Perhaps the curse of my life has been that I am good at many things. But I am not great at many things. Nor do I do many things poorly. As a girl, when my mom signed me up for a gymnastics class, with no prior experience, I was able to tuck my chin, curl myself into a ball and stand up straight on the other side, along with all the other kids just like the teacher demonstrated. I somersaulted around ahead of half the other kids, yet not able to catch up with the girls turning with ease at the head of our pack.
I wasn't good enough to have the teacher pull me out and recommend I go on to the advanced level. Nor was the teacher calling out my name because I wasn't doing it right. I was average-ly good--safely lodged in the middle.
And somewhere along the way--on swim team or at drama camp or in ballet classes--I grew comfortable in feeling safe in the anonymity of the middle. The longer I spent time in the middle of the "pack", the more solidified my belief became that I was better off being unseen. This way I could avoid being made fun of by bullies and I wasn't the last one chosen on teams. I was generally accepted at high school lunch tables and invited to parties as a person who could carry on a normal conversation, but not necessarily express a controversial opinion. There in the dead center of mediocrity, I safely avoided what I thought would be horrible feelings of shame.
However, as I entered into young adulthood, when the time came to make my unique mark on the world, I started to notice that I had a hard time making close friends, I was terrified of dating and I didn't have any specific desire to follow a career path. In fact, any fear of sticking myself out there beyond the safe middle to let people know who I was or what I was interested in, felt like potential sudden death. Sure, I was surviving doing menial jobs I didn't care about and hanging out with people I'd keep at a distance, but I wasn't able to thrive. The real me felt stuck, hiding deep the middle of myself, because I'd hardly experienced what it could feel like to come out beyond the pack as uniquely me.
Therefore, I continued to find various jobs, until I fell into a series of accounting jobs, respectable enough by my parents'/society's standards, yet nothing along the lines of what I'd dreamed of doing. I spent many years pleasing my bosses, working hard at something I didn't like so I could be a responsible adult staying with the pack. But I felt depressed, rarely voicing my opinion, nor expressing my creativity nor feeling as though I were living my purpose. I suffered for years in bad work situations and my health grew worse.
Today, through the support of many people, I am learning to come out of my own middle prison. I am taking dance classes again--believing that there is a possibility that I could be great! or I could suck! and trusting that as I risk being in either of those places that I will be freer. I understand now that there is freedom in being seen for the characteristics that make me unique. I wish I felt back then what I understand today, I could have been great at being me--only much, much sooner!
If you're anything like me, I know it takes support to put yourself out there and stand in a place where people can see the real you. Don't let your beliefs keep you stuck safely in hiding, while the real you is slowly dying inside. Connect with me for coaching today!