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Gather the Pieces You Left Behind [Day 5 - 30 Days to Creating Irresitible Presence]

This is Day 5 of 30 Days to Creating Irresistible Presence.  On Friday, Andrea Lee made us fall in love with the word “AND”.  Today Reese Spykerman talks about gathering up those pieces of ourselves we may have cast aside for they are the essence of our irresistible presence.

And the theme song for today is: Let Go by imogene heap

Gathering Up the Pieces You Left Behind

by Reese Spykerman @Reese

“there’s beauty in the breakdown”
- Imogen Heap

A 6-year-old girl begins first grade in a new school unafraid.

Kindergarten was like springtime. Everything budding – her teacher, the silly costumes, other children. She was loved.

She begins grade school full of the same hope she had in kindergarten, but at a new school, with new kids, in a wealthier district where the teaching is better, but the children also come from homes that overlook vineyards.

Criticized by her new teacher Mrs. A for walking down the hall while reading a book, it’s the first time she begins to feel self-doubt, a sense of wrongness. Later, this teacher will tell her father that his daughter is too sensitive. That she is problematic. That she doesn’t fit in.

It is the first time a piece of the girl is taken away, and it won’t be the last.

That first grader was me, and the first line in the sand was drawn. I began to lose my light.

It happens to a lot of us.

We are born irresistible Whether we are naturally shy, or tiny versions of Audrey Hepburn, whether we are graced with beauty or look shockingly normal, we are a garden of tealights as children, and then people begin to cart pieces of us away.

Irresistible presence isn’t about adding in something new, or becoming something you’re not. It’s about finding the pieces you shed along the way because society decided to suffocate the light within you.

To find your irresistible presence, you must be willing to go back to you at 3. at 6. Maybe 18. Hell, even college. Even last month.

You before the world told you to take it down a notch or be quiet or stop chattering away so much or get your nose out of so many books or stop being so sensitive.

All those things are you. You put them away because you were told to, and in doing so, you survived, but you also lost what makes you fascinating and different.

On a day-to-day basis, much of the world around us tends to shut down our beauty, particularly in our formative years. Then we find ourselves 30+ years old and feeling a bit lost, wondering why that other guy is doing so well, and pushing away the yearning inside of us to be heard & recognized.

A couple of years ago, I began to embrace my oddities.

I learned to refuse to do work for people simply because they’re one of the popular kids, and I learned to carve out my own design style, even though it never lands me in web galleries or recognition from the established old boys design club. I learned to walk down the street while reading a book (watch out for the pole).

The tiny pieces you threw away, time and again, are waiting to be found. Pieces of seaglass worn down by sand, weather and years, you string them together with wire of gold, and you’ve got what they call in the jewelry business a Character Piece.

They are the key to you not only being irresistible to the world, but loving yourself. To more joy in your life.

To go and find those parts of you is pain. A feeling of grief over what was lost. But when you examine them, and you allow that perhaps these things can be you again, you understand they were never really lost at all, just hidden away.

To become irresistible to others, we must first become irresistible to ourselves in a way that understands all the battle scars and childhood joys we once embraced are our beauty.

When it comes down to it, they’re the only things we have that can’t be taken away unless we allow others to do so.

For you to have joy in your world, and for you to make the kinds of changes that draw people to you so that you can shift your business and life to be more fulfilling, more successful, more irresistible, you’ll need to reclaim those pieces.

Going back is never easy. But on the other side of remembering that pain is also remembering the hope you felt before you were told otherwise.

The people who inspire us and give us pause are generally goofier and less manufactured than the saccharine smiles of the self-help or coach or marketer crowd. They are introverts or sensitive or nervous in large groups or quietly fierce. They are readers and explorers, and purveyors of arcane knowledge.

They are memorable. They are kind. They want to change the world because they care, and change they world they do.

They are people like you and me.

****************************************************************************************

Remember a time from your childhood when an authority figure tried to tone down a part of you that was integral to your personality. What did that teach you? How can you change the way you look at that situation today?

Photo Credit goes to http://www.flickr.com/photos/_-amy-_/

Reese Spykerman is a designer who goes to the antique store and farmers market and library to get inspiration for her work. A twitter addict, she can be found there as @reese. You can also see her work over at http://www.designbyreese.com.

She is unapologetic about reading everywhere she goes.

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  • Anonymous

    Love this post Reese (of course I would!). I remember being afraid of being loud when I was young. “Don’t call attention to yourself” was the admonishment. Even now – just yesterday in fact – I was told to “tone it down”. I am so glad that I realized that part of what I bring to the table is boldness. It may be messy and imperfect, but I’d rather live boldly (and what others consider to be loudly) than stand on the sidelines watching the world go by.

    And, as I told you the first time I read this, this post tells me a great deal about why you are such an amazing champion for the Young Turk. He is lucky to have you in his corner. :-)

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      “Dont call attention to yourself”
      What a phrase. Think about those words. Think of what their meaning is as an adult. Don’t do anything that would make you stand out, be successful, be more than.

      Of course, I love that you said screw that ;)

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      I can really relate to you on this one Sarah… I have a loud voice and when I get excited, I talk even louder. I sung too loud in church (and I sing really well- but heaven forbid it would be louder than anyone else). And it all came back to “Don’t draw attention to yourself”. But you know what? As a kid – that is exactly what I wanted and needed. Attention. And, I admit, I had (and probably still have) an insatiable appetite for it. Talk about giving away pieces of myself. I was being told I shouldn’t go for or have or even want what I wanted. Hmmm.

      And then there was the other big message… right on the heels of “Don’t draw attention to yourself”. I think you know it too… “What will people think?”

      So thanks for sharing your experience. It triggered some pieces for me. Wish I had known to say “screw it” when I was a kid – but I didn’t. And that’s part of the my “character pieces”. Wish I had been able to say “screw it” years ago – but again, I couldn’t or wasn’t ready or didn’t know how. I’m still not there… not fully… but I’m taking steps. Like being here. And that, too, is part of my “character piece”.

      LOL!~ One of the messages I got as a kid (not in a complimentary way all the time) was “you’re such a character” or “don’t be such a character”. And now I’m wanting to be a character! Go figure!

    • Rachel

      I hear you on this, Sarah. I have this really positive, enthusiastic and vivacious energy about me. I was chatting w/ an acquaintance the other night and when I enthusiastically asked her about something she said, she reacted with this kind of “hold on, calm down” response. While part of me was a little hurt by her response, I realized inside that she just didn’t appreciate my special energy and “zest for life”. Like you, I would rather stay vivacious and passionate, deriving joy in even the smallest things, than be boring or jaded by life.

      I remember something Lou Sparks Smith, a poet/artist, said (and I’m paraphrasing)…I am too much for others; not enough for some; but for myself, I am enough.

      To boldness and vivaciousness…

      ~ Rachel

    • Joecheray

      ha mine was some where close to this I grew up in the era of “Children should be seen and not heard” well ok I had grandparents that were born in that era and passed it onto my generation.

      To some degree I can see that but children also need to be able to express themselves. I had great ideas that no one would ever know about because I was the wallflower barely being noticed. As a blogger it is out of the question being seen and not heard. I have something to say and I plan on saying it to the chagrin or delight of anyone who may read what I have to say.

  • http://www.ginaparris.com GinaParris

    Oh I love this. I remember once in grade school when the class looked at a picture of a laughing hyena and somehow one of my friends blurted out ‘just like Gina, Gina, the laughing hyena!” (yep, I’ve laughed ‘too much” my whole life.) In that moment they were all laughing at me and not with me, and it was not the greatest feeling.
    It wasn’t until decades later, after coming through a serious post-partum depression that I would embrace my sense of humor again and just enjoy it.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      To this day, I sometimes think back at embarrassing moments as a child and cringe. I feel shame and sometimes i unfairly judge the little me as adult me. Then I step into my 31-year-old shoes and be gentle with that little girl. She did nothing wrong.

      You could never laugh too much. Bring on the laughter, Gina!

      • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

        Thanks for sharing this Reese… I thought I was the only one who looked back at embarassing moments as a kid (thing I said, thought and did) and cringed. In fact, I think a big part of what has kept me from being me and embracing me has been the judgments I’ve had about that… what you say unfairly judging the little me as the adult me. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need to keep telling myself that she did nothing wrong… or, because sometimes I did do something wrong, that it didn’t necessarily mean that something was wrong with ME.

        • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

          Ahhh Teresa, nice to see you here :)

          My adult me judges the kid so harshly, it’s ridiculous.

          Then I try to think…what if the 10-year-old isn’t me? What if it’s another little girl? Would I be this horrific to her? Or would i be kind and gentle, and tell her that I think she’s doing the best she can?

          Because really, that’s what we did. We did the best we could.

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      Hey Gina..

      Thanks for sharing… it brought back not-so-pleasant memories of being laughed at. And also had me realize that many times my “laughing so hard” or “laughing too much” has been a protective device… a way of hiding the pain. Almost like if I laugh at myself first, it won’t hurt so much when they laugh at me. Ouch!

    • http://artfulsynchronicity.blogspot.com/ LissaBee Creations

      I have always been told that I laugh too much. For me, I think it is a device I used to hide behind. I was painfully shy when I was a young girl. Perhaps I need to explore what I truly find amusing. Any thoughts?

      • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

        Movies and books are good places to start…to see where your level of humor is. For example, there’s these books by Chelsea Handler, that many people think are a hoot. I picked one up, and it really wasn’t me at all.

        Contrast this with the book “The Honk and Holler Opening Soon” or many of Geneen Roth’s books. I find myself snorting in the middle of them, delighted beyond belief.

        Look at it this way, Lissa…now’s a chance for you to rediscover yourself. A journey! Go. read. Watch. Delve into TV, too. Do it alone. React however you react. If you find Friends lame but Seinfeld amusing, that’s you! It doesn’t matter that 10 million people loved Friends. Find what Lissa loves…and bring on the laughter, chiquita.

        • Joecheray

          OMG yes lol and thank you. I have thought the same thing. I find what I love and screw what other people do or say about it.

      • http://www.ginaparris.com GinaParris

        Ha ha! But I honestly just think things are funny! My mom says I was born this way – I was a happy baby, so I figure if people think I laugh “too much” its because they just don’t see the humor like I do. My clients love the way they can call me completely sick with anger or disappointment and I can turn it around and re-wire them to be able to laugh at the situation. (Even with pretty traumatic stuff) I recommend permission to see the lighter side of things and to embrace the big picture of being loved, and safe, and free. (Oh yeah, I failed to mention that I also cry at the drop of a hat – like over a sappy commercial. But still – its cause I enjoy my emotions.)

      • http://valeriehart.com/ Valerie Hart

        Hey Melissa! Great to see you here! Can you imagine!!! being told you “laugh too much” OMG!! Laughter is the language of the soul…

    • Anonymous

      Hi Gina…

      I’ve been accused of laughing too much in my own life also. I’m sure some have even found it annoying and so be it.

      Personally, I think the majority of the world takes itself too seriously and gets too bogged down by the weight of life. I think the world needs more laughter and that we should count ourselves among the special ones who already do (laugh)!

      ~ Rachel

  • Anonymous

    Reese – wonderful post. Instead of being told I was too sensitive – my first grade teacher told me my parents wanted me to be perfect. But my first brush outside the cocoon was in kindergarten, when this only child encountered meanness for the first time ever, as the other girls in my class ostracized me and called me Fatso. I love the idea of gathering up the pieces of ourselves we miss the most. For me, reading The Artist’s Way was the path to doing this…

    I love this line: “we are a garden of tealights as children, and then people begin to cart pieces of us away”….

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      thanks Amanda!

      What is it with 1st grade teachers? LOL.

      I’m an only child, too. I think in some ways we probably had it tougher in school than kids with (especially) older siblings, who would toughen them up.

      You read the Artist’s Way, too! It’s helped me immensely.

      I’m honored you shared your 1st grade story here. That’s not easy. Thank you for telling us about it.

      • http://www.nuwomb.com Scott Webb

        OK – I’m really interested in finding out more about your experience with the Artist’s way. Expect an email sometime :)

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      Your words “when this only child encountered meanness for the first time ever”… and being called names really resonated with me and is stirring up some memories and new perceptions of those memories for me… so thanks for sharing that Amanda!

    • http://www.nuwomb.com Scott Webb

      I am actually reading the Artist’s Way right now. I’ve read up to the first week and had it sitting around waiting for tonight to being the weeks properly. Had an Artist Date for 2 hours with my camera this morning and journaling every morning too.

      Since grabbing this book a week ago, I’ve seen it come up in so many places. It’s great to be reminded you’re on the right track!

      Remember that there is a lesson in that grade 1 experience. These people were there not to actually be great teachers in the true sense, but they were there to teach us regarding that experience.

  • http://www.nuwomb.com Scott Webb

    I hold a pen or pencil in a really weird way. My grade 3 teacher scolded me for the way I held the writing/drawing utensil. She tried everything to change me. She even made me put weird plastic things on my pencils to make me hold them correctly. She also said I was cheating at my math because I did so well. Grade 3. Seriously?

    Whatever. I still hold the pen and pencil the same way. My printing and lettering is awesome. People wonder if they should hold the pencil like me and maybe it will improve their drawing and lettering. My hand doesn’t hurt and I didn’t conform at the early age of 8. I remember complaining to my parents about this teacher because I wasn’t as creative and didn’t feel myself when holding the pencil the other way.

    Embrace the differences! My sketchbooks are filled with drawings and sketches because of holding a pen, marker, and pencil in a weird way.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Clearly there’s a pattern here of assbutt teachers. Cheating in 3rd grade? Honestly!

      I think you holding your pen/pencil differently probably tapped into your most creative self somehow. Love that to this day, you hold that part of you up and say “Hey world, I hold my pen funny. So what?”

      • http://www.nuwomb.com Scott Webb

        Yeah, there are very few outstanding teachers. Teacher’s in the system actually start to scare me. I hear about pensions and countdowns to Summer vacation. Countdowns that would put student countdowns to shame!

        The fortunate thing was that I had a teacher for both Grade 7 and Grade 8 (same teacher and he also taught my father back in grade 8 as well – i know wild). I actually think of this teacher on a regular basis. I thought of him just this morning. A teacher that can express belief within a student will go along way. This teacher never tried to change me, he tried to bring out the odd parts that made me who I was. He enjoyed getting my creative writing every week. While I was outstanding in math, he would tell my parents that I he saw me going on to be a journalist or something to do with my creative writing. Here I am trying to improve my own writing and working on a number of blogs.

        Although I’ve yet to achieve mass readership, and followers, I know in my heart that he would be super proud to know that I was pursuing these passions and dreams today. Embracing people for who they are will instill so much power within them over time. I think it’s important to remind people, in many ways, that you believe in them. Create a place that people feel safe to trust themselves and they’ll be able to embrace the things that make them unique. The scariest thing to hear from children is that they just want to fit in. I would love if this cycle never began for children – it sucks waiting until 30 years old or 50 or 70 to start to feel like you again.

    • http://twitter.com/mckra1g mckra1g

      I truly think that neural pathways extend throughout our bodies and that the configuration of your hand was the logical exit point of your ideas. Learning isn’t about control. Teachers who insist upon foisting their preferences on their charges instead of celebrating the differences and learning *from* their students…they really sadden me. I pity them, because somewhere along the way, they were hurt and now they are perpetuating that pain onto others.

      • http://www.nuwomb.com Scott Webb

        That’s a really great belief! I can only agree! I love it – “…was the logical exit point of your ideas.”

        I think there is something to explore when it comes to the psychology of being a teacher. I’ve heard of so few great ones and so many terrible one.

    • http://www.internet-bard.com KatFrench

      Scott –I also hold pens and pencils in an odd way, and on top of that I’m left-handed, which some teachers still tried to “train out of me”. But like you, I have lovely penmanship.

      Didn’t get accused of cheating in math, but I did get eliminated from a poster contest for our book fair in 3rd grade because the teacher insisted I couldn’t have done the piece myself.

      • http://www.nuwomb.com Scott Webb

        I guess we can only think they tried to do what they thought was right. I – now – imagine how their schooling was like and I can see it being a totally different vibration. Generational at that. They probably thought every person must be right handed. Think back even further and someone using their left hand may have been seen as a witch.

        It’s almost as if people are fearful of others when they’re a bit different. As well, you can really start to notice how low their mental ceiling truly is. People are so quick to judge and so quick to discount anything they can’t imaging being able to do.

    • Joecheray

      I wonder about those teachers who have never encountered a disabled person who has had to hold there writing utensils differently because there hands or fingers didn’t work like other normal people.

      My son is disabled and holds his pencil differently then I do and I have a partially paralyzed right hand which is the one I write with so I now have to make adjustments in the way I write and type.

      I really struggle to understand the meaness of some teachers. I have had some teachers that were pretty mean and I hated every one of them.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    OK people, the song’s by Frou Frou, not Imogen Heap (but that’s really a tweak, since Imogen is the lady who is in Frou Frou.)

    It was made popular by the movie Garden State, which I think is a lovely representation of embracing one’s quirks. Zach Braff wrote it in college, and it’s a oddball, sweet, funny, highly memorable movie, and not remotely up to Hollywood’s generally formulaic standards. :)

    • http://www.nuwomb.com Scott Webb

      Garden State is an outstanding movie! One I want to watch again and again. I forget who I lent my copy to…. :(

  • http://www.elianevans.com Elian Evans

    Gosh I had so many “childhood tramas” thanks to my early school days. One that I remember from first or second grade was being labeled “chatter box” from a teacher… around 4th or 5th grade I was made of via versions of my last name (maiden name). Yuck!

    Thanks for the great post… btw I love your design work as well.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Thanks Elian!
      There were a few years I was told I talked too much. I understand teachers need to have a quiet class so they can do their thing, but it’s interesting how many resort to labels…instead of calmly explaining there’s a time to talk and a time not to talk.
      Did you start to change yourself based on feedback? What made that girl happy so long ago? Can you find those parts of her today and kindly bring them back into your life, bit by bit?

  • http://twitter.com/mckra1g mckra1g

    What a beautiful post. For me, it was age 11: “boys don’t like smart girls.” Chip. Chip. Chip.

    I really can’t add anything. I’ve shifted into contemplation mode: The tumblers are clicking and I’m processing this post.

    My thanks for being here today. Best, M.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi M,
      If boys don’t like smart girls, do we become quieter? Do we pretend we know less?
      Funny how there are ‘traditional’ paths that schools want us to take: be quiet. get good grades. know your place. marry some nice boy. have X number of children. contribute to society in XYZ ways.

      But what if those paths aren’t for people like you and me? What if our paths look different? Where are the places in school for us?

      I was blessed to have strong, supportive parents who stood up for me and raised me to be a self-sufficient woman. But the voices from school rang for years. I learned to change who I was to fit in. Today I say no more.

      Thanks for processing…and for YOU being here. I look forward to any flashes of insight that come to you later :)

      • http://twitter.com/mckra1g mckra1g

        For me, it started as couching my answers to questions – framing them so as not to sound like a “know it all.” It eventually morphed into questioning my own opinions/POV/base of knowledge.

        Somewhere around age 32, I realized that my pretending wasn’t fooling anyone and that it made me feel not only false, but diminished.

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      Ouch! Didn’t even remember that one, Molly… but as soon as I read your post, I realized that was one I heard too. And I was smart. And sometimes (I regret to say) I used that being smart to “show off” or think I was better than other people (especially BOYS!). Which probably didn’t make me too likable either. But all of that is part of the ME I need to embrace… the pieces I need to pick up because they are all part of who I am. Thanks!

  • http://www.shiftfwd.com Naomi Niles

    Aw, this is lovely. I wish you had a blog so I could read you more. I’m dead serious. Can you tell? Really. I too, have always been labeled too sensitive. I tried to run away from it for years, but one can’t run away from who one is. I recently decided to only take on new work that I totally feel in alignment with. I don’t like to refuse people, but working on stuff that doesn’t bring me joy affects me way too much to make it worthwhile.I was a spacey kid. I used to sing to myself, make up stories in my head, think about why rocks have glitter in them. Basically everything but pay attention. My kindergarten teacher tried to have me held back and for several years, I had to take special classes for “slow” kids. Until one day I figured out that if I paid attention I wouldn’t have to take those boring classes any more.I miss having the time to sit quietly for an hour or two and just space out and think about whatever I want. Maybe I should do it again.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      “Slow kids”? Good grief. You didn’t fit the mold, so you were labeled slow. Yet I know you as anything but.

