performing troupe of “freaks” at Barnam’s circus that entertain audiences with their unique abilities and attributes. (The character is fictional, but it’s based on two ladies who were part of Barnam’s troupe over the years; Josephine Clofullia and Annie Jones.)
Let me make one thing clear, this is NOT a blog recommending ladies to grow facial hair!!
The song “This is Me” is Lettie’s war cry of acceptance of herself and confidence in who she is:
“I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me.
Look out ‘cause here I come, and I’m marching on to the beat I drum,
I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me”
I don’t have a beard, but I’m certainly not perfect. Do I have the confidence and acceptance that Lettie has? Every single one of us has a story. We are all made up from our life’s circumstances and experiences, both good and bad. We all have our weird ways, and hopefully also have things about ourselves that we’re proud of. But, if we stripped away the make-up, the highlights that we show on Facebook, the smile as we drop off the kids, the “I’ve got it all together” look as we do our grocery shopping, are we really confident in who we are? Do we even know who we really are?
In the early 2000’s I worked as a professional life coach. When working with a new client, I would start the session helping the client work out why they came to see me, so together we could establish a goal to work towards. More often than not, my clients did not know what they wanted, they just knew things could be better. We would therefore take a step back and look at a snapshot of their life. We would do this by considering all the different aspects of their life including finances, relationships, career, environment, family, spirituality, leisure and health. For many the reality in black and white in front of them came as a shock. You could have labelled the paper “This is Me”, but they certainly had no confidence in this “Me” they saw. My role was to gently support my client as they came to accept that although this was reality for the moment, they had every opportunity ahead of them to change their “Me”.
Now looking back, I think I missed a trick. At that point of vulnerability, as well as supporting my client to accept their “Me”, I now think we should have spent time allowing them to be comfortable with the “Me”, and realising it was ok to be the “Me” they were. It was entirely possible to be confident with the “Me” and proud of who they were. I was too busy focusing on the next thing, the better “Me” the client wanted to be, after all, that was what I thought I was being paid for.
Am I proud of my “Me”? Do I accept my “Me”? Is it ok to not be 100% perfect – the perfect wife, mother, friend, colleague, boss?
It is true, as you get older, you do change your values. Time is the best gift of all. There are so many things I wish I could have told my younger self. “Chill Your beans”, as my teenage daughter says, would probably be one of the main things I would say.
Our imperfections are what makes us unique. Our life experiences are part of what makes us strong. We should be proud of who we are and celebrate our scars. We need to hold our head up high. Life is hard, it is unfair, but it is also beautiful and awesome. It would also be so much easier if we accept who we are, be confident and proclaim, “This Is Me”.