When I was a little girl growing up, I was audacious. I remember being able to go up to and talk to anyone, everyone, unafraid. Without thought or care of what anyone would think. My sole focus was being me, making them smile and getting to know them. I’ve always been a fan of people. For a lot of my earliest years I don’t remember backing down from conversations or letting anyone ruffle my feathers. It wasn’t until later junior high, when I really think back that I remember starting to second guess myself, but we’ll come back to that. When I was young, I was that little girl knocking down every door to sell whatever it was at that time. Girl scout cookies, fundraising for various things, and so many others. If you said no it didn’t matter, I was moving onto the next. I didn’t let it stop me, there was no not hitting my goals. I was going to be the top in whatever the endeavor was. I was definitely getting all the incentives that I could. Yes, competitive even now. I remember when my brothers or sisters had friends over trying to nudge my way into their conversation. I wanted to be part of everything going on. There was no leaving me out, if something was happening, I wanted to be a part of it. I was a dreamer, but I was also a doer. Big plans for my life. When you think of that child in your life who has all the “big plans”, that was me. I remember so vividly thinking, dreaming, imagining being in the spotlight. I remember dreaming that I was going to be that girl that everyone remembered for making them smile. I wanted people to know me, the real me. I was completely comfortable with showing up and being seen!
Then things shifted, back to what I mentioned earlier about later Junior High. Actually, I gotta go back to fourth grade. When I think, Jen, what changed, what shifted, this is where it first started. I can’t quite pinpoint why, but I can tell you whatever is hiding in my subconscious can bring me to tears when I think about this time-frame. This was also a time when I started having serious blackouts. The doctor said it was a form of epilepsy. Knowing now what I didn’t know then, I am not quite sure that that was it. From this diagnosis, I was put on a medication called Depakote for about 5 years. From fourth to ninth grade, I was taking a heavy dose of this twice a day. It caused me to lose my hair and gain weight. Now keep in mind I was already a heavy-set young lady, it never really bothered me until this time. I’m sure the additional weight didn’t help. Remember how I mentioned earlier how confident I was as a kid; this is when it started shifting. I’ve always been very resilient and during these years, I started taking what others said and using it much differently, negatively. I still had my swagger about me. And, I still took a lot of risks, but the fear and anxiety made me second guess all the time. I also started taking what other people said and letting it impact me. Speeding up to ninth grade, I took a stand, dumped all my Depakote down the garbage disposal and told my mom, nothings wrong with me, I don’t need this stuff. Best, most freeing moment, let me tell ya!
In the years to come, I continued to have that little girl, audaciousness about me. I have still gone after and worked my tail off for so many of the things that I wanted for my life. I’m proud of the career I’ve build and achievements I’ve had but, there was so much unnecessary anxiousness and anxiety along the way. I started listening to the opinions of others very differently than before. I started taking them so literally that it shifted my desire to be “seen” as confidently as I use to. I started looking at myself and thinking, “who do you think you are”, you can’t do that, urgh YIKES. In many areas I held myself back. Truth be told, my small business, this blog, the book I’m writing, and a few other things in the works have all been my dream for years, A LOT of years. The thing is, we all get negative thoughts here and there. We all have life fears but what you do with them when they show up is most important. When you look at negative thoughts and don’t redirect, they can turn into second guessing, anxiety, depression even. When you listen to other people’s opinions and believe them, it too turns into self-doubt, anxiety, it will hold you back!
What’s your “thing”? What is that piece that holds you back from being the amazing authentic you that you are? It took me years to pinpoint it you guys. It took me years of anxiousness in the front of a room. It took me crying up in front of my college mates when I had to do a report in front of class the first time because was so afraid of being seen. It took me years in boardrooms questioning what the team would say if I was just me and shared my honest real opinions. Of course, I did all these things anyway but all the anxiety and stress and second guessing along the way was a strain on my mind, body, and my emotional well-being. It held me back for far too long! No one deserves to go through this pain! Here is my stand, you my friend deserve to show up and be you. You deserve to stand at the top of whatever you choose with the voice of confidence and belief in you. It took me years of pain to overcome and I write before you today to say if I can overcome all of what I have, you can to! Here are some things I used to overcome and get back that little girl, unafraid of showing up!
As Brene Brown writes, “Show up and let yourself be seen”!
Supporter of people and growth. I absolutely LOVE helping others see in themselves what I see in them. We all have good in us, we just need a bit of help seeing it at times.