      I hated paying attention in class, too. I’d be reading way ahead of everyone, but suffering in math. The proficiency in one, and deficiency in the other made it tough for me not to space out in school. I had better things to do! LOL :)

      Somewhere in my gut I knew there was a reason I felt connected to you in a different sort of way.

      “I miss having time to sit quietly for an hour or two and just space out…”

      When I don’t take time for this, I’m more stressed, anxious. I feel somehow less complete, like I’ve missed doing something important that week and feel a sense of loss.

      When you take the time to honor that part of you that needs the space out time, you’ll find your work improves. Your relationships get better. Everything shifts to a more sane and easy mode.

      It’s tough to let ourselves take this time. Some adult inside of us lectures “oh, it’s a waste of time,” and we think we’re being inefficient, and that other people’s needs (clients, family, whatever) are more important than our space out time.

      But they’re not. Our ability to bring beauty to the world is dependent on how often we take the time to honor our true needs and selves. Count on an email from me once in a while nudging you to do this. :)

      • http://www.shiftfwd.com Naomi Niles

        “Somewhere in my gut I knew there was a reason I felt connected to you in a different sort of way.”

        I knew it too. :)

        “When I don’t take time for this, I’m more stressed, anxious. I feel somehow less complete, like I’ve missed doing something important that week and feel a sense of loss. ”

        Exactly. I’ve been feeling like I’m on a crazy roller coaster the last few years and I have the feeling this is why. The roller coaster/life is passing me by too quickly feeling is not exactly something I enjoy.

        “But they’re not. Our ability to bring beauty to the world is dependent on how often we take the time to honor our true needs and selves. Count on an email from me once in a while nudging you to do this. :)”

        Yay!! I love getting emails from you, always.

        Also, I changed my mind about what I said. You can write a blog or not. Just write more in any format and I’ll read it. hee hee.

      • Joecheray

        Naomi and Reese I was the same way in grade school I just felt that the way they were teaching reading was boring it never challenged me to think. So instead I too was labled “slow” and put in to “title 1″ reading classes. When I became a little older like around in 5th grade I found my moms romance novels that she left behind when she abandoned us. I took a few into my room and read each one and then cycled them out. By the time I was in HS I finally was caught up on the reading level I was supposed to be at and then some.

        The thing with romance novels is that they took place in settings that challenged my mind to think. As a creative I wanted to see into the writers mind to figure out what she was thinking when she wrote the novel. I would see words and first learned what they meant by finding context clues and then later I would look a few of them up to see what they actually meant vs what I thought they meant. Have to say I was pretty close most of the time.

        My love of reading stemmed from this process and I learned also how to become a well thought out writer as well.

        I could never wrap my head around the tedious process of learning how to diagram a sentence.

    • http://theclickstarter.com David Wang

      Yes I agree, Reese should start a blog of her own. C’mon Reese! You know how to do it!

      • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

        Oh, you and Naomi are making me blush like a mad fool :)
        Let’s say this little adventure here is a foray into seeing whether I’d really like to blog.

        • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

          Okay.. then I’m going to make sure you turn BEET red… because I agree. I would read a blog by you any day and every day if you wrote one! :-)

          • http://twitter.com/DooneyPug Lori Finnigan

            Ok going from BEET red to totally on fire. I am in agreement with all. Reese should do a blog. Do we need to start a Facebook petition a la Betty White?

  • Anonymous

    What a beautiful post Reese. I am reminded of my painfully shy son in kindergarten when the teacher’s asked why he didn’t smile more. “Because I don’t feel like smiling sometimes” was the answer. Luckily he didn’t share the same experience as you in First, and he’s been able to be accepted for the not-so-happy-go-lucky gem that he is!

    Rock on with your rabid reading!

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Thank you, Linda. Your son is gifted to have you as a mom–that you accept where he’s at and roll with it. You sound like an amazing mom :)

  • http://www.sundaynightsuccess.com Jeremie

    For me it wasn’t so much an authority figure that changed a part of me, it was my peers. I was a geeky kid: I played with Star Wars toys, I played video games, I played role playing games, I read non-stop to the point of not socializing on school bus rides, I wrote science fiction and fantasy, I was happy to be alone a lot of the time. I had a few geeky good friends and I was happy.

    High school hit and I realized that the geeks got eaten alive. I was also good at most sports, played hockey, skied, and was really good at volley ball. It was a much safer and easier path for me in high school to hide my geeky side away and let people see the parts of me that they saw as acceptable. I managed to eek out a good but not great existence in high school, hovering on the edges of the popular crowd, but never being quite “in” that crowd.

    I hit university and again saw that everyone wanted to hang out with people who partied and were crazy, so I went into chameleon mode once again and became that person. I did all of the things that I knew would help me be successful in that peer group.

    I was lucky though. Although I morphed into certain roles to fit in, I always kept up my geeky interests, and had my geeky friends, I just kept them quiet and lived a bit of a dual life. In the end I am mostly thankful for my dual life as I have a lot more skills to draw upon than if I had of just been my geeky self.

    In the end I think I ended up being a better balanced person, and a stronger person, because now I am very comfortable embracing my geekiness and sharing it with the world. If I hadn’t played some of those other roles, and had those experiences I don’t think I would be as outgoing as I am and able to share myself with the world the way I do.

    So, I guess I see a benefit, in my life, to the people that tried to change me, or tried to get me to leave something behind, because by doing so they helped me see other parts of my life that I may have never explored. All of these different roles helped me be the unique person I am today. Yes, some of the roles were worn because I felt it was necessary, but I still think I learned a great deal from living those roles.

    Here is my positive perspective on this then: I am thankful that, over time, I have left parts of me behind because now I get to rediscover those parts, choose which ones are really great, and re-add them to the ever changing puzzle that is me.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Jeremie,
      I like your way of looking at it, and as I think back on the ways in which I changed myself, too, I see that along the way, I picked up a lot of interesting skills that serve me to this day. And you’re right–it’s like a great adventure of discovery :)

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      Hey Jeremie…

      As I read your post, I was doing mental “check marks” in my mind… I could RELATE to so much of your story… especially school years. Except I didn’t have the good sense to stay connected to my “not-in-the-in-crowd” friends… and I lost out on a lot as a result… including a bunch of pieces of myself. And so I’m learning now…

      • http://www.sundaynightsuccess.com Jeremie

        Those friends were my lifeline to who I really was, and still are. I have known my two best friends since grade 7, so we are going on, wow, 24 years of being there for each other. When we are together we are never afraid to be ourselves and have a great time.

        Reading everyone’s posts it seems that strong relationships are one thing that can help us all through these times of leaving parts of ourselves behind, or forgetting who we are. If we have these friends, or family ties we have someone who anchors us, and we may stray for awhile, but we always have someone helping us come back to who we are.

        My wife plays a big role in this now as she has accepted me for the true geek that I am (although I still can’t convince her to come to Comicon when my son gets older) and loves me for it. That love gives me the strength to continue being who I really am.

        So, maybe a great question to ask is: who in your life helps you find these pieces and put them back together into your true self? If you don’t have these people, how can you find them? (this place seems to be perfect for this).

        • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

          Thanks for this Jeremie! Did you include WISE on your list from Andrea’s post in terms of who you are? If not, you need to add it! I’m starting to find those people and bring back some from the past… so I’m getting there. And I’m HERE… which is a great place too! Thanks again!

    • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

      What a great way to look at and explain how you journeyed! It is amazing how you can look back over times (good and bad) and realize that you got something from every experience – whether you realized it at the time or not!

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Hey Reese…

    I’m so glad this post came today… on a “non-regular” work day when I have some space to be with this and with me even more. (Not like I think I’ll have it all figured out in one day, though!)

    I love your post… and it describes exactly where I’m at in my life. The process I’m going through. I think I even “knew” it was coming… because the past few days (since Andrea’s post), I’ve had memories of what I was like as a kid (long forgotten) start to surface. And I had the intuitive sense that these memories are guiding me back to me.

    Having said that, I also have to say that – simply reading your post and some of the others – I feel nauseous, fearful, sad (tears at the back of my eyes that won’t come out). Angry too. A part of me wants to run away – to distract myself in work or cleaning the house or even commenting on this blog all day. But that’s what I’ve done all my life… I’ve run away from me.

    And I have a hunch that none of my ‘childhood traumas” have wounded me as much as that one… me running away from me. Me abandoning me. Me leaving those pieces of me behind… and even when I’ve been given opportunities (like today) to begin to pick them up…and not doing so for fear of what others will think, for fear I won’t be loved, for fear I won’t succeed, for fear I won’t make money, for fear of the pain and shame and grief and anger, for fear of what I’ll find… just FOR FEAR. (With just a little bit of “I want someone else to fix it for me” thrown in!) Shattering – that’s what it’s been. (Figuratively and literally).

    So today… just for today… I will stay here. With me. And start to remember and reclaim some of those pieces… as the GIFT they are… even the “ugly” ones that are part of my character…and my beauty.

    You’ve touched me with your words… I’ve touched myself with my own words replying to you. So thank you. Thank Me. :-)

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      awww, you’re welcome.

      I know. it’s hard. It’s cringeworthy. I think of some of the ways in which other kids cut me down, and the shame is raw, still. I want to run from it. So I empathize. And I’m proud of you for pushing through…for taking these moments today to think and reflect and go back to that younger you and find all those worthy pieces.
      xoxo

      • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

        Thanks! What a GIFT your post has been for me. Both in inviting me to go back and look and feel and sweep up and clean up and gather it all together into my heart. But also in what it is creating here with all the posts… each of which is bringing back memories and pieces I might not have remembered myself. AND – best of all – what a gift to (1) be out in the open about it and (2) to realize I’m not the only one. Thank you AND thanks to you, too, Sarah!

    • Anonymous

      Oh Teresa, isn’t it funny how we all seem to be in such similar places in our lives at the same time??

      “And I have a hunch that none of my ‘childhood traumas’ have wounded me as much as that one… me running away from me.”

      For so many reasons, and yet for all the same reasons, we all seem to have done that. I don’t think the adults in our lives ever had any idea that what they said or did (or didn’t say or didn’t d0) had the effect on us that any of it did. But our little child minds weren’t able to understand and process it, and as the years went on, we just ran further and further away from ourselves, didn’t we? All of it lead to so many of the same fears – and all of those fears have held us back from so many things.

      Everyone’s stories have been so touching! I know that for me, hearing that I’m “not the only one” will help me keep moving forward. And I know that the choices I make the rest of my life will come from a very different place than before.

      • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

        Isn’t it amazing how we all have shared such similar experiences yet we all thought we were alone and tried to hid them from others lest they find out and we not fit in or be accepted? I don’t know about you… but this post today has been very freeing for me. Thanks Reese!

        • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

          I think it is absolutely sad that everyone – and I believe that everyone has – had to go through things alone! at some point, every stops and thinks they can’t share that – they can’t say that – nobody will help, nobody will understand… and you have to admit that when we finally do share or speak, it is not true – people DO understand, people DO help! :) ahhhh lessons… :)

      • http://twitter.com/DooneyPug Lori Finnigan

        Lori, you hit the nail on the head for me. Although we all have different childhood experiences, the point is to draw from what we have and where we’ve been and never stop improving, growing, learning, loving. Continue to put one foot in front of the other and don’t give up. As my mom would say everytime I get upset with my cluttered house “Pick up a dish, you gotta start somewhere”.

        • Anonymous

          You’re exactly right, Lori. We just have to keep moving forward and realize that we have the power to change the present and the future – we aren’t stuck in the past if we don’t choose to be.

          And your mom is right. Just one little step can help you chart a whole new course.

    • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

      Wow Teresa!

      I think no matter what the ‘real’ you is in there that you know is there and that you won’t fully take the leash and muzzle off of? – I really do believe that I would still really really like that person… I’m 99.99~ sure! :) Just saying…

      • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

        Thanks for that… I think it really comes down to me really liking that person… ALL of that person. And THAT person would be ME! :-)

        • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

          ABSO-F*CKING-LUTELY!!! 1) it ALL comes down to YOU liking YOU!!! and 2) THAT person IS YOU!! & 3) I think YOU are pretty great :)

          • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

            Just getting back to reading comments from Reese’s post. Thanks for this Shelly… I needed it today. The chuckle it brought forth, the smile on my face and the support. Thanks!

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    Reese – thank you for this post this morning. :)

    As I read through the article and the comments, I reflected on what came to mind for myself. The big one was always being quiet and shy – which a lot of people took as snobby or giving the cold shoulder! It was just because I didn’t quite know how to relate to people. And I still struggle with it today! I’m quiet around people I don’t know well, and it takes me quite a while to really warm up to someone well enough to speak up and join in the conversation. Unless there have been a few glasses of wine involved, of course… ;)

    On the other side of that, when I’m around someone I’m comfortable with and know well, like my boyfriend of 3 years, or my family, I can be quite talkative, and when I get excited about something, I’m actually loud! My boyfriend points this out frequently – I’ll get all fired up about something and be telling him about it, and he’ll ask, “Why are you yelling?” Now I’ll be able to answer with, “Because this is who I am!” and instead of feeling guilty or wrong about it, I can just talk loudly and excitedly! :P haha

    I was homeschooled, so managed to escape the meanness of other kids at that young age. I’ve still always just felt out of place, awkward, like I didn’t fit in anywhere. To this day, I still feel it when I’m in a group of people.

    I’m going to continue to reflect on this today and see what else comes out for me, those pieces of me that it’s time to pick back up…. :)

    • http://alexiapetrakos.com Alexia

      I can relate to shy being misinterpreted.

      I was called a stuck-up bitch behind my back several times because I didn’t talk much. Loud extroverts scared me as a kid/teen and still do to some extent so I would avoid ‘em.

      • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

        Oye – I hear ya! It sucks… But great to connect with others who have been/are there, isn’t it?

        I’m glad to meet you, Alexia! :)

        • http://alexiapetrakos.com Alexia

          Yes. the internet is a wonderful place ;) Glad to meet you too, Jess!

    • Anonymous

      Hi Jess! Yes, why do people so often equate being shy with being a snob? I was always shy as a child and was never comfortable around people I don’t know well, but being a snob has absolutely nothing to do with it.

      I totally relate to the feeling of not fitting in when you’re in a group of people.

      There are a lot of pieces to go back and pick up, aren’t there?

      • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

        Yeah, the whole shy thing has definitely been misinterpreted so many times. Is that because you’re only considered friendly if you’re outgoing and talkative? How did that happen? Hmmm….

        I’ve been soooo thankful for the gift of the Internet to be able to connect with people like I so rarely can in “real life”. And I feel a bit “guilty” about that too, like I *should* be able to connect better in person, I *shouldn’t* be better at doing it online…. Wow, didn’t see that one coming when I started this comment!

        I think the key for myself is to just learn to be comfortable with who I am and how I relate to people. To not beat myself up for not being outgoing, to go out and be in groups and be comfortable being quiet and interacting as I am able. Instead of feeling awkward and guilty for not being more talkative. Hmmmm…. Reminds me of the Live in the Moment principles – that’s key with this, to just be in the moment, to be comfortable with who I am in the moment, to be comfortable just BEING. :)

        Go figure… ;)

        The pieces are starting to come back, slowly but surely. I guess slowly is better anyway, as we need time to get re-aquainted….

        • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

          Yowza! Can I relate to you on this one Jess!

          “I’ve been soooo thankful for the gift of the Internet to be able to connect with people like I so rarely can in “real life”. And I feel a bit “guilty” about that too, like I *should* be able to connect better in person, I *shouldn’t* be better at doing it online…” I’m still new to this Social Media world… but there’s a part of me that is already experiencing what you describe.

          • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

            Nice to know I’m not the only one… Let’s kick that guilt out together and ROCK this awesome and REAL community online! :)

          • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

            By the way, Did you happen to see Allison Nazarian’s post on Elizabeth PW’s blog the other day about “Fake” Friends? It’s about this exactly… ;)

            http://elizabethpottsweinstein.com/fake

          • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

            Yes I did! And LOVED it (and was blown away too!) So – here we are… ROCKING it out! :-)

          • http://twitter.com/DooneyPug Lori Finnigan

            That was a great post. I thought she was reading my mind, seriously. I have met so many people of all walks of life and am enjoying every minute of it. My family doesn’t quite understand it, and they think I might self-combust if I am not holding my iPhone. I just laugh. They are the ones missing out IMHO.

            On a side note, I am trying to talk my daughter into doing this 30 day #CIP. Any words of wisdom to convince her?

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Jess,
      Your words made me nod, smile, and laugh (especially the wine. ha!). I imagine the shift from home schooled to ‘real world’ may have been quite a shock to the system.

      I can empathize and relate to not feeling like you fit in with a group of people. Just today I took a break out by a lake–where summer vacation kids stood together on a doc. Maybe ages 11-13. I imagined myself in that group as a girl, and knew it would have been awkward. I would have been an out lier.

      And that’s ok. Who says we need to fit into groups to bring something amazing to this world?

      • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

        “Who says we need to fit into groups to bring something amazing to this world?”

        Reese, that is so true! My value is not how or where I fit in…. ;)

    • Mary Havlicek

      “when I get excited about something, I’m actually loud! ”

      I get like that – it’s like I don’t know my own volume!

      “I’ve still always just felt out of place, awkward, like I didn’t fit in anywhere. To this day, I still feel it when I’m in a group of people.”

      I’m much the same way. I do so much better in small groups or one-on-one. And the Internet has made meeting people and getting to know them so much easier for me.

      • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

        “Like I don’t know my own volume” – that’s exactly it! I have no idea that I’m apparently being so loud! heehee

        Yes, the Internet has been a wonderful tool, and has given me the chance to make so many WONDERFUL friends from all around the world. :)

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      I hear you Jess.. and I’m going to try that now too…
      “I’ll get all fired up about something and be telling him about it, and he’ll ask, “Why are you yelling?” Now I’ll be able to answer with, “Because this is who I am!” and instead of feeling guilty or wrong about it, I can just talk loudly and excitedly!”

      • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

        Yay! ;)

    • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

      I so agree with the first meeting of people and the glasses of wine making me more social! I always like to take time to sit back and abserve and feel things out before jumping in… but wine, well – takes those steps out :) – but I AM getting better all the time about it – without the wine! HA

  • http://twitter.com/LotusAmy Amy Miyamoto

    Reese I love the flavor of human beauty you bring to this journey of recapturing all of the yummy nuggets of ourselves that have been chipped away over the years. When I think back, I can connect to the residue of the message that I internalized early on that turning down the volume on my light was much more comfortable for many of the people around me..and from the perspective of a little girl – dimming the light equated to safe and loved. I too have been on a powerful yet often bumpy path of reintegrating all of the chipped away parts of my most authentic self – thank you for the continued inspiration to keep expanding into my unique light! ;)
    Amy

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Amy,
      “dimming the light equated to safe and loved.”

      As children, our instinct is to survive, to protect ourselves, and to receive love at pretty much any and all costs.

      So our challenge is to recognize that and find this balance between our adult ‘hats’ and child selves, and bring them together in an empathetic way. The adult part of us may feel really lame ‘expanding into our light.’ We’ll tell ourselves that’s psychobabble or fluff, but there’s a kid in us who still wants to be recognized in that way.

      I’m so glad this helps inspire you to find that within yourself again.

  • Donegan Susan

    Reese, thank you for this and for getting me to realize that it wasn’t really an authority figure that toned down my personality, it was actually me.

    It was me, that became quiet and shy as I started looking around and comparing myself to the other girls in my class and feeling like I wasn’t “enough”. I grew up in a neighborhood filled with boys and I played kickball, spud, ghost in the graveyard and fought in crab apple wars with the best of them. Then, we all got a little older and it all changed. My name is Susan or Sue for short and one day, one of the neighborhood boys was calling out my name like you call a pig…Suuuuueeeeee. I was not a tiny little thing but I was not a big huge whale either, I was healthy and strong but that didn’t matter, that name calling sure did hurt. And, it did change me, I was a quieter, more subdued and very aware and concerned about what others thought about me. Ugggh!

    As I matured, I got over it and understand it was all part of the birds and the bees growing up…but it did have an effect on me. I can occasionally feel that insecure, questioning itself, psyche want to rear it’s ugly head but it doesn’t get very far anymore, I have it trained!

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      Thanks for sharing your story Susan…. I could really realte to it and your feeling of you not being “enough”. And how name calling hurt. and How you became more quiet and shy and caring what people think. Reading your post and all of the others is bringing back manyof the memories that have been dormant…and giving me access to the pieces of me I can gather back. Thank you!

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      You were an astute kid, Susan…you picked up on signals from other kids, and adjusted (toned down) parts of yourself.

