Saturday, March 7, 2009

Just being me


 
For years I've prided myself on being one who doesn't follow the crowd. I still haven't seen Lord of the Rings. My fashion sense is completely my own. No, I don't intend to read Twilight any time within the foreseeable future. I don't see LOTR, fashion or Twilight to be bad things, I was just not going to get obsessed with them because 'everyone else' was.

Recently I realized that though I've escaped the peer pressure of the world so far, I haven't escaped the insecurities of being just  me.

It happened one night when we had a friend over for pizza and ended up playing Mario Karts on my brother's old Nintendo 64 ( which is, incidentally, the best video game ever). I'm not the greatest when it comes to video games. I get stuck and fall off ledges a lot. But I am always trying really hard to finish in at least the top three. And I almost always fail.

My friend Heather hadn't played Nintendo in years (Perhaps she's one of those strange people who keeps up with technology?). She struggled even more than I did, but it didn't take long for her to cheerfully give up trying to win. She did her own thing; she drove most of a race backward just for the fun of it, and discovered you could go down a train tunnel quite a ways, which none of us had ever discovered before. She was having a ball while I was feeling rotten because I came in 4th place again.

I see it as a reflection of much of my life - as a middle sister. Now, I'm not going to go into a woe-is-me fest about the neglect and emotional trauma of the poor middle child. My point here is that most of my life I've seen the achievements of my siblings and felt insignificant because of them. My older sister is mature and serene, the darling of so many of our acquaintances. My younger sister is the wonder-child, master musician and theological genius, at a young age. For years I made attempts to be serene and attempts to be musical and miserably failed.

When I saw Heather happy, literally just doing her own thing I was inspired. I have now admitted to myself that I'm just not musical - except for my voice. And I'm not often serene, but I do have a lot of laughs and plenty of deep conversations with my circle of friends.

I'm not saying we should never emulate anyone. We all need our heroes and role models. But we shouldn't miss the chance to be ourselves and develop the gifts God gave us - not our siblings or friends - by chasing after someone else's dreams. Just be yourself.

4 comments:

Sam March 7, 2009 at 9:30 AM  

Thanks ever so much for this post! I can often feel that way as well...I always felt I was the odd-ball out...with no particular talents. Just the one who was fairly good at things, but nothing compared to my siblings. Over the past two or three years, I've been working on just being ME. And not comparing myself with others. Because, no matter where I look, I will always find someone who is better than me at: playing the piano, writing, singing, whatever...but there can only be one ME...so I figured, that being ME is quite possibly than being a copycat. :D Anywho, that probably didn't make any sense. lol. Thanks anywho...it was an encouragement to me! :)

Valerie March 7, 2009 at 10:04 AM  

Sam, that made perfect sense! I know exactly what you are talking about. It's just a matter of finding what we love to do simply because we LOVE it, and possibly have a gift for it, never mind how well others do it.

Rebecca March 7, 2009 at 10:13 AM  

Beautiful article! I've experienced many of the same insecurities in my life (including middle-child syndrome!), but this is a wonderful reminder just to concentrate on being the best version of myself I can be.

-A faithful reader

Rebecca March 9, 2009 at 7:55 PM  

Very GOOD post, VB. :)

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