When I moved from England at the age of five, I severely felt like I didn’t fit in. I know now that most children feel that they don’t fit in for whatever reason. They had thick glasses, were extraordinarily tall, their skin was too dark or too light, or they felt like the only ones who looked the way they did. Grade school for me was blending in. But you know what you get when you blend all the primary colors that look so beautiful on their own? BROWN. Brown makes all the colors lose their individuality. I mean, some people may like brown as a color, but my point is a metaphor about not cutting off parts of yourself to fit in.
When I first moved to LA to act, I made sure to keep all the “different” parts of myself hidden and in the process I presented a masked self, and it was really depressing. Our bodies, minds and souls don’t like it when parts of ourselves are cut off. We all have many parts to ourselves. I have part rocker chic with my leather jacket and love of live music; part little princess with my love of glitter and long, flowy pink dresses; part observant artist with my picture taking and love of patterns of all sorts; part mod Brit with my British culture and love of high fashion; and part flower child with my love of nature and animals. If I only let the Mod Brit shine, then the other parts of myself feel abandoned.
By getting sober, going to therapy and experimenting with art (letting myself play), I have uncovered and recovered the parts of myself I thought were weird. If I could tell little Amy that her accent was actually pretty awesome way back when and that her pale skin was beautiful and that she would grow from being the smallest in the class to a person of average stature perhaps she would have felt a little more secure.
I turn thirty this weekend and I am grateful that rather than fitting in to what I think the world around me needs me to be so I can be “accepted,” I have grown to love myself as I am. Being comfortable within my own skin, my own range of talents and personality feels like true freedom.
What parts of yourself have you cut off? Whose voice are you listening to (the bullies, your parents, your inner critic)? I challenge you to enjoy being an individual today- all those pieces that make you…you.