      I think that being quiet was your way of helping ensure you wouldn’t get picked on as much. You protected yourself that way.

      Our psyches will likely always have these little bits that come back and scold us and make us question ourselves. As it sounds like you’ve found, it’s through consistent, gentle training and shifting we can turn that voice down and bring out the stuff that makes us beautiful.

  • http://valeriehart.com/ Valerie Hart

    Hi Reese, This was a lovely post but also painful… Not only to read yours, but asking us to revisit our own moments.

    My moment was, sadly delivered by my father when I was about 8 years old and I presented him my latest and greatest “work of art” — a drawing of Pluto (the dog) done with a variety of colored crayons in my little green sketchbook. My father’s “critique” of my work was that “really good artists” don’t just copy other drawings but that they create from their own imaginations… Of course at 8 years old I did not have a clue what he meant. I tried to do what he said and painted a landscape, but it was awful, …and that was the last entry in my little green sketchbook.

    I still feel really sad that he didn’t give that little budding artist some encouragement and some l-o-v-e for what she had created… [sigh]

    Because my artistic talent and ability to draw was never pointed as anything “special”, I always felt pretty indifferent about it. I thought that everybody could draw like I could…

    But deep down in my soul, I knew I was an artist… And I knew I needed to be creative.

    Now I embrace “everything about being an artist” and living the creative life and business that I have always wanted.

    [big sigh] This class is hard…

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      Hey Valerie…

      I was moved by your post and by your honesty and vulnerability. And especially by your [big sigh] “This class is hard.” I just wanted to reach out and hug you AND hug that little eight-year old with her green sketchbook.

      I thank you for sharing that story, too, because it reminded me of a critique I got of something I drew in first grade. Don’t remember what it was – but I’m pretty sure was of a flower or maybe a person. But I loved it and had a fun time drawing it. I showed it to my first grade teacher and she told me that I had to outline everything in black. I didn’t want to – because I think I painted a yellow flower or had a flesh-colored face… and it didn’t make sense to me to outline those things in black crayon when that’s not what they really look like. But she said that’s the “right way”. And you know what? I’ve been drawing black lines around me ever since… need to have a border or outline to “contain” it. To contain me. Even if it doesn’t feel right or look right or seem right. Since someone [in authority] told me that it was the “right way”… I acquiesced.

      How about if we both let ourselves out during these 30 days to see what we discover… with all the pieces we can gather up?

      • http://valeriehart.com/ Valerie Hart

        Thank you Teresa for your lovely feedback and for your {hugs}.

        I can see what’s happening here… by telling the stories about ourselves, the moments and snippets of a bad or humiliating experience or a rejection — we are revealing them to the ‘light of this community’ and by doing that — they loose their power over us…

        The secret or the mislabled little belief that we held about ourselves… [not to be revealed to anyone] is now allowing us to be free of it… It’s out! We are releasing the broken parts of ourselves that weren’t really true to begin with—we just thought they were…

        geezz… and it’s only day 5.

        • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

          “I can see what’s happening here… by telling the stories about ourselves, the moments and snippets of a bad or humiliating experience or a rejection — we are revealing them to the ‘light of this community’ and by doing that — they loose their power over us… ”

          Wow, that’s a powerful realization, Valerie! I can totally see it in myself, and reading through the conversations going on here is powerful and enlightening… Not to mention the awesome connection with other like-minded folks here. :)

          • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

            “I can see what’s happening here… by telling the stories about ourselves, the moments and snippets of a bad or humiliating experience or a rejection — we are revealing them to the ‘light of this community’ and by doing that — they loose their power over us… “

            I love this one, too.

            It’s funny how nervous I was in writing this. The shame of Mrs. A’s criticism, and many other things, still follow me. But in reading everyone’s BRAVE and raw responses, it’s taken a huge edge off that feeling.

        • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

          I’m with Jess & Reese on this one, Valerie. You expressed what I’ve been experiencing all day today perfectly…

          “I can see what’s happening here… by telling the stories about ourselves, the moments and snippets of a bad or humiliating experience or a rejection — we are revealing them to the ‘light of this community’ and by doing that — they loose their power over us…”

          (Hey REESE – how did you italicize this in your reply below?)

          Thank you Valerie…

          • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

            Hey T,
            Use the em tag. I can’t do the whole tag for you or else it won’t show up. do a google search on “em html” and it will show you how to do the tag :)

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Oh, Valerie…I’m hurting for you as I read your story.

      that little you with the pluto drawing just wanted some acknowledgment.

      it’s tough even as adults to not look to others–and to external recognition–to help determine our worth. and when we don’t receive that kind of recognition and encouragement when we’re little, we’re quick to dismiss our talents.

      to this day, I struggle with feeling like an artist. I know a lot of people love the work I do, but a few years ago, I got admonished publicly on another designer’s blog for pretty much ‘not knowing what I was talking about’. It still rings in my ears. I still wonder, if because I didn’t go get a design degree, can I really call myself an artist?

      But it’s not for others to decide. It is, indeed, the life I live, and it sounds like the life you live. We are artists because we have chosen to be so, and it pays our bills and it’s something we love.

      And as for your dad…check out this piece by a designer I admire:
      http://articles.sitepoint.com/article/copy-great-designers-steal

      the same goes for artists. All art begets art. My greatest work has come from times of heavy inspiration from other pieces. You drawing pluto was perfect. Perfect.

    • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

      Sometimes parents say things and they just don’t realize the impact… (I don’t know your dad obviously) – but I’ve heard some things come out of parent’s mouths and wonder “Did they mean THAT??”

      I hope you have picked back up that crayon (pen, pencil, paint) and started to draw again!

      • http://valeriehart.com/ Valerie Hart

        Thank you for your lovely support Shelly. And yes, my little “artist spirit” did not GIVE UP!

        I was the “class artist” all through grade school. A label I relished in! I did not get to go to art school… but after getting my business degree, I got a graphic artist job at a small publishing company. This started me on my 25 year career in advertising & marketing as a graphic designer, art director & creative director.

        Last year I left a position as Vice President & Creative Director of a small web design company because I “”really”” felt the inner urging to do my own artwork & painting. I’ve taken many art classes over the years and dabbled here and there but I’m really self-taught. I did/do love graphic design and I had a great career… My spirit has just moved to the next level.

        Now I am trying to figure out [with the help of the universe], this new creative path…

        Life is — too short — to not do what you L* O* V *E . . .

        • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

          Sounds like you made a good path, got some experience and decided what you wanted… now to just focus it and make it YOURS! :)

          and I SOOOOOO agree – life is to short not to do what you LOVE!!! :)

  • sarahrobinson

    Love this post Reese (of course I would!). I remember being afraid of being loud when I was young. “Don't call attention to yourself” was the admonishment. Even now – just yesterday in fact – I was told to “tone it down”. I am so glad that I realized that part of what I bring to the table is boldness. It may be messy and imperfect, but I'd rather live boldly (and what others consider to be loudly) than stand on the sidelines watching the world go by.

    And, as I told you the first time I read this, this post tells me a great deal about why you are such an amazing champion for the Young Turk. He is lucky to have you in his corner. :-)

  • http://alexiapetrakos.com Alexia

    My family always told me I was too sensitive. I cried (and still do to some extent) at just about everything. It’s just because things got so overwhelming at times… But the message I got was that something was wrong with me. That I was broken or faulty or bad.A lot of that has lingered on in voices in my head telling me I’m not worth going after what I want (although I have a crazy rebellious streak… self-repression + rebellion = very messed up head), that everyone else knew better about what was best for me, that I just needed to be quiet and follow along and not make waves and not be the intuitive, sensitive person I am because it freaks people out. And I always felt (still sometimes feel) like I have to apologize for myself.But I’m getting better.. :) I like who I am more & more each day and everyone else can go screw themselves as far as I’m concerned (sorry fam… but I am who I am). !;)

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Alexia,

      You and I should go hit up some movies like the Green Mile and the Notebook. I’m sure we’d scare away everyone in the room ;)

      Seriously, I’m a crier, too. And I’ve held it in for a long time. In the past few months, I’ve started to say “OK, why should I stop crying? What’s wrong with crying? It’s how I express myself, and isn’t this better than me lashing out at you inappropriately later?”

      If you gotta cry, go on. the world needs more of us. And you certainly aren’t freaking me out. I’m so glad you took the time to commnet!

    • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

      I am so glad that you are realizing that… and that you are getting better and better about it everyday! WOO HOO!

  • http://www.ginaparris.com GinaParris

    Oh I love this. I remember once in grade school when the class looked at a picture of a laughing hyena and somehow one of my friends blurted out 'just like Gina, Gina, the laughing hyena!” (yep, I've laughed 'too much” my whole life.) In that moment they were all laughing at me and not with me, and it was not the greatest feeling.
    It wasn't until decades later, after coming through a serious post-partum depression that I would embrace my sense of humor again and just enjoy it.

  • amandahirsch

    Reese – wonderful post. Instead of being told I was too sensitive – my first grade teacher told me my parents wanted me to be perfect. But my first brush outside the cocoon was in kindergarten, when this only child encountered meanness for the first time ever, as the other girls in my class ostracized me and called me Fatso. I love the idea of gathering up the pieces of ourselves we miss the most. For me, reading The Artist's Way was the path to doing this…

    I love this line: “we are a garden of tealights as children, and then people begin to cart pieces of us away”….

  • http://www.scottwebb.tv/ Scott Webb

    I hold a pen or pencil in a really weird way. My grade 3 teacher scolded me for the way I held the writing/drawing utensil. She tried everything to change me. She even made me put weird plastic things on my pencils to make me hold them correctly. She also said I was cheating at my math because I did so well. Grade 3. Seriously?

    Whatever. I still hold the pen and pencil the same way. My printing and lettering is awesome. People wonder if they should hold the pencil like me and maybe it will improve their drawing and lettering. My hand doesn't hurt and I didn't conform at the early age of 8. I remember complaining to my parents about this teacher because I wasn't as creative and didn't feel myself when holding the pencil the other way.

    Embrace the differences! My sketchbooks are filled with drawings and sketches because of holding a pen, marker, and pencil in a weird way.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    “Dont call attention to yourself”
    What a phrase. Think about those words. Think of what their meaning is as an adult. Don't do anything that would make you stand out, be successful, be more than.

    Of course, I love that you said screw that ;)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    To this day, I sometimes think back at embarrassing moments as a child and cringe. I feel shame and sometimes i unfairly judge the little me as adult me. Then I step into my 31-year-old shoes and be gentle with that little girl. She did nothing wrong.

    You could never laugh too much. Bring on the laughter, Gina!

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    thanks Amanda!

    What is it with 1st grade teachers? LOL.

    I'm an only child, too. I think in some ways we probably had it tougher in school than kids with (especially) older siblings, who would toughen them up.

    You read the Artist's Way, too! It's helped me immensely.

    I'm honored you shared your 1st grade story here. That's not easy. Thank you for telling us about it.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Clearly there's a pattern here of assbutt teachers. Cheating in 3rd grade? Honestly!

    I think you holding your pen/pencil differently probably tapped into your most creative self somehow. Love that to this day, you hold that part of you up and say “Hey world, I hold my pen funny. So what?”

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    OK people, the song's by Frou Frou, not Imogen Heap (but that's really a tweak, since Imogen is the lady who is in Frou Frou.)

    It was made popular by the movie Garden State, which I think is a lovely representation of embracing one's quirks. Zach Braff wrote it in college, and it's a oddball, sweet, funny, highly memorable movie, and not remotely up to Hollywood's generally formulaic standards. :)

  • http://twitter.com/elianevans Elian Evans

    Gosh I had so many “childhood tramas” thanks to my early school days. One that I remember from first or second grade was being labeled “chatter box” from a teacher… around 4th or 5th grade I was made of via versions of my last name (maiden name). Yuck!

    Thanks for the great post… btw I love your design work as well.

  • http://twitter.com/mckra1g mckra1g

    What a beautiful post. For me, it was age 11: “boys don't like smart girls.” Chip. Chip. Chip.

    I really can't add anything. I've shifted into contemplation mode: The tumblers are clicking and I'm processing this post.

    My thanks for being here today. Best, M.

  • http://twitter.com/mckra1g mckra1g

    I truly think that neural pathways extend throughout our bodies and that the configuration of your hand was the logical exit point of your ideas. Learning isn't about control. Teachers who insist upon foisting their preferences on their charges instead of celebrating the differences and learning *from* their students…they really sadden me. I pity them, because somewhere along the way, they were hurt and now they are perpetuating that pain onto others.

  • Tami Morello

    Ah, you would think that by a certain point in life we would have all these issues resolved, but they have a way of sticking around way beyond a reasonable expiration date. In addition to some of the same issues others have mentioned, one that sticks out for me is being called “too argumentative.” I learned to be very careful about expressing my opinion or even pointing out when something or someone was wrong. This was very frustrating for someone who had lots of ideas and opinions. Even though I feel like I got beyond this for the most part, I still find that I often second guess myself before speaking out. Do I sound like a know-it-all? Am I going to piss them off? etc, etc. Do they really care? Thanks for giving me a reason to examine this issue, as it is an important part of who I am. The funny part about learning too well to “hold my tongue?” Being thought of as too quiet and “aloof!”

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Folks don’t like people rustling up their beliefs and questioning their opinions, so they resort to saying you’re too argumentative. It makes THEM more comfortable when you clam down.

      Nice, huh? ;)

      There’s diplomacy, and then there’s you making yourself so invisible that you disappear even to yourself. That is no life worth living.

      the tough part about some of this is how do you deal with those around you when you start to bring these pieces back. It’s something worth thinking about/exploring. What’s your coping plan when you face resistance?

    • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

      I am the same way here – I keep quiet, I watch, I listen and I chip in sporadically – because even though nobody has ever called me a know-it-all (I am SO NOT one) – I have felt that I embarrassed someone before by correcting them or piping up my knowledge on something when they didn’t have it… though I did and still do believe that if a conversation is going on – and you have an opinion/answer to a question – there is nothing wrong with speaking it! I RARELY hold back – but will when I feel weird about it <<does that make sense? I feel like I'm rambling! :)

      • Tami Morello

        No, you’re not rambling! I do find that once I’m comfortable with a group I have a lot to share. The amazing thing is that I’m finding that in this on-line world we have, more quickly than I would have ever guessed! Maybe it’s because more like-minded people are being drawn into the conversations. Sometimes in “regular” life I end up in groups or situations where people just don’t “get” me. Or, is it that I’m afraid to be more open because I’m assuming they won’t get me?

        • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

          I think it is a little bit of both… we gravitate towards like minded people and probably from past experiences, we might assume that someone ‘just won’t get that’ – but hopefully we are all learning that person A might absolutely not get it… but persons B, C, D and E definitely do ;)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi all,
    I can’t wait to respond to these amazing new comments later this evening. Keep em rolling!
    Xoxo
    Reese

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Thanks Elian!
    There were a few years I was told I talked too much. I understand teachers need to have a quiet class so they can do their thing, but it's interesting how many resort to labels…instead of calmly explaining there's a time to talk and a time not to talk.
    Did you start to change yourself based on feedback? What made that girl happy so long ago? Can you find those parts of her today and kindly bring them back into your life, bit by bit?

  • Nazima Ali

    I’ve been admonished for being too loud, wasting time reading etc. etc. I love the awareness that comes and the permission with it to re-claim our pieces a little bit at a time. Thanks Reese for writing this. I think a lot of times when we lose these essential pieces, doubts of worth come into play. I love that I’ve come into a space where I am who I am and don’t place too much importance on people thinking of me in a negative way or telling me I’m too this or that. Guess why creating a quality tribe is so important.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Nazima,
      A quality tribe is HUGE.

      It is, quite frankly, what helped me get the courage to write this post. Because I have a good tribe. It’s taken years to get one, but they’ve got my back.

      Doesn’t mean they endorse or approve of everything we might say, or that we can do no wrong, but rather they see all the parts that compose us, and they nod and say “I love the whole.”

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi M,
    If boys don't like smart girls, do we become quieter? Do we pretend we know less?
    Funny how there are 'traditional' paths that schools want us to take: be quiet. get good grades. know your place. marry some nice boy. have X number of children. contribute to society in XYZ ways.

    But what if those paths aren't for people like you and me? What if our paths look different? Where are the places in school for us?

    I was blessed to have strong, supportive parents who stood up for me and raised me to be a self-sufficient woman. But the voices from school rang for years. I learned to change who I was to fit in. Today I say no more.

    Thanks for processing…and for YOU being here. I look forward to any flashes of insight that come to you later :)

  • http://www.intuitivedesigns.net Naomi Niles

    Aw, this is lovely. I wish you had a blog so I could read you more. I'm dead serious. Can you tell? Really.

    I too, have always been labeled too sensitive. I tried to run away from it for years, but one can run away from who one is. I recently decided to only take on new work that I totally feel in alignment with. I don't like to refuse people, but working on stuff that doesn't bring me joy affects me way too much to make it worthwhile.

    I was a spacey kid. I used to sing to myself, make up stories in my head, think about why rocks have glitter in them. Basically everything but pay attention. My kindergarten teacher tried to have me held back and for several years, I had to take special classes for “slow” kids. Until one day I figured out that if I paid attention I wouldn't have to take those boring classes any more.

    I miss having the time to sit quietly for an hour or two and just space out and think about whatever I want. Maybe I should do it again.

  • http://twitter.com/mckra1g mckra1g

    For me, it started as couching my answers to questions – framing them so as not to sound like a “know it all.” It eventually morphed into questioning my own opinions/POV/base of knowledge.

    Somewhere around age 32, I realized that my pretending wasn't fooling anyone and that it made me feel not only false, but diminished.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    “Slow kids”? Good grief. You didn't fit the mold, so you were labeled slow. Yet I know you as anything but.

    I hated paying attention in class, too. I'd be reading way ahead of everyone, but suffering in math. The proficiency in one, and deficiency in the other made it tough for me not to space out in school. I had better things to do! LOL :)

    Somewhere in my gut I knew there was a reason I felt connected to you in a different sort of way.

    “I miss having time to sit quietly for an hour or two and just space out…”

    When I don't take time for this, I'm more stressed, anxious. I feel somehow less complete, like I've missed doing something important that week and feel a sense of loss.

    When you take the time to honor that part of you that needs the space out time, you'll find your work improves. Your relationships get better. Everything shifts to a more sane and easy mode.

    It's tough to let ourselves take this time. Some adult inside of us lectures “oh, it's a waste of time,” and we think we're being inefficient, and that other people's needs (clients, family, whatever) are more important than our space out time.

    But they're not. Our ability to bring beauty to the world is dependent on how often we take the time to honor our true needs and selves. Count on an email from me once in a while nudging you to do this. :)

  • http://twitter.com/talktherapybiz Linda Esposito

    What a beautiful post Reese. I am reminded of my painfully shy son in kindergarten when the teacher's asked why he didn't smile more. “Because I don't feel like smiling sometimes” was the answer. Luckily he didn't share the same experience as you in First, and he's been able to be accepted for the not-so-happy-go-lucky gem that he is!

    Rock on with your rabid reading!

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    I can really relate to you on this one Sarah… I have a loud voice and when I get excited, I talk even louder. I sung too loud in church (and I sing really well- but heaven forbid it would be louder than anyone else). And it all came back to “Don't draw attention to yourself”. But you know what? As a kid – that is exactly what I wanted and needed. Attention. And, I admit, I had (and probably still have) an insatiable appetite for it. Talk about giving away pieces of myself. I was being told I shouldn't go for or have or even want what I wanted. Hmmm.

    And then there was the other big message… right on the heels of “Don't draw attention to yourself”. I think you know it too… “What will people think?”

    So thanks for sharing your experience. It triggered some pieces for me. Wish I had known to say “screw it” when I was a kid – but I didn't. And that's part of the my “character pieces”. Wish I had been able to say “screw it” years ago – but again, I couldn't or wasn't ready or didn't know how. I'm still not there… not fully… but I'm taking steps. Like being here. And that, too, is part of my “character piece”.

    LOL!~ One of the messages I got as a kid (not in a complimentary way all the time) was “you're such a character” or “don't be such a character”. And now I'm wanting to be a character! Go figure!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Reese: I read this several hours ago, but I wasn’t sure I could even “go there.” When I left my marriage 2 1/2 years ago, I knew I had to figure out why I’ve made some of the choices I’ve made in my life, because they were clearly not the right choices for me. And I usually knew at the time.

    And the reason, quite simply, was I didn’t think I was good enough. For anything better. For more. For what I really want in life.

    My parents were older when I was was born. My mom was 35 and my dad was 45. In 1960, that was considered “old” to be starting a family. I have a brother who is almost 4 years younger than I am.

    But my father had two children from a previous marriage who were old enough to be my parents. From the time I was born until I was 13, my dad owned his own company. My mom didn’t work. Typical Leave It To Beaver family. Around 4:00 every day my mom would make me (and later my brother) pick up our toys because when my dad got home from work, he’d read the paper and watch the evening news before dinner. And we had to be quiet and not disturb him.

    But then my older sister came to visit with her daughters who were younger than me. And I watched them climb all over my dad when he got home from work, sit in his lap, and play with him. Yes, my nieces could play with my father, but I couldn’t. There began my thoughts that I’m not good enough.

    There were other things that happened through my growing up years that gave me the same message, and I got it loud and clear. I was always a very shy and sensitive child, and all of this piled together led me to make choices and settle for things I shouldn’t have because I didn’t think I deserved anything better.

    I have only told one person in my life about this and that wasn’t until last year. In my head I know none of it is true, and that’s what keeps me moving forward with what I’m trying to build now in my life. Because I want more than I’ve had. And I won’t settle for anything less. Ever again.

    But it isn’t always easy…

    • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

      Lori – I just wanted to give you a warm virtual hug here and honor you sharing what you shared with us. That is huge, and I’m glad we could provide a safe environment for you to share what you can’t anywhere else (or almost anywhere! ;)).

      I’m so glad to be on this journey with you and hugely appreciate your support and encouragement. I’m very glad you’ve decided to go for what you want, to never settle again – because you definitely DO DESERVE IT! :)

      I can’t WAIT to see how it all unfolds for you! :)

      xoxo

      • Anonymous

        I was reading your comment a few comments up about being able to connect more easily w/people on the Internet, and you are absolutely right. Isn’t it strange how we can be so much more open and honest here than w/people we actually physically see? Perhaps it’s the combination of getting things out by writing, coupled with such warm and wonderful feedback from people we’ve bonded with online that makes it easier?

        All I know is that I am more grateful than words could ever say for so many people like you that I’ve gotten to know through the various things we’re involved in together. As I’ve told you on more than one occasion, you have inspired me in some amazing ways, and you continue to do so!

        xoxo

        • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

          Yes, the online vs offline thing is interesting. That might be a good topic to delve into on my blog as it fascinates me… ;)

          I’m so glad that I can serve as an inspiration! :)

    • http://twitter.com/mckra1g mckra1g

      Seventeen years ago, I married a man because he asked me to. That was a decision rooted in poor self esteem. I thought no other man would want me. I didn’t think I was good enough. I eventually divorced him. I’m glad you had the strength and vision to explore your reasons for divorcing. It’s not easy. It’s not a decision people take lightly. You are a strong person for having made the choice to honor yourself.

      • Anonymous

        OMG – I married my first husband because he asked me to, because I thought no one else would ever ask me. Wow. I never thought anyone else in the world ever did that.

        I’m glad that you, too decided to get a divorce. But you’re right – it’s never easy. Even when you know it’s the right thing.

        Thanks for sharing that.

      • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

        an interesting connection between “boys don’t like smart girls” and this follow up about your own story.

        The right boy? He loves a smart girl. I’m fortunate to have one of those. But I dated a lot of dolts before I got there ;)

      • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

        You are a strong person for realizing that too!! – and taking action :)

      • Anonymous

        Molly & Lori,
        I did the very same thing waaaay back in 1976 (my 1st marriage)…I married because I thought I was getting too old (25 y.o.) and might never be asked again. ouch!! HUGE #fail. We divorced 2 years later. I am such a different person today and grateful for all the changes along my journey.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Lori…
      there’s so much pain here. Understandable pain.

      the message you received was loud and clear. And I’m so sorry that’s the message you got.

      But what I also am hearing/feeling from you is hope. I mean, the courage involved in sharing your story here publicly is huge. And I hope what it helps to start to give you is some relief, and some loosening of the pain. when we tell our stories outloud (as what Valerie said above) it starts to loosen their grip on us. The past becomes less powerful, and we see hope waiting patiently in front of us, nudging us forward.

      I’m proud of you. And I’m honored you chose to share this here, today, in a company of kind people. Most important, I’m so glad you’ve decided to stop settling. To start seeing your own beauty and light.

      xoxo,
      Reese

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      Lori…

      You wouldn’t believe all the parallels between your story and mine. Sometime (but not now), I’ll share them with you. For now, I just wanted to say thank you for doing your work – because you helped me do some of mine. And to salute you for your courage… a courage which, in some ways, I have yet to step into. (Especially about the settling thing).

    • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

      wow – amazing that people don’t see what they are doing sometimes! Thanks for sharing and so grateful you are moving forward and won’t settle for less EVER AGAIN! :)

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Thanks for sharing this Reese… I thought I was the only one who looked back at embarassing moments as a kid (thing I said, thought and did) and cringed. In fact, I think a big part of what has kept me from being me and embracing me has been the judgments I've had about that… what you say unfairly judging the little me as the adult me. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need to keep telling myself that she did nothing wrong… or, because sometimes I did do something wrong, that it didn't necessarily mean that something was wrong with ME.

  • http://www.intuitivedesigns.net Naomi Niles

    “Somewhere in my gut I knew there was a reason I felt connected to you in a different sort of way.”

    I knew it too. :)

    “When I don't take time for this, I'm more stressed, anxious. I feel somehow less complete, like I've missed doing something important that week and feel a sense of loss. “

    Exactly. I've been feeling like I'm on a crazy roller coaster the last few years and I have the feeling this is why. The roller coaster/life is passing me by too quickly feeling is not exactly something I enjoy.

    “But they're not. Our ability to bring beauty to the world is dependent on how often we take the time to honor our true needs and selves. Count on an email from me once in a while nudging you to do this. :)”

    Yay!! I love getting emails from you, always.

    Also, I changed my mind about what I said. You can write a blog or not. Just write more in any format and I'll read it. hee hee.

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Hey Gina..

    Thanks for sharing… it brought back not-so-pleasant memories of being laughed at. And also had me realize that many times my “laughing so hard” or “laughing too much” has been a protective device… a way of hiding the pain. Almost like if I laugh at myself first, it won't hurt so much when they laugh at me. Ouch!

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Your words “when this only child encountered meanness for the first time ever”… and being called names really resonated with me and is stirring up some memories and new perceptions of those memories for me… so thanks for sharing that Amanda!

  • http://artfulsynchronicity.blogspot.com/ LissaBee Creations

    I have always been told that I laugh too much. For me, I think it is a device I used to hide behind. I was painfully shy when I was a young girl. Perhaps I need to explore what I truly find amusing. Any thoughts?

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Ouch! Didn't even remember that one, Molly… but as soon as I read your post, I realized that was one I heard too. And I was smart. And sometimes (I regret to say) I used that being smart to “show off” or think I was better than other people (especially BOYS!). Which probably didn't make me too likable either. But all of that is part of the ME I need to embrace… the pieces I need to pick up because they are all part of who I am. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Ahhh Teresa, nice to see you here :)

    My adult me judges the kid so harshly, it's ridiculous.

    Then I try to think…what if the 10-year-old isn't me? What if it's another little girl? Would I be this horrific to her? Or would i be kind and gentle, and tell her that I think she's doing the best she can?

    Because really, that's what we did. We did the best we could.

  • http://www.sundaynightsuccess.com Jeremie

    For me it wasn't so much an authority figure that changed a part of me, it was my peers. I was a geeky kid: I played with Star Wars toys, I played video games, I played role playing games, I read non-stop to the point of not socializing on school bus rides, I wrote science fiction and fantasy, I was happy to be alone a lot of the time. I had a few geeky good friends and I was happy.

    High school hit and I realized that the geeks got eaten alive. I was also good at most sports, played hockey, skied, and was really good at volley ball. It was a much safer and easier path for me in high school to hide my geeky side away and let people see the parts of me that they saw as acceptable. I managed to eek out a good but not great existence in high school, hovering on the edges of the popular crowd, but never being quite “in” that crowd.

    I hit university and again saw that everyone wanted to hang out with people who partied and were crazy, so I went into chameleon mode once again and became that person. I did all of the things that I knew would help me be successful in that peer group.

    I was lucky though. Although I morphed into certain roles to fit in, I always kept up my geeky interests, and had my geeky friends, I just kept them quiet and lived a bit of a dual life. In the end I am mostly thankful for my dual life as I have a lot more skills to draw upon than if I had of just been my geeky self.

    In the end I think I ended up being a better balanced person, and a stronger person, because now I am very comfortable embracing my geekiness and sharing it with the world. If I hadn't played some of those other roles, and had those experiences I don't think I would be as outgoing as I am and able to share myself with the world the way I do.

    So, I guess I see a benefit, in my life, to the people that tried to change me, or tried to get me to leave something behind, because by doing so they helped me see other parts of my life that I may have never explored. All of these different roles helped me be the unique person I am today. Yes, some of the roles were worn because I felt it was necessary, but I still think I learned a great deal from living those roles.

    Here is my positive perspective on this then: I am thankful that, over time, I have left parts of me behind because now I get to rediscover those parts, choose which ones are really great, and re-add them to the ever changing puzzle that is me.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Movies and books are good places to start…to see where your level of humor is. For example, there's these books by Chelsea Handler, that many people think are a hoot. I picked one up, and it really wasn't me at all.

    Contrast this with the book “The Honk and Holler Opening Soon” or many of Geneen Roth's books. I find myself snorting in the middle of them, delighted beyond belief.

    Look at it this way, Lissa…now's a chance for you to rediscover yourself. A journey! Go. read. Watch. Delve into TV, too. Do it alone. React however you react. If you find Friends lame but Seinfeld amusing, that's you! It doesn't matter that 10 million people loved Friends. Find what Lissa loves…and bring on the laughter, chiquita.

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Hey Reese…

    I'm so glad this post came today… on a “non-regular” work day when I have some space to be with this and with me even more. (Not like I think I'll have it all figured out in one day, though!)

    I love your post… and it describes exactly where I'm at in my life. The process I'm going through. I think I even “knew” it was coming… because the past few days (since Andrea's post), I've had memories of what I was like as a kid (long forgotten) start to surface. And I had the intuitive sense that these memories are guiding me back to me.

    Having said that, I also have to say that – simply reading your post and some of the others – I feel nauseous, fearful, sad (tears at the back of my eyes that won't come out). Angry too. A part of me wants to run away – to distract myself in work or cleaning the house or even commenting on this blog all day. But that's what I've done all my life… I've run away from me.

    And I have a hunch that none of my 'childhood traumas” have wounded me as much as that one… me running away from me. Me abandoning me. Me leaving those pieces of me behind… and even when I've been given opportunities (like today) to begin to pick them up…and not doing so for fear of what others will think, for fear I won't be loved, for fear I won't succeed, for fear I won't make money, for fear of the pain and shame and grief and anger, for fear of what I'll find… just FOR FEAR. (With just a little bit of “I want someone else to fix it for me” thrown in!) Shattering – that's what it's been. (Figuratively and literally).

    So today… just for today… I will stay here. With me. And start to remember and reclaim some of those pieces… as the GIFT they are… even the “ugly” ones that are part of my character…and my beauty.

    You've touched me with your words… I've touched myself with my own words replying to you. So thank you. Thank Me. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Thank you, Linda. Your son is gifted to have you as a mom–that you accept where he's at and roll with it. You sound like an amazing mom :)

  • http://www.ginaparris.com GinaParris

    Ha ha! But I honestly just think things are funny! My mom says I was born this way – I was a happy baby, so I figure if people think I laugh “too much” its because they just don't see the humor like I do. My clients love the way they can call me completely sick with anger or disappointment and I can turn it around and re-wire them to be able to laugh at the situation. (Even with pretty traumatic stuff) I recommend permission to see the lighter side of things and to embrace the big picture of being loved, and safe, and free. (Oh yeah, I failed to mention that I also cry at the drop of a hat – like over a sappy commercial. But still – its cause I enjoy my emotions.)

  • Anonymous

    Growing up in a dysfunctional family- alcohol, denial, constant moving, honestly…there was so much material. I grew up afraid. But throughout my life I clung to a tiny voice that said I was something special. To most everyone I looked as though I was confident. Successful. Could get what I wanted. But only in the last couple of years have I started to fully inhabit the space of myself. Sometimes I slip back into the pleasing afraid little girl, but not very often. :) Now I see clearly that everyone is in their own bubble- their own reality- just trying to survive. My parents never made those decisions to hurt me. Thank you for this lovely post.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Megan: Yes, I think that tiny voice that tells us we’re something special is what’s gotten us to this point in our lives, and it’s why we’re all so connected to each other here. We put on these good facades for other people, but suddenly we find that no longer serves us.

      It’s nice to have a safe, supportive environment to talk about these things and put them in their proper places. And see them for what they are, and what they aren’t.

      • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

        You said it girlfriend! “We put on these good facades for other people, but suddenly we find that no longer serves us.” Will the REAL “Teresa Romain” please stand up? :-)

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      isn’t it an odd thing to not feel like you ‘own’ the shell you show to the world? that the you they see isn’t the you that you FEEL?

      I adored this:
      “Now I see clearly that everyone is in their own bubble–their own reality–just trying to survive.”

      When we can see that, great strength comes. And calmness. Things matter less. We’re less bitter at others. And we love ourselves more.

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      Thanks for this Megan… because you are describing me to a “T” (no pun intended in reference to my name): “To most everyone I looked as though I was confident. Successful. Could get what I wanted. But only in the last couple of years have I started to fully inhabit the space of myself. ” I’m only beginning to inhabit the space of myself… but I’m beginning! Kudos to you!

      • Anonymous

        Staying in a ‘beginners’ mind frame is key to happiness. Let all expectations go and stay curious! :)

    • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

      it’s nice to know that you know your parents didn’t make those decisions to hurt you… sometimes that is the hardest thing to realize… I love that you found your voice, your footing, your strengths and are showcasing them to the max! :) xoxo

      • Anonymous

        To the max!!!

    • Lisa

      Wow Megan- I can totally relate to what you are saying. It seems we have a lot in common. Glad I found you through your interview. Thanks for sharing your story. You have come so far- you are an inspiration to me. Let’s press forward to our authentic selves!! Lisa

      • Anonymous

        :)))

  • Anonymous

    Weak. Sensitive. Stomach aches. Nose bleeds. I had something to say! Something like….what the fuck is going on here people?!

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Jeremie,
    I like your way of looking at it, and as I think back on the ways in which I changed myself, too, I see that along the way, I picked up a lot of interesting skills that serve me to this day. And you're right–it's like a great adventure of discovery :)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    awww, you're welcome.

    I know. it's hard. It's cringeworthy. I think of some of the ways in which other kids cut me down, and the shame is raw, still. I want to run from it. So I empathize. And I'm proud of you for pushing through…for taking these moments today to think and reflect and go back to that younger you and find all those worthy pieces.
    xoxo

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    Reese – thank you for this post this morning. :)

    As I read through the article and the comments, I reflected on what came to mind for myself. The big one was always being quiet and shy – which a lot of people took as snobby or giving the cold shoulder! It was just because I didn't quite know how to relate to people. And I still struggle with it today! I'm quiet around people I don't know well, and it takes me quite a while to really warm up to someone well enough to speak up and join in the conversation. Unless there have been a few glasses of wine involved, of course… ;)

    On the other side of that, when I'm around someone I'm comfortable with and know well, like my boyfriend of 3 years, or my family, I can be quite talkative, and when I get excited about something, I'm actually loud! My boyfriend points this out frequently – I'll get all fired up about something and be telling him about it, and he'll ask, “Why are you yelling?” Now I'll be able to answer with, “Because this is who I am!” and instead of feeling guilty or wrong about it, I can just talk loudly and excitedly! :P haha

    I was homeschooled, so managed to escape the meanness of other kids at that young age. I've still always just felt out of place, awkward, like I didn't fit in anywhere. To this day, I still feel it when I'm in a group of people.

    I'm going to continue to reflect on this today and see what else comes out for me, those pieces of me that it's time to pick back up…. :)

  • http://twitter.com/LotusAmy Amy Miyamoto

    Reese I love the flavor of human beauty you bring to this journey of recapturing all of the yummy nuggets of ourselves that have been chipped away over the years. When I think back, I can connect to the residue of the message that I internalized early on that turning down the volume on my light was much more comfortable for many of the people around me..and from the perspective of a little girl – dimming the light equated to safe and loved. I too have been on a powerful yet often bumpy path of reintegrating all of the chipped away parts of my most authentic self – thank you for the continued inspiration to keep expanding into my unique light!
    ;)
    Amy

  • http://valeriehart.com/ Valerie Hart

    Hey Melissa! Great to see you here! Can you imagine!!! being told you “laugh too much” OMG!! Laughter is the language of the soul…

  • Donegan Susan

    Reese, thank you for this and for getting me to realize that it wasn't really an authority figure that toned down my personality, it was actually me.

    It was me, that became quiet and shy as I started looking around and comparing myself to the other girls in my class and feeling like I wasn't “enough”. I grew up in a neighborhood filled with boys and I played kickball, spud, ghost in the graveyard and fought in crab apple wars with the best of them. Then, we all got a little older and it all changed. My name is Susan or Sue for short and one day, one of the neighborhood boys was calling out my name like you call a pig…Suuuuueeeeee. I was not a tiny little thing but I was not a big huge whale either, I was healthy and strong but that didn't matter, that name calling sure did hurt. And, it did change me, I was a quieter, more subdued and very aware and concerned about what others thought about me. Ugggh!

    As I matured, I got over it and understand it was all part of the birds and the bees growing up…but it did have an effect on me. I can occasionally feel that insecure, questioning itself, psyche want to rear it's ugly head but it doesn't get very far anymore, I have it trained!

  • http://valeriehart.com/ Valerie Hart

    Hi Reese, This was a lovely post but also painful… Not only to read yours, but asking us to revisit our own moments.

    My moment was, sadly delivered by my father when I was about 8 years old and I presented him my latest and greatest “work of art” — a drawing of Pluto (the dog) done with a variety of colored crayons in my little green sketchbook. My father's “critique” of my work was that “really good artists” don't just copy other drawings but that they create from their own imaginations… Of course at 8 years old I did not have a clue what he meant. I tried to do what he said and painted a landscape, but it was awful, …and that was the last entry in my little green sketchbook.

    I still feel really sad that he didn't give that little budding artist some encouragement and some l-o-v-e for what she had created… [sigh]

    Because my artistic talent and ability to draw was never pointed as anything “special”, I always felt pretty indifferent about it. I thought that everybody could draw like I could…

    But deep down in my soul, I knew I was an artist… And I knew I needed to be creative.

    Now I embrace “everything about being an artist” and living the creative life and business that I have always wanted.

    [big sigh] This class is hard…

  • http://alexiapetrakos.com Alexia

    My family always told me I was too sensitive. I cried (and still do to some extent) at just about everything. It's just because things got so overwhelming at times… But the message I got was that something was wrong with me. That I was broken or faulty or bad.

    A lot of that has lingered on in voices in my head telling me I'm not worth going after what I want (although I have a crazy rebellious streak… self-oppression + rebellion = very messed up head), that everyone else knew better about what was best for me, that I just needed to be quiet and follow along and not make waves and not be the intuitive, sensitive person I am because it freaks people out.

    But I'm getting better.. :) I like who I am more & more each day and everyone else can go screw themselves as far as I'm concerned (sorry fam… but I am who I am).

    !

    ;)

  • http://alexiapetrakos.com Alexia

    I can relate to shy being misinterpreted.

    I was called a stuck-up bitch behind my back several times because I didn't talk much. Loud extroverts scared me as a kid/teen and still do to some extent so I would avoid 'em.

  • Guest

    When I was younger, I was told by a teacher that I was not the greatest of writers and was told that it was a waste of time doing so. I must say, this stuck with me my whole entire life as I always would hear in the back of my head “you suck Megan!”, that is until this past year. This year I decided to write a blog..for myself and I did not care if I had any readers. What have I learned from this blog…I learned that I am a great writer and I have readers who follow me weekly and read whatever I want to write about and actually miss it when I skip a post. I was actually told by a reader that professional writing is in my future! So, I say to this cold hearted little man of a teacher look at me know…how is my writing now you fool?? I cannot believe I let this person stop me from doing what I love to do and that he kept me from it for so many years. Never let someone else dictate what you can and cannot do in your life and never stop believing in youselves. Life is too damn short sweat the small stuff and even if we are not perfect at the things we love to do..just do it because we can! Others may say I suck at writing and I will not succeed but really…ask me if I care.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      I wonder if what he REALLY saw was your capability and skill, and as a teacher, he resented it.

      I know, that’s an easy assumption to fall back on, but more often than not, it’s what’s going on.

      Impressed that you said “enough with that!” and wrote the blog anyway. It must feel liberating…you have more courage than me (the blogless writer says :)

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Hey Valerie…

    I was moved by your post and by your honesty and vulnerability. And especially by your [big sigh] “This class is hard.” I just wanted to reach out and hug you AND hug that little eight-year old with her green sketchbook.

    I thank you for sharing that story, too, because it reminded me of a critique I got of something I drew in first grade. Don't remember what it was – but I'm pretty sure was of a flower or maybe a person. But I loved it and had a fun time drawing it. I showed it to my first grade teacher and she told me that I had to outline everything in black. I didn't want to – because I think I painted a yellow flower or had a flesh-colored face… and it didn't make sense to me to outline those things in black crayon when that's not what they really look like. But she said that's the “right way”. And you know what? I've been drawing black lines around me ever since… need to have a border or outline to “contain” it. To contain me. Even if it doesn't feel right or look right or seem right. Since someone [in authority] told me that it was the “right way”… I acquiesced.

    How about if we both let ourselves out during these 30 days to see what we discover… with all the pieces we can gather up?

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Thanks for sharing your story Susan…. I could really realte to it and your feeling of you not being “enough”. And how name calling hurt. and How you became more quiet and shy and caring what people think. Reading your post and all of the others is bringing back manyof the memories that have been dormant…and giving me access to the pieces of me I can gather back. Thank you!

  • http://theclickstarter.com David Wang

    Hi Reese, I think this is the most inspirational blog post I’ve read all year.

    I started to gather up the pieces I left behind after my 2nd (really shit) job and that’s led me where I am today. I really think that my creative side is under-developed because of trying to conform to the mold. So thank you to people like you and Sarah who give people the inspiration and courage to stand out and be Hooligans!

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Oh, David. You’re one of my most favorite creative people. You have so much to give to the world!

      The traditional system you went into is really based on cogs in a machine. In a country where entrepreneurship isn’t as celebrated as we’re blessed with in the West (and even in the West it’s often met with raised eyebrows), you rose up anyway to find a way to live a happy life. You found a wife who would support that, and friends who do, too, and you’ve carved yourself out to be one of the smartest fellows I know.

      Thank you so much for commenting. It means the world.

  • Tami Morello

    Ah, you would think that by a certain point in life we would have all these issues resolved, but they have a way of sticking around way beyond a reasonable expiration date. In addition to some of the same issues others have mentioned, one that sticks out for me is being called “too argumentative.” I learned to be very careful about expressing my opinion or even pointing out when something or someone was wrong. This was very frustrating for someone who had lots of ideas and opinions. Even though I feel like I got beyond this for the most part, I still find that I often second guess myself before speaking out. Do I sound like a know-it-all? Am I going to piss them off? etc, etc. Do they really care? Thanks for giving me a reason to examine this issue, as it is an important part of who I am. The funny part about learning too well to “hold my tongue?” Being thought of as too quiet and “aloof!”

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi all,
    I can't wait to respond to these amazing new comments later this evening. Keep em rolling!
    Xoxo
    Reese

  • Nazima Ali

    I've been admonished for being too loud, wasting time reading etc. etc. I love the awareness that comes and the permission with it to re-claim our pieces a little bit at a time. Thanks Reese for writing this. I think a lot of times when we lose these essential pieces, doubts of worth come into play. I love that I've come into a space where I am who I am and don't place too much importance on people thinking of me in a negative way or telling me I'm too this or that. Guess why creating a quality tribe is so important.

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Thanks! What a GIFT your post has been for me. Both in inviting me to go back and look and feel and sweep up and clean up and gather it all together into my heart. But also in what it is creating here with all the posts… each of which is bringing back memories and pieces I might not have remembered myself. AND – best of all – what a gift to (1) be out in the open about it and (2) to realize I'm not the only one. Thank you AND thanks to you, too, Sarah!

  • Mary Havlicek

    Reese, thank you for such a beautiful and profound post.

    Looking back is something I’ve been doing lately and it has been very painful. I think I’m still leaving out parts I’m either not ready to revisit yet or just not wanting to, but need to anyways.

    For me, the first person I ever allowed to “tone me down” was myself.

    Being adopted as an infant, I grew up never quite feeling like I fit in. My family loves me, I love them and consider them to be my only family, but there has always still been a part of my connection with them that has felt like it’s missing.

    So I always tried to modify myself in some way to feel like I did fit in. But I was this quiet, shy kid, too. Mostly, as someone said earlier, I think to protect myself, not put myself out there as too much of a target. But I always wanted to fit in, so I’d try to create some new persona to try to fit in with the group I wanted to be with – and was always way too awkward to figure out exactly how to make it work.

    I remember one teacher writing on a report card that I talked too much – I couldn’t help it, I was bored. Kids labeled me as a dork. I was made fun of. And me being the sensitive chick I am, I internalized all of it.

    Towards the end of high school and in college I found people that I felt much more like myself with, but I still found myself changing like a chameleon and toning myself down depending on who I was with, just not as much.

    Now that I’m married with my own family, I finally have a place where I feel like I fit 100%. And the people that I’m meeting online and becoming friends with are people that I’ve felt more connected to than any other friends in my life. And that to me is amazing.

    My goal from all of this exploration into my past is to make sure that as my children grow up, they don’t internalize the things they’ll hear like I did. I want to encourage them to be themselves no matter what. There will always be opposition when you do that, but it’s the people who are too scared to be themselves that are the ones who want to hold you back, too.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Mary,
      Thank you for your touching, and lovelyhonest (that’s a new word) comment. There are so many good lines in it that it could be a blog post in and of itself!

      I think we’re incredibly blessed to have the Internet…a place where we find people from all over who let us be ourselves. And I think it’s likely because of the Internet, we’re living in a time where we explore things like my post asks us to–and maybe people didn’t do that before. Maybe they just ran from the pain and continued to internalize things.

      All that’s to say, it’s comments like yours that give me hope for the world. That because people like you are willing to say “let’s go back, and address these things, and then soften them so my own children’s experience is better than the one I had” the generations after us may break patterns from many generations prior.

      “The people who are too scared to be themselves that are the ones who want to hold you back, too.”

      Brilliantly stated.

      • Mary Havlicek

        Reese, thank you for your kind words. I may just turn it into a blog post. ;)

        It was dead scary for me to post that because I don’t want anyone to think that by saying that, it means I don’t love my family or I don’t think my family loves me. The absolute opposite is true. It’s just that there’s always been something nagging at me about it.

        There are so many things that I wish to instill in my children based on the things I’ve learned. If nothing else, that’s what I’ve taken away from so many things in my past. I’m not perfect at any of it by any means, but I’m trying to make sure theirs are better, more freer lives than what I allowed mine to be.

  • lorilatimer

    Hi Reese: I read this several hours ago, but I wasn't sure I could even “go there.” When I left my marriage 2 1/2 years ago, I knew I had to figure out why I've made some of the choices I've made in my life, because they were clearly not the right choices for me. And I usually knew at the time.

    And the reason, quite simply, was I didn't think I was good enough. For anything better. For more. For what I really want in life.

    My parents were older when I was was born. My mom was 35 and my dad was 45. In 1960, that was considered “old” to be starting a family. I have a brother who is almost 4 years younger than I am.

    But my father had two children from a previous marriage who were old enough to be my parents. From the time I was born until I was 13, my dad owned his own company. My mom didn't work. Typical Leave It To Beaver family. Around 4:00 every day my mom would make me (and later my brother) pick up our toys because when my dad got home from work, he'd read the paper and watch the evening news before dinner. And we had to be quiet and not disturb him.

    But then my older sister came to visit with her daughters who were younger than me. And I watched them climb all over my dad when he got home from work, sit in his lap, and play with him. Yes, my nieces could play with my father, but I couldn't. There began my thoughts that I'm not good enough.

    There were other things that happened through my growing up years that gave me the same message, and I got it loud and clear. I was always a very shy and sensitive child, and all of this piled together led me to make choices and settle for things I shouldn't have because I didn't think I deserved anything better.

    I have only told one person in my life about this and that wasn't until last year. In my head I know none of it is true, and that's what keeps me moving forward with what I'm trying to build now in my life. Because I want more than I've had. And I won't settle for anything less. Ever again.

    But it isn't always easy…

  • lorilatimer

    Oh Teresa, isn't it funny how we all seem to be in such similar places in our lives at the same time??

    “And I have a hunch that none of my 'childhood traumas' have wounded me as much as that one… me running away from me.”

    For so many reasons, and yet for all the same reasons, we all seem to have done that. I don't think the adults in our lives ever had any idea that what they said or did (or didn't say or didn't d0) had the effect on us that any of it did. But our little child minds weren't able to understand and process it, and as the years went on, we just ran further and further away from ourselves, didn't we? All of it lead to so many of the same fears – and all of those fears have held us back from so many things.

    Everyone's stories have been so touching! I know that for me, hearing that I'm “not the only one” will help me keep moving forward. And I know that the choices I make the rest of my life will come from a very different place than before.

  • lorilatimer

    Hi Jess! Yes, why do people so often equate being shy with being a snob? I was always shy as a child and was never comfortable around people I don't know well, but being a snob has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    I totally relate to the feeling of not fitting in when you're in a group of people.

    There are a lot of pieces to go back and pick up, aren't there?

  • meganmatthieson

    Growing up in a dysfunctional family- alcohol, denial, constant moving, honestly…there was so much material. I grew up afraid. But throughout my life I clung to a tiny voice that said I was something special. To most everyone I looked as though I was confident. Successful. Could get what I wanted. But only in the last couple of years have I started to fully inhabit the space of myself. Sometimes I slip back into the pleasing afraid little girl, but not very often. :) Now I see clearly that everyone is in their own bubble- their own reality- just trying to survive. My parents never made those decisions to hurt me. Thank you for this lovely post.

  • http://www.mattkoenigphotography.com Matt

    I have to admit that I have lived the bulk of my life looking for approval from others. I did things and traveled on paths that I didn’t really want to do. In school I went out for sports because that was what was expected. I went to college and got a degree because that was what was expected. After college I got a good job because that was what was expected.

    But then I got tired of doing the expected. I grew tired of living my life based on the expectations of others. So I did something totally unexpected. I met my wife online. She lived in Indonesia. So after 4 months of emails and phone calls I flew across the vast ocean to a Country and a culture I knew nothing about and we got married. For the first time since being a kid I felt completely alive. I was experiencing the spontaneity of life. We’ve been happily married now for 9 years and have 2 kids.

    Now as a family we are about to embark on a new journey as we make plans to move to Indonesia later this year. I’m loving that my kids will have an opportunity to experience the other half of their culture and heritage. I teach my kids to ask questions, to not accept everything they are told at face value, to think for themselves and to feel free to explore things around them without feeling constrained by expectations. Of course I want my kids to excel but excel at what they want to do and not what society expects them to do.

    I don’t want to waste another day, month or year catering to the expectations that others place on me. I don’t need approval to live my life my way. I love this last piece you wrote…”remembering the hope you felt before you were told otherwise.” That is what I look to each day…hope. I hope for doing something that makes a difference in this world and I hope I can teach my kids that as well.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Matt, wow–you really turned everything on its head! (I, too, married someone from around that part of the world :)

      Travel…seeing the world…it’s definitely helped me break out of mundane. Pulling yourself out of the usual routine and going elsewhere can really help loosen that feeling of living a life for others’ expectations. You’re awesome–and I’m so glad you’re here and commented!

      • http://www.mattkoenigphotography.com Matt

        Thanks Reese! Sometimes I look back on my life and I think how different things might be had I chosen different paths. And while there are aspects of my life that I am not thrilled with I do realize that it is the experiences up to this point that have made me who I am and overall I like who I am right now. At the time I didn’t realize or understand how each situation and circumstance would play out but looking back after more of the puzzle has been completed I can see how each experience was an opportunity to learn and grow. The journey continues and while I may not always know how things will turn out I feel on most days that I am on the right path for me.

  • meganmatthieson

    Weak. Sensitive. Stomach aches. Nose bleeds. I had something to say! Something like….what the fuck is going on here people?!

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    Lori – I just wanted to give you a warm virtual hug here and honor you sharing what you shared with us. That is huge, and I'm glad we could provide a safe environment for you to share what you can't anywhere else (or almost anywhere! ;)).

    I'm so glad to be on this journey with you and hugely appreciate your support and encouragement. I'm very glad you've decided to go for what you want, to never settle again – because you definitely DO DESERVE IT! :)

    I can't WAIT to see how it all unfolds for you! :)

    xoxo

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    Yeah, the whole shy thing has definitely been misinterpreted so many times. Is that because you're only considered friendly if you're outgoing and talkative? How did that happen? Hmmm….

    I've been soooo thankful for the gift of the Internet to be able to connect with people like I so rarely can in “real life”. And I feel a bit “guilty” about that too, like I *should* be able to connect better in person, I *shouldn't* be better at doing it online…. Wow, didn't see that one coming when I started this comment!

    I think the key for myself is to just learn to be comfortable with who I am and how I relate to people. To not beat myself up for not being outgoing, to go out and be in groups and be comfortable being quiet and interacting as I am able. Instead of feeling awkward and guilty for not being more talkative. Hmmmm…. Reminds me of the Live in the Moment principles – that's key with this, to just be in the moment, to be comfortable with who I am in the moment, to be comfortable just BEING. :)

    Go figure… ;)

    The pieces are starting to come back, slowly but surely. I guess slowly is better anyway, as we need time to get re-aquainted….

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    Oye – I hear ya! It sucks… But great to connect with others who have been/are there, isn't it?

    I'm glad to meet you, Alexia! :)

  • lorilatimer

    I was reading your comment a few comments up about being able to connect more easily w/people on the Internet, and you are absolutely right. Isn't it strange how we can be so much more open and honest here than w/people we actually physically see? Perhaps it's the combination of getting things out by writing, coupled with such warm and wonderful feedback from people we've bonded with online that makes it easier?

    All I know is that I am more grateful than words could ever say for so many people like you that I've gotten to know through the various things we're involved in together. As I've told you on more than one occasion, you have inspired me in some amazing ways, and you continue to do so!

    xoxo

  • lorilatimer

    Hi Megan: Yes, I think that tiny voice that tells us we're something special is what's gotten us to this point in our lives, and it's why we're all so connected to each other here. We put on these good facades for other people, but suddenly we find that no longer serves us.

    It's nice to have a safe, supportive environment to talk about these things and put them in their proper places. And see them for what they are, and what they aren't.

  • http://valeriehart.com/ Valerie Hart

    Thank you Teresa for your lovely feedback and for your {hugs}.

    I can see what's happening here… by telling the stories about ourselves, the moments and snippets of a bad or humiliating experience or a rejection — we are revealing them to the 'light of this community' and by doing that — they loose their power over us…

    The secret or the mislabled little belief that we held about ourselves… [not to be revealed to anyone] is now allowing us to be free of it… It's out! We are releasing the broken parts of ourselves that weren't really true to begin with—we just thought they were…

    geezz… and it's only day 5.

  • http://twitter.com/darlingman1970 Chris Nash

    I loved this post because it pointed out something so obvious, it was right under my nose. I’m blessed at the moment to be sharing the house with an adorable three-month old little boy; no, he’s more than adorable – he is of course irresistible. All babies are, right? The pieces were there right from the start, and we begin taking them away from each other a lot sooner than we think. Over time he’s going to find himself considerably less and less adorable; if he lets that happen.

    Now, fat rolls on arms and legs, drooling, and an inability to look after oneself may only be adorable in an infant; but there is something there for all of us to take into consideration – a childlike fascination in our interactions, our participations, may well go a long way to us keeping some of that irresistible nature.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hey Chris,
      Yes, your son is a perfect example! The world is so new for him. Untainted. Everything’s a wonder. With your son there as your guide (love that) maybe he can help inspire you to bring more wonder in your own life, and bring you back to some of those things you lost along the way.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    Yes, the online vs offline thing is interesting. That might be a good topic to delve into on my blog as it fascinates me… ;)

    I'm so glad that I can serve as an inspiration! :)

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    “I can see what's happening here… by telling the stories about ourselves, the moments and snippets of a bad or humiliating experience or a rejection — we are revealing them to the 'light of this community' and by doing that — they loose their power over us… “

    Wow, that's a powerful realization, Valerie! I can totally see it in myself, and reading through the conversations going on here is powerful and enlightening… Not to mention the awesome connection with other like-minded folks here. :)

  • http://twitter.com/mckra1g mckra1g

    I married a man because he asked me to. That was a decision rooted in poor self esteem. I thought no other man would want me. I didn't think I was good enough.

    I'm glad you had the strength and vision to explore your reasons for divorcing. It's not easy. It's not a decision people take lightly. You are a strong person for having made the choice to honor yourself.

  • http://alexiapetrakos.com Alexia

    Yes. the internet is a wonderful place ;) Glad to meet you too, Jess!

  • lorilatimer

    OMG – I married my first husband because he asked me to, because I thought no one else would ever ask me. Wow. I never thought anyone else in the world ever did that.

    I'm glad that you, too decided to get a divorce. But you're right – it's never easy. Even when you know it's the right thing.

    Thanks for sharing that.

  • madebymegs

    When I was younger, I was told by a teacher that I was not the greatest of writers and was told that it was a waste of time doing so. I must say, this stuck with me my whole entire life as I always would hear in the back of my head “you suck Megan!”, that is until this past year. This year I decided to write a blog..for myself and I did not care if I had any readers. What have I learned from this blog…I learned that I am a great writer and I have readers who follow me weekly and read whatever I want to write about and actually miss it when I skip a post. I was actually told by a reader that professional writing is in my future! So, I say to this cold hearted little man of a teacher look at me know…how is my writing now you fool?? I cannot believe I let this person stop me from doing what I love to do and that he kept me from it for so many years. Never let someone else dictate what you can and cannot do in your life and never stop believing in youselves. Life is too damn short sweat the small stuff and even if we are not perfect at the things we love to do..just do it because we can! Others may say I suck at writing and I will not succeed but really…ask me if I care.

  • http://buzzmedia.com.my/ David Wang

    Yes I agree, Reese should start a blog of her own. C'mon Reese! You know how to do it!

  • http://buzzmedia.com.my/ David Wang

    Hi Reese, I think this is the most inspirational blog post I've read all year.

    I started to gather up the pieces I left behind after my 2nd (really shit) job and that's led me where I am today. I really think that my creative side is under-developed because of trying to conform to the mold. So thank you to people like you and Sarah who give people the inspiration and courage to stand out and be Hooligans!

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Oh, you and Naomi are making me blush like a mad fool :)
    Let's say this little adventure here is a foray into seeing whether I'd really like to blog.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Jess,
    Your words made me nod, smile, and laugh (especially the wine. ha!). I imagine the shift from home schooled to 'real world' may have been quite a shock to the system.

    I can empathize and relate to not feeling like you fit in with a group of people. Just today I took a break out by a lake–where summer vacation kids stood together on a doc. Maybe ages 11-13. I imagined myself in that group as a girl, and knew it would have been awkward. I would have been an out lier.

    And that's ok. Who says we need to fit into groups to bring something amazing to this world?

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Amy,
    “dimming the light equated to safe and loved.”

    As children, our instinct is to survive, to protect ourselves, and to receive love at pretty much any and all costs.

    So our challenge is to recognize that and find this balance between our adult 'hats' and child selves, and bring them together in an empathetic way. The adult part of us may feel really lame 'expanding into our light.' We'll tell ourselves that's psychobabble or fluff, but there's a kid in us who still wants to be recognized in that way.

    I'm so glad this helps inspire you to find that within yourself again.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    You were an astute kid, Susan…you picked up on signals from other kids, and adjusted (toned down) parts of yourself.

    I think that being quiet was your way of helping ensure you wouldn't get picked on as much. You protected yourself that way.

    Our psyches will likely always have these little bits that come back and scold us and make us question ourselves. As it sounds like you've found, it's through consistent, gentle training and shifting we can turn that voice down and bring out the stuff that makes us beautiful.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Oh, Valerie…I'm hurting for you as I read your story.

    that little you with the pluto drawing just wanted some acknowledgment.

    it's tough even as adults to not look to others–and to external recognition–to help determine our worth. and when we don't receive that kind of recognition and encouragement when we're little, we're quick to dismiss our talents.

    to this day, I struggle with feeling like an artist. I know a lot of people love the work I do, but a few years ago, I got admonished publicly on another designer's blog for pretty much 'not knowing what I was talking about'. It still rings in my ears. I still wonder, if because I didn't go get a design degree, can I really call myself an artist?

    But it's not for others to decide. It is, indeed, the life I live, and it sounds like the life you live. We are artists because we have chosen to be so, and it pays our bills and it's something we love.

    And as for your dad…check out this piece by a designer I admire:
    http://articles.sitepoint.com/article/copy-grea

    the same goes for artists. All art begets art. My greatest work has come from times of heavy inspiration from other pieces. You drawing pluto was perfect. Perfect.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    “I can see what's happening here… by telling the stories about ourselves, the moments and snippets of a bad or humiliating experience or a rejection — we are revealing them to the 'light of this community' and by doing that — they loose their power over us… “

    I love this one, too.

    It's funny how nervous I was in writing this. The shame of Mrs. A's criticism, and many other things, still follow me. But in reading everyone's BRAVE and raw responses, it's taken a huge edge off that feeling.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Alexia,

    You and I should go hit up some movies like the Green Mile and the Notebook. I'm sure we'd scare away everyone in the room ;)

    Seriously, I'm a crier, too. And I've held it in for a long time. In the past few months, I've started to say “OK, why should I stop crying? What's wrong with crying? It's how I express myself, and isn't this better than me lashing out at you inappropriately later?”

    If you gotta cry, go on. the world needs more of us. And you certainly aren't freaking me out. I'm so glad you took the time to commnet!

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Folks don't like people rustling up their beliefs and questioning their opinions, so they resort to saying you're too argumentative. It makes THEM more comfortable when you clam down.

    Nice, huh? ;)

    There's diplomacy, and then there's you making yourself so invisible that you disappear even to yourself. That is no life worth living.

    the tough part about some of this is how do you deal with those around you when you start to bring these pieces back. It's something worth thinking about/exploring. What's your coping plan when you face resistance?

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Nazima,
    A quality tribe is HUGE.

    It is, quite frankly, what helped me get the courage to write this post. Because I have a good tribe. It's taken years to get one, but they've got my back.

    Doesn't mean they endorse or approve of everything we might say, or that we can do no wrong, but rather they see all the parts that compose us, and they nod and say “I love the whole.”

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Lori…
    there's so much pain here. Understandable pain.

    the message you received was loud and clear. And I'm so sorry that's the message you got.

    But what I also am hearing/feeling from you is hope. I mean, the courage involved in sharing your story here publicly is huge. And I hope what it helps to start to give you is some relief, and some loosening of the pain. when we tell our stories outloud (as what Valerie said above) it starts to loosen their grip on us. The past becomes less powerful, and we see hope waiting patiently in front of us, nudging us forward.

    I'm proud of you. And I'm honored you chose to share this here, today, in a company of kind people. Most important, I'm so glad you've decided to stop settling. To start seeing your own beauty and light.

    xoxo,
    Reese

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    an interesting connection between “boys don't like smart girls” and this follow up about your own story.

    The right boy? He loves a smart girl. I'm fortunate to have one of those. But I dated a lot of dolts before I got there ;)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    isn't it an odd thing to not feel like you 'own' the shell you show to the world? that the you they see isn't the you that you FEEL?

    I adored this:
    “Now I see clearly that everyone is in their own bubble–their own reality–just trying to survive.”

    When we can see that, great strength comes. And calmness. Things matter less. We're less bitter at others. And we love ourselves more.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    I wonder if what he REALLY saw was your capability and skill, and as a teacher, he resented it.

    I know, that's an easy assumption to fall back on, but more often than not, it's what's going on.

    Impressed that you said “enough with that!” and wrote the blog anyway. It must feel liberating…you have more courage than me (the blogless writer says :)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Oh, David. You're one of my most favorite creative people. You have so much to give to the world!

    The traditional system you went into is really based on cogs in a machine. In a country where entrepreneurship isn't as celebrated as we're blessed with in the West (and even in the West it's often met with raised eyebrows), you rose up anyway to find a way to live a happy life. You found a wife who would support that, and friends who do, too, and you've carved yourself out to be one of the smartest fellows I know.

    Thank you so much for commenting. It means the world.

  • Mary Havlicek

    Reese, thank you for such a beautiful and profound post.

    Looking back is something I've been doing lately and it has been very painful. I think I'm still leaving out parts I'm either not ready to revisit yet or just not wanting to, but need to anyways.

    For me, the first person I ever allowed to “tone me down” was myself.

    Being adopted as an infant, I grew up never quite feeling like I fit in. My family loves me, I love them and consider them to be my only family, but there has always still been a part of my connection with them that has felt like it's missing.

    So I always tried to modify myself in some way to feel like I did fit in. But I was this quiet, shy kid, too. Mostly, as someone said earlier, I think to protect myself, not put myself out there as too much of a target. But I always wanted to fit in, so I'd try to create some new persona to try to fit in with the group I wanted to be with – and was always way too awkward to figure out exactly how to make it work.

    I remember one teacher writing on a report card that I talked too much – I couldn't help it, I was bored. Kids labeled me as a dork. I was made fun of. And me being the sensitive chick I am, I internalized all of it.

    Towards the end of high school and in college I found people that I felt much more like myself with, but I still found myself changing like a chameleon and toning myself down depending on who I was with, just not as much.

    Now that I'm married with my own family, I finally have a place where I feel like I fit 100%. And the people that I'm meeting online and becoming friends with are people that I've felt more connected to than any other friends in my life. And that to me is amazing.

    My goal from all of this exploration into my past is to make sure that as my children grow up, they don't internalize the things they'll hear like I did. I want to encourage them to be themselves no matter what. There will always be opposition when you do that, but it's the people who are too scared to be themselves that are the ones who want to hold you back, too.

  • Mary Havlicek

    “when I get excited about something, I'm actually loud! “

    I get like that – it's like I don't know my own volume!

    “I've still always just felt out of place, awkward, like I didn't fit in anywhere. To this day, I still feel it when I'm in a group of people.”

    I'm much the same way. I do so much better in small groups or one-on-one. And the Internet has made meeting people and getting to know them so much easier for me.

  • Rachel

    I hear you on this, Sarah. I have this really positive, enthusiastic and vivacious energy about me. I was chatting w/ an acquaintance the other night and when I enthusiastically asked her about something she said, she reacted with this kind of “hold on, calm down” response. While part of me was a little hurt by her response, I realized inside that she just didn't appreciate my special energy and “zest for life”. Like you, I would rather stay vivacious and passionate, deriving joy in even the smallest things, than be boring or jaded by life.

    I remember something Lou Sparks Smith, a poet/artist, said (and I'm paraphrasing)…I am too much for others; not enough for some; but for myself, I am enough.

    To boldness and vivaciousness…

    ~ Rachel

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Thanks for this Megan… because you are describing me to a “T” (no pun intended in reference to my name): “To most everyone I looked as though I was confident. Successful. Could get what I wanted. But only in the last couple of years have I started to fully inhabit the space of myself. ” I'm only beginning to inhabit the space of myself… but I'm beginning! Kudos to you!

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    You said it girlfriend! “We put on these good facades for other people, but suddenly we find that no longer serves us.” Will the REAL “Teresa Romain” please stand up? :-)

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Lori…

    You wouldn't believe all the parallels between your story and mine. Sometime (but not now), I'll share them with you. For now, I just wanted to say thank you for doing your work – because you helped me do some of mine. And to salute you for your courage… a courage which, in some ways, I have yet to step into. (Especially about the settling thing).

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Okay.. then I'm going to make sure you turn BEET red… because I agree. I would read a blog by you any day and every day if you wrote one! :-)

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Hey Jeremie…

    As I read your post, I was doing mental “check marks” in my mind… I could RELATE to so much of your story… especially school years. Except I didn't have the good sense to stay connected to my “not-in-the-in-crowd” friends… and I lost out on a lot as a result… including a bunch of pieces of myself. And so I'm learning now…

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Isn't it amazing how we all have shared such similar experiences yet we all thought we were alone and tried to hid them from others lest they find out and we not fit in or be accepted? I don't know about you… but this post today has been very freeing for me. Thanks Reese!

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    I hear you Jess.. and I'm going to try that now too…
    “I'll get all fired up about something and be telling him about it, and he'll ask, “Why are you yelling?” Now I'll be able to answer with, “Because this is who I am!” and instead of feeling guilty or wrong about it, I can just talk loudly and excitedly!”

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Yowza! Can I relate to you on this one Jess!

    “I've been soooo thankful for the gift of the Internet to be able to connect with people like I so rarely can in “real life”. And I feel a bit “guilty” about that too, like I *should* be able to connect better in person, I *shouldn't* be better at doing it online…” I'm still new to this Social Media world… but there's a part of me that is already experiencing what you describe.

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    I'm with Jess & Reese on this one, Valerie. You expressed what I've been experiencing all day today perfectly…

    “I can see what's happening here… by telling the stories about ourselves, the moments and snippets of a bad or humiliating experience or a rejection — we are revealing them to the 'light of this community' and by doing that — they loose their power over us…”

    (Hey REESE – how did you italicize this in your reply below?)

    Thank you Valerie…

  • http://www.sundaynightsuccess.com Jeremie

    Those friends were my lifeline to who I really was, and still are. I have known my two best friends since grade 7, so we are going on, wow, 24 years of being there for each other. When we are together we are never afraid to be ourselves and have a great time.

    Reading everyone's posts it seems that strong relationships are one thing that can help us all through these times of leaving parts of ourselves behind, or forgetting who we are. If we have these friends, or family ties we have someone who anchors us, and we may stray for awhile, but we always have someone helping us come back to who we are.

    My wife plays a big role in this now as she has accepted me for the true geek that I am (although I still can't convince her to come to Comicon when my son gets older) and loves me for it. That love gives me the strength to continue being who I really am.

    So, maybe a great question to ask is: who in your life helps you find these pieces and put them back together into your true self? If you don't have these people, how can you find them? (this place seems to be perfect for this).

  • http://www.mattkoenigphotography.com Matt

    I have to admit that I have lived the bulk of my life looking for approval from others. I did things and traveled on paths that I didn't really want to do. In school I went out for sports because that was what was expected. I went to college and got a degree because that was what was expected. After college I got a good job because that was what was expected.

    But then I got tired of doing the expected. I grew tired of living my life based on the expectations of others. So I did something totally unexpected. I met my wife online. She lived in Indonesia. So after 4 months of emails and phone calls I flew across the vast ocean to a Country and a culture I knew nothing about and we got married. For the first time since being a kid I felt completely alive. I was experiencing the spontaneity of life. We've been happily married now for 9 years and have 2 kids.

    Now as a family we are about to embark on a new journey as we make plans to move to Indonesia later this year. I'm loving that my kids will have an opportunity to experience the other half of their culture and heritage. I teach my kids to ask questions, to not accept everything they are told at face value, to think for themselves and to feel free to explore things around them without feeling constrained by expectations. Of course I want my kids to excel but excel at what they want to do and not what society expects them to do.

    I don't want to waste another day, month or year catering to the expectations that others place on me. I don't need approval to live my life my way. I love this last piece you wrote…”remembering the hope you felt before you were told otherwise.” That is what I look to each day…hope. I hope for doing something that makes a difference in this world and I hope I can teach my kids that as well.

  • http://twitter.com/darlingman1970 Chris Nash

    I loved this post because it pointed out something so obvious, it was right under my nose. I'm blessed at the moment to be sharing the house with an adorable three-month old little boy; no, he's more than adorable – he is of course irresistible. All babies are, right? The pieces were there right from the start, and we begin taking them away from each other a lot sooner than we think. Over time he's going to find himself considerably less and less adorable; if he lets that happen.

    Now, fat rolls on arms and legs, drooling, and an inability to look after oneself may only be adorable in an infant; but there is something there for all of us to take into consideration – a childlike fascination in our interactions, our participations, may well go a long way to us keeping some of that irresistible nature.

  • Anonymous

    So for whatever reason, this email came to me late last night so I’m late joining the discussion. I really can’t remember when the pieces started to chip away. It seems like it has been like that for as long as I can remember. This is a timely post because the last month or so I’ve been toying with the idea of starting my first fiction book. I read and watch stories that are fantastic and I wonder how that person has such a great imagination. Tolkein and Rowling come to mind. They created entire fantastic worlds. Then I think of the imagination I had as a child. It was limitless! And somehow over the years it disappeared. So my challenge to myself is to rediscover the fantasy that I knew I once had.

    • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

      Stephanie – it came late to me as well! I just happened to check the blog earlier in the day thinking it MUST be up there… lol. So you’re not the only one that didn’t get the email until late last night… ;)

      • Anonymous

        I’m glad I’m not the only one. Now I don’t feel like I’m completely late!

      • Guest

        It came really late to me as well….I see a trend here!!

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      I appreciate the tie in between your childhood imagination, and your desire to write a fiction book, Stephanie :)

      the road back to that level of imagination feels like a massive undertaking, but I bet it’s not so bad once you get started. Maybe journaling about your childhood–and going back in that manner–will help you unlock those nuggets in your brain just waiting to be put on paper.

    • http://www.internet-bard.com KatFrench

      I got it late as well. But it’s just as well. Not sure I could have read this in the proper frame of mind yesterday, but today it’s a blessing. :)

    • Anonymous

      It came really late to me, as well….I sent Sarah a reply to let her know. FYI.

  • Pingback: My Life Changing Community | Simply Jessilicious

  • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

    I hate how that happens! I was lucky – I had little bits and pieces taken away – but for the most part, I am a very strong-willed, stubborn person whose Mommy stood stood behind her and told schools “No! She will not conform to that… if you want her to behave and be a part of the class YOU need to do X”” I recently wrote a post about how all this recent stress of mine made me explode – and I got to really see all those those piece of me – so reading your post was a great reminder :)

    I have been fighting it with my 4 year old… When he started in VPK – I was told he was a problem child, the worst in the class, etc (that teacher was fired 2 weeks later), but it made me take to him to a psychologist (stupid me, but he was hitting a lot) – but I did and she talked to him and told me that he did NOT need to see her, but she did help me work on his sleeping at night… he was not going to bed, having night terrors, etc… (we are routine now and not one terror all year!! so it WAS worth the trip (well 5) to the doc…

    Other issues he had: didn’t want to nap, but they wouldn’t let him have a book to read (at first – I did INSIST they change that – and they did). He got in trouble for hugging other kids and touching some girls hair… – I threw a fit. (and he did not get int trouble from me…) I promise to continually be vigilant NOT to let too many pieces of my perfectly wonderful son be chipped away – and I will do everything in my power to not let ANYONE take a chunk of him!

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      You, Shelly, are a beacon for other parents.

      Thank you for fighting for your son. In doing so, you help shape the world.

      • http://www.randomshelly.com/blog/ Shelly

        Thanks Reese! That made me smile…

        Since I come from a strong family, I may have a head start, but I do see the personality of my son growing and I can’t imagine ever wanting to change the person he really is – so I hope daily that I don’t don’t do or say something stupid to make him change any part of him… something I think mothers (parents) deal with constantly!

        I truly believe that insisting on conformity just takes the gusto, drive, motivation, entrepreneur mentality, etc out of people… I know there is that fine line in schools… too many kids, not enough teachers… they need quiet and conformity… but hopefully they will foster the creative and specialness in the kids too… Here’s hoping! :)

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    Yay! ;)

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    “Like I don't know my own volume” – that's exactly it! I have no idea that I'm apparently being so loud! heehee

    Yes, the Internet has been a wonderful tool, and has given me the chance to make so many WONDERFUL friends from all around the world. :)

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    “Who says we need to fit into groups to bring something amazing to this world?”

    Reese, that is so true! My value is not how or where I fit in…. ;)

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    Nice to know I'm not the only one… Let's kick that guilt out together and ROCK this awesome and REAL community online! :)

  • StephanieCorum

    So for whatever reason, this email came to me late last night so I'm late joining the discussion. I really can't remember when the pieces started to chip away. It seems like it has been like that for as long as I can remember. This is a timely post because the last month or so I've been toying with the idea of starting my first fiction book. I read and watch stories that are fantastic and I wonder how that person has such a great imagination. Tolkein and Rowling come to mind. They created entire fantastic worlds. Then I think of the imagination I had as a child. It was limitless! And somehow over the years it disappeared. So my challenge to myself is to rediscover the fantasy that I knew I once had.

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    By the way, Did you happen to see Allison Nazarian's post on Elizabeth PW's blog the other day about “Fake” Friends? It's about this exactly… ;)

    http://elizabethpottsweinstein.com/fake

  • http://www.jessilicious.com Jess Webb

    Stephanie – it came late to me as well! I just happened to check the blog earlier in the day thinking it MUST be up there… lol. So you're not the only one that didn't get the email until late last night… ;)

  • Kimberly Jones

    I’m the girl who always has her nose in a book, who lives in her own world. I’ve always been quiet and shy, and love my own company! I just want to be me, but I’ve always tried to be different, because I thought I should be a social, chatty person who wants to be around people! My 13 year old daughter is the same way, and she tells me that it’s okay to just be who I am! This is the lesson I’ve tried to impart to her, but never embraced for my own life. This post reminds me that I should treasure who I am, stop striving to be who I’m not, and just relax about it all! I love the idea that children, (and indeed all of us) are a garden of tea lights! What a lovely image. Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      You’re gifted with your daughter, Kimberly. She sounds wonderful–and a person who can help you with your own growth.

      Thank you for commenting, and for sharing. I’m glad it touched you. And I’m especially glad you have your daughter around to remind you each day to just be who you are. And as one quiet, solitary person to another, my hats are flying all over the place off to you :)

  • http://www.callmekristin.com Kristin Call

    My goodness these comments are amazing! I remember when I was in 7th grade, my geography teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. [She didn't ask what I wanted to study, who I wanted to work for, etc. She asked me what I wanted to BE.] So I said, I’ve always wanted to be a mother. And she looked at me and said, “What a pathetic waste of your wonderful mind.” That’s really stuck with me. Instead of shutting me down, though, it really fired me up. I’m a competitive, prove-them-wrong, kind of girl-always have been. And though I’m still not a mother, I’ve found great joy in creating a wonderful home for my family and preparing myself [as much as you really can...] to be able to teach the children that bless our home. Additionally, I’ve focused my career options toward things I can and intend to do from home. So thank you Mrs. Ayers for lighting a fire under me! [Albeit in an intentionally smoldering way.]

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      BE.

      Such an interesting term. As if our career choices define us. Define who we are, deep down.

      But who we are deep down is when everything external is removed. When we don’t have a career or others. What is our essence?

      Much of the world ties our essence to how we produce and what choices we make and what we do but that is not really us. that is not the BE.

      What I appreciate here in your post is the GRATITUDE for Mrs. Ayers. because as you said, she lit a fire under you. Adversity and challenge can really help us rise to the occasion…so in some ways, despite my misgivings about my own Mrs. A, I see her as a catalyst. After all, she did help me write this piece ;)

      • http://www.callmekristin.com Kristin Call

        Definitely.

        Adversity can be one heck of a catalyst. I imagine I’d be one very different person without the adversity that’s been sent my way.

  • http://simplytrece.wordpress.com Trece

    I was told all the time that I was crazy, as in, “Oh, things are not like that. You’re crazy”. Yeah, well, I wasn’t. And growing older, I was told that “Good Christina women” didn’t _______, or, “Good Pastor’s Wives”, or “Good Missionaries” didn’t/shouldn’t ___________.Well, as far as I can tell it’s BS. If I am a woman, and a Christian, and I do _____________, then, that’s what Christian Women do. And I wasn’r crazy. Both of my parents got sh*t-faced drunk all the time, and beat us, and called us names, and it was NOT right. So I have 50lbs. of extra weight I took on when some of those pieces were chipped off, and 100 extra pounds from all the stuff “Good Wives” or “Good Christian Wives” don’t do.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Trece,
      You rock for sharing this. If it’s helpful to you, I would like to share an author whose books have significantly improved my life in terms of eating issues: Geneen Roth (@geneenroth on twitter). If it feels right for you, start with “Feeding the Hungry Heart”. You can see here books here, and also download a free chapter of her latest book, too:
      http://www.geneenroth.com/books.php

      Part of finding these pieces of yourself is significantly tied into food and weight issues. But she guides you through it so kindly, so generously, that you can really begin to love yourself better.
      love,
      Reese

      • http://simplytrece.wordpress.com Trece

        Thanks so much for the reply, Reese. I do know Geneen’s books – used to have them all, in fact. Guess maybe it’s time to buy them again. . .

  • rfranco24

    Hi Gina…

    I've been accused of laughing too much in my own life also. I'm sure some have even found it annoying and so be it.

    Personally, I think the majority of the world takes itself too seriously and gets too bogged down by the weight of life. I think the world needs more laughter and that we should count ourselves among the special ones who already do (laugh)!

    ~ Rachel

  • Anonymous

    Going back to times when someone tried to tone me down, or just didn’t get me and that became my problem, I noticed that these rough, chunky, pointy times, the ones where I was unacceptably not-smooth, fitting or sensible became fixed in me, and that many of my habits and assumptions formed around them — are about ducking or trying to correct those aspects of me.

    “Gathering them up” is a much better idea!

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      It makes me smile to see you here, Alexandra. thanks for adding value to the discussion.

      Thing is, we all have some things we want to improve on…polish, if you will. But sometimes we polish the wrong things. And it’s good to ask why. Why am I trying to change or improve this about myself? Is it really for me? Or is it voices from the past? How much weight will I give them?

      Personally, I’d like to be more organized. But I also recognize my haphazardness kind of goes hand in hand with creativity. So I can work on improving the organization skills while telling any lame voices from the past to shut up. :)

      Go ye and gather (oh, boy). Go soar. I’m watching from here.

      • Anonymous

        Hi Reese
        [I'm smiling, too]

        “Why?” is such a good question.
        Thank you!

        -Alexandra

  • Lisa

    Thank you for an awesome post.
    I grew up in a dysfunctional family (drug abuse, physical abuse directed at me, dishonesty, etc. and who even knows who my father is? ) I grew up afraid, timid and feeling worthless. I clung to something inside of me that said “it won’t always be this way” ! The worst thing was my nickname. I was never called” Lisa” by any member of my family. I was called “UGLY” . My older brother told the kids at school and I was taunted with that nickname daily in school for years. Today I realize that this nickname may have been given to me because I had a different father and look very different than my siblings.

    The weird thing is that everyone has always perceived me to be totally together. Over the years, I have made great strides in leaving the old “stinkin thinkin” behind. Only a small fraction remains! I still freak out at the site of a camera. Only recently, I figured out that all of that junk -ALL OF IT- has to be banished from my life forever. I should get my picture taken!

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for your appreciation :)

      And for your story–I can’t imagine that kind of environment. To be called ugly by people who should be giving you love and support and encouragement.

      Then you add in kids in school doing that to you, too.

      I have a feeling you’ve looked ‘totally together’ to the world to survive–and to paint yourself a better picture than the one in which you were raised. That is strong. That is courageous. And that is you loving you.

      Your story, and what you’ve overcome, is remarkable. And all of us here reading are richer for the experience of reading it. Thank you so very much for sharing.

      xoxo
      Reese

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    I appreciate the tie in between your childhood imagination, and your desire to write a fiction book, Stephanie :)

    the road back to that level of imagination feels like a massive undertaking, but I bet it's not so bad once you get started. Maybe journaling about your childhood–and going back in that manner–will help you unlock those nuggets in your brain just waiting to be put on paper.

  • http://www.internet-bard.com KatFrench

    Scott –I also hold pens and pencils in an odd way, and on top of that I'm left-handed, which some teachers still tried to “train out of me”. But like you, I have lovely penmanship.

    Didn't get accused of cheating in math, but I did get eliminated from a poster contest for our book fair in 3rd grade because the teacher insisted I couldn't have done the piece myself.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hey Chris,
    Yes, your son is a perfect example! The world is so new for him. Untainted. Everything's a wonder. With your son there as your guide (love that) maybe he can help inspire you to bring more wonder in your own life, and bring you back to some of those things you lost along the way.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Matt, wow–you really turned everything on its head! (I, too, married someone from around that part of the world :)

    Travel…seeing the world…it's definitely helped me break out of mundane. Pulling yourself out of the usual routine and going elsewhere can really help loosen that feeling of living a life for others' expectations. You're awesome–and I'm so glad you're here and commented!

  • http://www.internet-bard.com KatFrench

    I got it late as well. But it's just as well. Not sure I could have read this in the proper frame of mind yesterday, but today it's a blessing. :)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Mary,
    Thank you for your touching, and lovelyhonest (that's a new word) comment. There are so many good lines in it that it could be a blog post in and of itself!

    I think we're incredibly blessed to have the Internet…a place where we find people from all over who let us be ourselves. And I think it's likely because of the Internet, we're living in a time where we explore things like my post asks us to–and maybe people didn't do that before. Maybe they just ran from the pain and continued to internalize things.

    All that's to say, it's comments like yours that give me hope for the world. That because people like you are willing to say “let's go back, and address these things, and then soften them so my own children's experience is better than the one I had” the generations after us may break patterns from many generations prior.

    “The people who are too scared to be themselves that are the ones who want to hold you back, too.”

    Brilliantly stated.

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    I hate how that happens! I was lucky – I had little bits and pieces taken away – but for the most part, I am a very strong-willed, stubborn person whose Mommy stood stood behind her and told schools “No! She will not conform to that… if you want her to behave and be a part of the class YOU need to do X”” I recently wrote a post about how all this recent stress of mine made me explode – and I got to really see all those those piece of me – so reading your post was a great reminder :)

    I have been fighting it with my 4 year old… When he started in VPK – I was told he was a problem child, the worst in the class, etc (that teacher was fired 2 weeks later), but it made me take to him to a psychologist (stupid me, but he was hitting a lot) – but I did and she talked to him and told me that he did NOT need to see her, but she did help me work on his sleeping at night… he was not going to bed, having night terrors, etc… (we are routine now and not one terror all year!! so it WAS worth the trip (well 5) to the doc…

    Other issues he had: didn't want to nap, but they wouldn't let him have a book to read (at first – I did INSIST they change that – and they did). He got in trouble for hugging other kids and touching some girls hair… – I threw a fit. (and he did not get int trouble from me…) I promise to continually be vigilant NOT to let too many pieces of my perfectly wonderful son be chipped away – and I will do everything in my power to not let ANYONE take a chunk of him!

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    I am so glad that you are realizing that… and that you are getting better and better about it everyday! WOO HOO!

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    What a great way to look at and explain how you journeyed! It is amazing how you can look back over times (good and bad) and realize that you got something from every experience – whether you realized it at the time or not!

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    Sometimes parents say things and they just don't realize the impact… (I don't know your dad obviously) – but I've heard some things come out of parent's mouths and wonder “Did they mean THAT??”

    I hope you have picked back up that crayon (pen, pencil, paint) and started to draw again!

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    Wow Teresa!

    I think no matter what the 'real' you is in there that you know is there and that you won't fully take the leash and muzzle off of? – I really do believe that I would still really really like that person… I'm 99.99~ sure! :) Just saying…

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    I think it is absolutely sad that everyone – and I believe that everyone has – had to go through things alone! at some point, every stops and thinks they can't share that – they can't say that – nobody will help, nobody will understand… and you have to admit that when we finally do share or speak, it is not true – people DO understand, people DO help! :) ahhhh lessons… :)

  • StephanieCorum

    I'm glad I'm not the only one. Now I don't feel like I'm completely late!

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    wow – amazing that people don't see what they are doing sometimes! Thanks for sharing and so grateful you are moving forward and won't settle for less EVER AGAIN! :)

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    You are a strong person for realizing that too!! – and taking action :)

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    it's nice to know that you know your parents didn't make those decisions to hurt you… sometimes that is the hardest thing to realize… I love that you found your voice, your footing, your strengths and are showcasing them to the max! :) xoxo

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    I am the same way here – I keep quiet, I watch, I listen and I chip in sporadically – because even though nobody has ever called me a know-it-all (I am SO NOT one) – I have felt that I embarrassed someone before by correcting them or piping up my knowledge on something when they didn't have it… though I did and still do believe that if a conversation is going on – and you have an opinion/answer to a question – there is nothing wrong with speaking it! I RARELY hold back – but will when I feel weird about it <<does that make sense? I feel like I'm rambling! :)

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    I so agree with the first meeting of people and the glasses of wine making me more social! I always like to take time to sit back and abserve and feel things out before jumping in… but wine, well – takes those steps out :) – but I AM getting better all the time about it – without the wine! HA

  • Kimberly Jones

    I'm the girl who always has her nose in a book, who lives in her own world. I've always been quiet and shy, and love my own company! I just want to be me, but I've always tried to be different, because I thought I should be a social, chatty person who wants to be around people! My 13 year old daughter is the same way, and she tells me that it's okay to just be who I am! This is the lesson I've tried to impart to her, but never embraced for my own life. This post reminds me that I should treasure who I am, stop striving to be who I'm not, and just relax about it all! I love the idea that children, (and indeed all of us) are a garden of tea lights! What a lovely image. Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

  • Chris B

    I, too, was continually labeled “too sensitive”, “cry-baby”, and “know-it-all” – I think I see a theme with a lot of us here .

    Fortunately, I had really good parents. In fact, the more people I meet, the more I realize just how lucky I really was. Even now, every one of my friends – of whatever age – thinks that my mom (she’s 84) is “da bomb” and they love her to pieces. And my dad used to look at me, shake his head, and say, “Chris, you’re weird,” but it was with an expression and tone of voice that told me this was really a compliment and something to be proud of – that I WAS different and definitely NOT normal. (Somehow I got the skewed idea early on that average was a synonym for mediocre.)
    In a way, that may have actually backfired on me throughout my life. I DID believe I was different and special when I was growing up (but not pretty – can’t have everything), and I KNEW I was smarter than a lot of people around me. That meant that I worried a lot about how I came across and “toning it down” so I wouldn’t get hit with the “smarty-pants” epithets.

    AND, I’m a scanner. I get VERY deeply interested/obsessed in something until I get whatever it was that I needed and then I am just DONE and no longer interested. So I got/get a lot of flack for not following through and finishing whatever I started. Realizing this is just “me” and that it is how I am wired has made things better, but I am still working on not internalizing that other label – “quitter”. Add the inattentive (or daydreaming) form of ADD (that wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult) and you can see where I could end up as what someone once described as a superiority complex wrapped in an inferiority complex. No wonder I’m confused about what it was that I once thought was so special about me and doubtful that I really have anything unique to offer.

    By the way, Barbara Sher’s book “Wishcraft” was mentioned in the last post’s comments for scanners, but a better one is her “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was”. Probably one of the best titles ever.

    • Lisa

      I love Barbara Sher. saw her on PBS. This website is like our very own online “idea party”! Do you remember reading about having an idea party?

      I can totally relate to your comment-”That meant that I worried a lot about how I came across and “toning it down” so I wouldn’t get hit with the “smarty-pants” epithets.” —–I had that too but it served me well because all of the teachers loved me; which helped me get through a rough home life!

      You sound cool to me! : ) Lisa

      • Chris B

        Thanks, Lisa!
        And, yeah, but having the teachers like you can lead to the dreaded “teacher’s pet, teacher’s pet” chant! Kind of out of the frying pan and into the fire …
        It’s good when you find teachers that can help you get through the family issues, though – that kind is a rare, precious resource.

        • Lisa

          Chris,

          I must say that none of the teachers seem to have a clue about what was going on with me (it was never addressed) but having people who did not think I was a loser with a capital L was helpful to me. I excelled in school so I at least knew I was not completely lacking in intelligence. But I was called the “teachers pet” a lot. I can see where you are coming from…

  • http://www.callmekristin.com Kristin Call

    My goodness these comments are amazing! I remember when I was in 7th grade, my geography teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. [She didn't ask what I wanted to study, who I wanted to work for, etc. She asked me what I wanted to BE.] So I said, I've always wanted to be a mother. And she looked at me and said, “What a pathetic waste of your wonderful mind.” That's really stuck with me. Instead of shutting me down, though, it really fired me up. I'm a competitive, prove-them-wrong, kind of girl-always have been. And though I'm still not a mother, I've found great joy in creating a wonderful home for my family and preparing myself [as much as you really can...] to be able to teach the children that bless our home. Additionally, I've focused my career options toward things I can and intend to do from home. So thank you Mrs. Ayers for lighting a fire under me! [Albeit in an intentionally smoldering way.]

  • http://www.madebymegs.blogspot.com madebymegs

    It came really late to me as well….I see a trend here!!

  • http://simplytrece.wordpress.com Trece

    I was told all the time that I was crazy, as in, “Oh, things are not like that. You're crazy”. Yeah, well, I wasn't. And growing older, I was told that “Good Christina women” didn't _______, or, “Good Pastor's Wives”, or “Good Missionaries” didn't/shouldn't ___________.Well, as far as I can tell it's BS. If I am a woman, and a Christian, and I do _____________, then, that's what Christian Women do. And I wasn'r crazy. Both of my parents got sh*t-faced drunk all the time, and beat us, and called us names, and it was NOT right. So I have 50lbs. of extra weight I took on when some of those pieces were chipped off, and 100 extra pounds from all the stuff “Good Wives” or “Good Christian Wives” don't do.

  • alexandrajacoby

    Going back to times when someone tried to tone me down, or just didn’t get me and that became my problem, I noticed that these rough, chunky, pointy times, the ones where I was unacceptably not-smooth, fitting or sensible became fixed in me, and that many of my habits and assumptions formed around them — are about ducking or trying to correct those aspects of me.

    “Gathering them up” is a much better idea!

  • Lisa

    Thank you for an awesome post.
    I grew up in a dysfunctional family (drug abuse, physical abuse directed at me, dishonesty, etc. and who even knows who my father is? ) I grew up afraid, timid and feeling worthless. I clung to something inside of me that said “it won't always be this way” ! The worst thing was my nickname. I was never called” Lisa” by any member of my family. I was called “UGLY” . My older brother told the kids at school and I was taunted with that nickname daily in school for years. Today I realize that this nickname may have been given to me because I had a different father and look very different than my siblings.

    The weird thing is that everyone has always perceived me to be totally together. Over the years, I have made great strides in leaving the old “stinkin thinkin” behind. Only a small fraction remains! I still freak out at the site of a camera. Only recently, I figured out that all of that junk -ALL OF IT- has to be banished from my life forever. I should get my picture taken!

  • http://valeriehart.com/ Valerie Hart

    Thank you for your lovely support Shelly. And yes, my little “artist spirit” did not GIVE UP!

    I was the “class artist” all through grade school. A label I relished in! I did not get to go to art school… but after getting my business degree, I got a graphic artist job at a small publishing company. This started me on my 25 year career in advertising & marketing as a graphic designer, art director & creative director.

    Last year I left a position as Vice President & Creative Director of a small web design company because I “”really”” felt the inner urging to do my own artwork & painting. I've taken many art classes over the years and dabbled here and there but I'm really self-taught. I did/do love graphic design and I had a great career… My spirit has just moved to the next level.

    Now I am trying to figure out [with the help of the universe], this new creative path…

    Life is — too short — to not do what you L* O* V *E . . .

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Thanks for this Jeremie! Did you include WISE on your list from Andrea's post in terms of who you are? If not, you need to add it! I'm starting to find those people and bring back some from the past… so I'm getting there. And I'm HERE… which is a great place too! Thanks again!

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Thanks for that… I think it really comes down to me really liking that person… ALL of that person. And THAT person would be ME! :-)

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Yes I did! And LOVED it (and was blown away too!) So – here we are… ROCKING it out! :-)

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    ABSO-F*CKING-LUTELY!!! 1) it ALL comes down to YOU liking YOU!!! and 2) THAT person IS YOU!! & 3) I think YOU are pretty great :)

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    Sounds like you made a good path, got some experience and decided what you wanted… now to just focus it and make it YOURS! :)

    and I SOOOOOO agree – life is to short not to do what you LOVE!!! :)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for your appreciation :)

    And for your story–I can't imagine that kind of environment. To be called ugly by people who should be giving you love and support and encouragement.

    Then you add in kids in school doing that to you, too.

    I have a feeling you've looked 'totally together' to the world to survive–and to paint yourself a better picture than the one in which you were raised. That is strong. That is courageous. And that is you loving you.

    Your story, and what you've overcome, is remarkable. And all of us here reading are richer for the experience of reading it. Thank you so very much for sharing.

    xoxo
    Reese

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    It makes me smile to see you here, Alexandra. thanks for adding value to the discussion.

    Thing is, we all have some things we want to improve on…polish, if you will. But sometimes we polish the wrong things. And it's good to ask why. Why am I trying to change or improve this about myself? Is it really for me? Or is it voices from the past? How much weight will I give them?

    Personally, I'd like to be more organized. But I also recognize my haphazardness kind of goes hand in hand with creativity. So I can work on improving the organization skills while telling any lame voices from the past to shut up. :)

    Go ye and gather (oh, boy). Go soar. I'm watching from here.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Trece,
    You rock for sharing this. If it's helpful to you, I would like to share an author whose books have significantly improved my life in terms of eating issues: Geneen Roth (@geneenroth on twitter). If it feels right for you, start with “Feeding the Hungry Heart”. You can see here books here, and also download a free chapter of her latest book, too:
    http://www.geneenroth.com/books.php

    Part of finding these pieces of yourself is significantly tied into food and weight issues. But she guides you through it so kindly, so generously, that you can really begin to love yourself better.
    love,
    Reese

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    BE.

    Such an interesting term. As if our career choices define us. Define who we are, deep down.

    But who we are deep down is when everything external is removed. When we don't have a career or others. What is our essence?

    Much of the world ties our essence to how we produce and what choices we make and what we do but that is not really us. that is not the BE.

    What I appreciate here in your post is the GRATITUDE for Mrs. Ayers. because as you said, she lit a fire under you. Adversity and challenge can really help us rise to the occasion…so in some ways, despite my misgivings about my own Mrs. A, I see her as a catalyst. After all, she did help me write this piece ;)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    You're gifted with your daughter, Kimberly. She sounds wonderful–and a person who can help you with your own growth.

    Thank you for commenting, and for sharing. I'm glad it touched you. And I'm especially glad you have your daughter around to remind you each day to just be who you are. And as one quiet, solitary person to another, my hats are flying all over the place off to you :)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    You, Shelly, are a beacon for other parents.

    Thank you for fighting for your son. In doing so, you help shape the world.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hey T,
    Use the em tag. I can't do the whole tag for you or else it won't show up. do a google search on “em html” and it will show you how to do the tag :)

  • http://www.callmekristin.com Kristin Call

    Definitely.

    Adversity can be one heck of a catalyst. I imagine I'd be one very different person without the adversity that's been sent my way.

  • Ava Diamond (@feistywoman)

    Wow. What an amazing post, Reese! One of the benefits of reading this a bit late is that I get to read all of these wonderful, juicy comments.

    Yep, I can relate. I was always “too” something. Growing up on Long Island, I was really smart, and overweight. Not a good combination for acceptance by other kids.

    Moving from NY to Atlanta in my twenties, and being in an alien Southern culture, I definitely heard feedback like, “Too smart, too loud, too impatient, too pushy, too forward” and on and on and on.

    It took many, many years for me to really embrace who I am. I’m bold, smart, feisty, and a bit louder than the average girl. I live in Colorado, and sometimes when I get really enthusiastic and loud, my brother-in-law says, “Use your Colorado voice.” It’s kind of a family joke.

    Once I reclaimed who I am, I decided to embrace it wholeheartedly, and start the Feisty Women Rock! brand. But it was a looooong time coming. I tried to fit in for a long time, and be like everyone else. It took until I was in my forties to really relax and drop down into who I am, and to embrace my “feisty-ness.”

    I love this quote by Agatha Christie. “We are the same people as we were at three, six, ten, or twenty years old. More noticeably so, perhaps at six or seven, because we were not pretending so much then.”

    Here’s to not pretending!

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Ava, that Agatha Christie quote is just right! I adore it. Love!

      You rocked it with Feisty WOman Rock (pun fully intended). How have you seen your brand expand when you decided to just claim who you are and roll with that?

      • Ava Diamond (@feistywoman)

        My business is more consistent with who I am, Reese–so I think my women audiences connect with me more when I speak, and my corporate and government clients get better consulting. : ) Thanks for asking.

        • Chris B

          Ava,
          Just for fun you might want to check out singer Janis Ian – yes, she’s STILL around ;)
          She took back control of her own music long before most other musicians did and her label is called Rude Girl Records. This link has the story of how the name came about – http://www.janisian.com/rgr.html .

          • Ava Diamond (@feistywoman)

            That’s a great story, Chris. Thanks for pointing me to it.

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      You ROCK Ava! So good to be hear with you! And I LOVE that Agatha Christie quote too!

      In reading your post, I was struck by how many of us here in Sarah’s tribe have been accused of being loud… and are reclaiming our voices… volume and all! Including me!

      • Ava Diamond (@feistywoman)

        3 Cheers for reclaiming our voices! Great to cross paths with you, Teresa!

  • JChris_B

    I, too, was continually labeled “too sensitive”, “cry-baby”, and “know-it-all” – I think I see a theme with a lot of us here <grin>.

    Fortunately, I had really good parents. In fact, the more people I meet, the more I realize just how lucky I really was. Even now, every one of my friends – of whatever age – thinks that my mom (she's 84) is “da bomb” and they love her to pieces. And my dad used to look at me, shake his head, and say, “Chris, you're weird,” but it was with an expression and tone of voice that told me this was really a compliment and something to be proud of – that I WAS different and definitely NOT normal. (Somehow I got the skewed idea early on that average was a synonym for mediocre.)
    In a way, that may have actually backfired on me throughout my life. I DID believe I was different and special when I was growing up (but not pretty – can't have everything), and I KNEW I was smarter than a lot of people around me. That meant that I worried a lot about how I came across and “toning it down” so I wouldn't get hit with the “smarty-pants” epithets.

    AND, I'm a scanner. I get VERY deeply interested/obsessed in something until I get whatever it was that I needed and then I am just DONE and no longer interested. So I got/get a lot of flack for not following through and finishing whatever I started. Realizing this is just “me” and that it is how I am wired has made things better, but I am still working on not internalizing that other label – “quitter”. Add the inattentive (or daydreaming) form of ADD (that wasn't diagnosed until I was an adult) and you can see where I could end up as what someone once described as a superiority complex wrapped in an inferiority complex. No wonder I'm confused about what it was that I once thought was so special about me and doubtful that I really have anything unique to offer.

    By the way, Barbara Sher's book “Wishcraft” was mentioned in the last post's comments for scanners, but a better one is her “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was”. Probably one of the best titles ever.

  • meganmatthieson

    To the max!!!

  • meganmatthieson

    Staying in a 'beginners' mind frame is key to happiness. Let all expectations go and stay curious! :)

  • Besa

    I love this day. Thank you Reese for sharing this story. I remember in high school when the guidance counselor told me not to try to go to a 4 year school because my grades weren’t great. I was just under the B honor roll by a couple of points… it hurt. I went anyway, and not only that, I did very well out of college in corporate america. I started Mary Kay later on and showed up at my old high school with my first Mary Kay car, and reminded her of when she told me that. I realize now that I was trying to ‘prove’ something. I am proud of myself for letting go of, and continuing to let go of that ‘proving’ part of me. Today I gather up my courage and my deserve level. No matter where I am on paper, I am always a child of God.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      hello there, Besa,
      thank you for the love and appreciation.
      I love the story of the car. And I understand the desire to prove something…I think that’s pretty human and natural, and with work, we grow a bit beyond that.

      It’s a lovely day when we reach the point where there’s no longer a need to prove. That what we have within us is enough. We are enough. And we believe it.

    • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

      You ROCK Besa! :-) Wear your courage and “deserve level” proudly… it suits you!

  • Lisa

    Wow Megan- I can totally relate to what you are saying. It seems we have a lot in common. Glad I found you through your interview. Thanks for sharing your story. You have come so far- you are an inspiration to me. Let's press forward to our authentic selves!! Lisa

  • Lisa

    I love Barbara Sher. saw her on PBS. This website is like our very own online “idea party”! Do you remember reading about having an idea party?

    I can totally relate to your comment-”That meant that I worried a lot about how I came across and “toning it down” so I wouldn't get hit with the “smarty-pants” epithets.” —–I had that too but it served me well because all of the teachers loved me; which helped me get through a rough home life!

    You sound cool to me! : ) Lisa

  • JoyFull_deb

    Molly & Lori,
    I did the very same thing waaaay back in 1976 (my 1st marriage)…I married because I thought I was getting too old (25 y.o.) and might never be asked again. ouch!! HUGE #fail. We divorced 2 years later. I am such a different person today and grateful for all the changes along my journey.

  • Chris B

    Thanks, Lisa!
    And, yeah, but having the teachers like you can lead to the dreaded “teacher's pet, teacher's pet” chant! Kind of out of the frying pan and into the fire …
    It's good when you find teachers that can help you get through the family issues, though – that kind is a rare, precious resource.

  • JoyFull_deb

    It came really late to me, as well….I sent Sarah a reply to let her know. FYI.

  • Lisa

    Chris,

    I must say that none of the teachers seem to have a clue about what was going on with me (it was never addressed) but having people who did not think I was a loser with a capital L was helpful to me. I excelled in school so I at least knew I was not completely lacking in intelligence. But I was called the “teachers pet” a lot. I can see where you are coming from…

  • Abbie S. Fink

    I have always said that we learn to be afraid because someone told us we should be. We second-guess ourselves, because someone questioned what we believed in. We should embrace what is different about ourselves and not be afraid.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Abbie,
      Thanks for your thoughts here! I think it’s a process for a lot of people to shift away from being afraid to not. Are there specific things you’ve done to help you in this way that might be insightful to others here? :)
      Reese

  • Ava Diamond (@feistywoman)

    Wow. What an amazing post, Reese! One of the benefits of reading this a bit late is that I get to read all of these wonderful, juicy comments.

    Yep, I can relate. I was always “too” something. Growing up on Long Island, I was really smart, and overweight. Not a good combination for acceptance by other kids.

    Moving from NY to Atlanta in my twenties, and being in an alien Southern culture, I definitely heard feedback like, “Too smart, too loud, too impatient, too pushy, too forward” and on and on and on.

    It took many, many years for me to really embrace who I am. I'm bold, smart, feisty, and a bit louder than the average girl. I live in Colorado, and sometimes when I get really enthusiastic and loud, my brother-in-law says, “Use your Colorado voice.” It's kind of a family joke.

    Once I reclaimed who I am, I decided to embrace it wholeheartedly, and start the Feisty Women Rock! brand. But it was a looooong time coming. I tried to fit in for a long time, and be like everyone else. It took until I was in my forties to really relax and drop down into who I am, and to embrace my “feisty-ness.”

    I love this quote by Agatha Christie. “We are the same people as we were at three, six, ten, or twenty years old. More noticeably so, perhaps at six or seven, because we were not pretending so much then.”

    Here's to not pretending!

  • Besa

    I love this day. Thank you Reese for sharing this story. I remember in high school when the guidance counselor told me not to try to go to a 4 year school because my grades weren't great. I was just under the B honor roll by a couple of points… it hurt. I went anyway, and not only that, I did very well out of college in corporate america. I started Mary Kay later on and showed up at my old high school with my first Mary Kay car, and reminded her of when she told me that. I realize now that I was trying to 'prove' something. I am proud of myself for letting go of, and continuing to let go of that 'proving' part of me. Today I gather up my courage and my deserve level. No matter where I am on paper, I am always a child of God.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    hello there, Besa,
    thank you for the love and appreciation.
    I love the story of the car. And I understand the desire to prove something…I think that's pretty human and natural, and with work, we grow a bit beyond that.

    It's a lovely day when we reach the point where there's no longer a need to prove. That what we have within us is enough. We are enough. And we believe it.

  • Mary Havlicek

    Reese, thank you for your kind words. I may just turn it into a blog post. ;)

    It was dead scary for me to post that because I don't want anyone to think that by saying that, it means I don't love my family or I don't think my family loves me. The absolute opposite is true. It's just that there's always been something nagging at me about it.

    There are so many things that I wish to instill in my children based on the things I've learned. If nothing else, that's what I've taken away from so many things in my past. I'm not perfect at any of it by any means, but I'm trying to make sure theirs are better, more freer lives than what I allowed mine to be.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Ava, that Agatha Christie quote is just right! I adore it. Love!

    You rocked it with Feisty WOman Rock (pun fully intended). How have you seen your brand expand when you decided to just claim who you are and roll with that?

  • Ava Diamond (@feistywoman)

    My business is more consistent with who I am, Reese–so I think my women audiences connect with me more when I speak, and my corporate and government clients get better consulting. : ) Thanks for asking.

  • AbbieF

    I have always said that we learn to be afraid because someone told us we should be. We second-guess ourselves, because someone questioned what we believed in. We should embrace what is different about ourselves and not be afraid.

  • http://www.mattkoenigphotography.com Matt

    Thanks Reese! Sometimes I look back on my life and I think how different things might be had I chosen different paths. And while there are aspects of my life that I am not thrilled with I do realize that it is the experiences up to this point that have made me who I am and overall I like who I am right now. At the time I didn't realize or understand how each situation and circumstance would play out but looking back after more of the puzzle has been completed I can see how each experience was an opportunity to learn and grow. The journey continues and while I may not always know how things will turn out I feel on most days that I am on the right path for me.

  • meganmatthieson

    :)))

  • Jesse Michelsen

    Such an amazing post…it almost brought me to tears and really makes me think about all the things I have left behind in my past. Time to do a little soul searching and see what things have been long forgotten that I need to bring back up into view to increase the me..in me. Thank you.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      You’re welcome, Jesse, and thank YOU.

      I would love to hear more about who your journey goes. Feel free to keep sharing on Twitter (@Reese)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Abbie,
    Thanks for your thoughts here! I think it's a process for a lot of people to shift away from being afraid to not. Are there specific things you've done to help you in this way that might be insightful to others here? :)
    Reese

  • Tami Morello

    No, you're not rambling! I do find that once I'm comfortable with a group I have a lot to share. The amazing thing is that I'm finding that in this on-line world we have, more quickly than I would have ever guessed! Maybe it's because more like-minded people are being drawn into the conversations. Sometimes in “regular” life I end up in groups or situations where people just don't “get” me. Or, is it that I'm afraid to be more open because I'm assuming they won't get me?

  • CyndeC

    Reese, this hit home for me. Thinking back, I can see some of the moments in my life where these little shining gems that made up my individuality were chipped away. Some of them weren’t chipped away completely, but they were dulled. It is amazing to what we feel we must assimilate in order to be successful in the world. Over the last few years, I have been gathering these gems back and your post inspires me to make more of effort to let them shine. I can’t help being who I am and should never feel apologetic for being so. My favorite quote (I wear it on a bracelet) applies: Sing like no one is listening! And, I intend to do this every day.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Dulled is a good descriptive word. We kind of become faded versions of ourselves.

      I also like dance like nobody’s watching…I should find a bracelet like yours!

      Thank you for posting. :)

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    I think it is a little bit of both… we gravitate towards like minded people and probably from past experiences, we might assume that someone 'just won't get that' – but hopefully we are all learning that person A might absolutely not get it… but persons B, C, D and E definitely do ;)

  • http://www.randomshelly.com Shelly

    Thanks Reese! That made me smile…

    Since I come from a strong family, I may have a head start, but I do see the personality of my son growing and I can't imagine ever wanting to change the person he really is – so I hope daily that I don't don't do or say something stupid to make him change any part of him… something I think mothers (parents) deal with constantly!

    I truly believe that insisting on conformity just takes the gusto, drive, motivation, entrepreneur mentality, etc out of people… I know there is that fine line in schools… too many kids, not enough teachers… they need quiet and conformity… but hopefully they will foster the creative and specialness in the kids too… Here's hoping! :)

  • Jesse Michelsen

    Such an amazing post…it almost brought me to tears and really makes me think about all the things I have left behind in my past. Time to do a little soul searching and see what things have been long forgotten that I need to bring back up into view to increase the me..in me. Thank you.

  • CyndeC

    Reese, this hit home for me. Thinking back, I can see some of the moments in my life where these little shining gems that made up my individuality were chipped away. Some of them weren't chipped away completely, but they were dulled. It is amazing to what we feel we must assimilate in order to be successful in the world. Over the last few years, I have been gathering these gems back and your post inspires me to make more of effort to let them shine. I can't help being who I am and should never feel apologetic for being so. My favorite quote (I wear it on a bracelet) applies: Sing like no one is listening! And, I intend to do this every day.

  • http://simplytrece.wordpress.com Trece

    Thanks so much for the reply, Reese. I do know Geneen's books – used to have them all, in fact. Guess maybe it's time to buy them again. . .

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    You ROCK Besa! :-) Wear your courage and “deserve level” proudly… it suits you!

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    You ROCK Ava! So good to be hear with you! And I LOVE that Agatha Christie quote too!

    In reading your post, I was struck by how many of us here in Sarah's tribe have been accused of being loud… and are reclaiming our voices… volume and all! Including me!

  • http://www.accessabundance.com/ Teresa Romain

    Just getting back to reading comments from Reese's post. Thanks for this Shelly… I needed it today. The chuckle it brought forth, the smile on my face and the support. Thanks!

  • Joecheray

    I think the worst thing I had to prove wrong my whole life was my abusive grandfathers words “Your just like your mother she never amounted to anything”

    Those words cut into me my whole childhood and later in life too. It made me feel like because my mom was a failure I was going to be too. It wasn’t until I latched onto the internet that I realized I was finding like minded folks who suffered some of the same things. I didn’t feel alone anymore.

    The old saying sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me is not true. Sticks and stones and words when used cruelly by someone you are supposed to love or is supposed to be a nurturing figure can be a deadly combination on ones soul.

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Joe (can I call ya joe?) sorry for the late reply here:
      Your brave story reminds me of some people I’m close to…and I can see now why they behave the way they do today.

      I can’t imagine being a young child, and feeling like my path of failure is already cut out for me because of my grandfather’s opinion of my mother. The effects of that on a kid have got to be huge.

      Love that you found the internet…and it give you new strength and helped you not feel so alone. I’m glad you came to this community to talk, and I hope you’ll stick around Sarah’s for a while. There are kind people here who will welcome you.

  • Ava Diamond (@feistywoman)

    3 Cheers for reclaiming our voices! Great to cross paths with you, Teresa!

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Dulled is a good descriptive word. We kind of become faded versions of ourselves.

    I also like dance like nobody's watching…I should find a bracelet like yours!

    Thank you for posting. :)

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    You're welcome, Jesse, and thank YOU.

    I would love to hear more about who your journey goes. Feel free to keep sharing on Twitter (@Reese)

  • Joecheray

    ha mine was some where close to this I grew up in the era of “Children should be seen and not heard” well ok I had grandparents that were born in that era and passed it onto my generation.

    To some degree I can see that but children also need to be able to express themselves. I had great ideas that no one would ever know about because I was the wallflower barely being noticed. As a blogger it is out of the question being seen and not heard. I have something to say and I plan on saying it to the chagrin or delight of anyone who may read what I have to say.

  • Joecheray

    OMG yes lol and thank you. I have thought the same thing. I find what I love and screw what other people do or say about it.

  • Joecheray

    I wonder about those teachers who have never encountered a disabled person who has had to hold there writing utensils differently because there hands or fingers didn't work like other normal people.

    My son is disabled and holds his pencil differently then I do and I have a partially paralyzed right hand which is the one I write with so I now have to make adjustments in the way I write and type.

    I really struggle to understand the meaness of some teachers. I have had some teachers that were pretty mean and I hated every one of them.

  • Joecheray

    Naomi and Reese I was the same way in grade school I just felt that the way they were teaching reading was boring it never challenged me to think. So instead I too was labled “slow” and put in to “title 1″ reading classes. When I became a little older like around in 5th grade I found my moms romance novels that she left behind when she abandoned us. I took a few into my room and read each one and then cycled them out. By the time I was in HS I finally was caught up on the reading level I was supposed to be at and then some.

    The thing with romance novels is that they took place in settings that challenged my mind to think. As a creative I wanted to see into the writers mind to figure out what she was thinking when she wrote the novel. I would see words and first learned what they meant by finding context clues and then later I would look a few of them up to see what they actually meant vs what I thought they meant. Have to say I was pretty close most of the time.

    My love of reading stemmed from this process and I learned also how to become a well thought out writer as well.

    I could never wrap my head around the tedious process of learning how to diagram a sentence.

  • Joecheray

    I think the worst thing I had to prove wrong my whole life was my abusive grandfathers words “Your just like your mother she never amounted to anything”

    Those words cut into me my whole childhood and later in life too. It made me feel like because my mom was a failure I was going to be too. It wasn't until I latched onto the internet that I realized I was finding like minded folks who suffered some of the same things. I didn't feel alone anymore.

    The old saying sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me is not true. Sticks and stones and words when used cruelly by someone you are supposed to love or is supposed to be a nurturing figure can be a deadly combination on ones soul.

  • alexandrajacoby

    Hi Reese
    [I'm smiling, too]

    “Why?” is such a good question.
    Thank you!

    -Alexandra

  • Chris B

    Ava,
    Just for fun you might want to check out singer Janis Ian – yes, she's STILL around ;)
    She took back control of her own music long before most other musicians did and her label is called Rude Girl Records. This link has the story of how the name came about – http://www.janisian.com/rgr.html .

  • Ava Diamond (@feistywoman)

    That's a great story, Chris. Thanks for pointing me to it.

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  • http://www.scottwebb.tv/ Scott Webb

    Garden State is an outstanding movie! One I want to watch again and again. I forget who I lent my copy to…. :(

  • http://www.scottwebb.tv/ Scott Webb

    I guess we can only think they tried to do what they thought was right. I – now – imagine how their schooling was like and I can see it being a totally different vibration. Generational at that. They probably thought every person must be right handed. Think back even further and someone using their left hand may have been seen as a witch.

    It's almost as if people are fearful of others when they're a bit different. As well, you can really start to notice how low their mental ceiling truly is. People are so quick to judge and so quick to discount anything they can't imaging being able to do.

  • http://www.scottwebb.tv/ Scott Webb

    Yeah, there are very few outstanding teachers. Teacher's in the system actually start to scare me. I hear about pensions and countdowns to Summer vacation. Countdowns that would put student countdowns to shame!

    The fortunate thing was that I had a teacher for both Grade 7 and Grade 8 (same teacher and he also taught my father back in grade 8 as well – i know wild). I actually think of this teacher on a regular basis. I thought of him just this morning. A teacher that can express belief within a student will go along way. This teacher never tried to change me, he tried to bring out the odd parts that made me who I was. He enjoyed getting my creative writing every week. While I was outstanding in math, he would tell my parents that I he saw me going on to be a journalist or something to do with my creative writing. Here I am trying to improve my own writing and working on a number of blogs.

    Although I've yet to achieve mass readership, and followers, I know in my heart that he would be super proud to know that I was pursuing these passions and dreams today. Embracing people for who they are will instill so much power within them over time. I think it's important to remind people, in many ways, that you believe in them. Create a place that people feel safe to trust themselves and they'll be able to embrace the things that make them unique. The scariest thing to hear from children is that they just want to fit in. I would love if this cycle never began for children – it sucks waiting until 30 years old or 50 or 70 to start to feel like you again.

  • http://www.scottwebb.tv/ Scott Webb

    That's a really great belief! I can only agree! I love it – “…was the logical exit point of your ideas.”

    I think there is something to explore when it comes to the psychology of being a teacher. I've heard of so few great ones and so many terrible one.

  • http://www.scottwebb.tv/ Scott Webb

    I am actually reading the Artist's Way right now. I've read up to the first week and had it sitting around waiting for tonight to being the weeks properly. Had an Artist Date for 2 hours with my camera this morning and journaling every morning too.

    Since grabbing this book a week ago, I've seen it come up in so many places. It's great to be reminded you're on the right track!

    Remember that there is a lesson in that grade 1 experience. These people were there not to actually be great teachers in the true sense, but they were there to teach us regarding that experience.

  • http://www.scottwebb.tv/ Scott Webb

    OK – I'm really interested in finding out more about your experience with the Artist's way. Expect an email sometime :)

  • http://twitter.com/DooneyPug Lori Finnigan

    Reese

    Great post. This may sound hokey but I was blessed with great parents who let me be me. They had strong values and morals and were involved in the community but they never pushed any of us kids (3) to be something we were clearly not going to be. I was a bookworm (still am), very quiet, smart in school. I was also very athletic and remember having lots of friends. The one thing I know for sure is that I seldom worried about what others thought of me. I can’t change what people think about me but if I’m a good person, doing my best at whatever I’m doing and am a good friend, then there’s not much more I can do. This has always been my motto for as long as I can remember.

    Today, at 45 years old, I am still told by my mother that I am just a big kid and will probably never grow up. That’s a good thing, and she laughs everytime she says it. Cartoons are still my favorite shows, and family pranks and games with the kids and singing w/movies with my sister are still top priorities.

    This post still hit home for me-I need to continue to find my humor and laughter of my younger days. I lost it along the way through nobody’s fault but my own: being too serious w/work and ups & downs with married life. They’re coming back, though, and I feel lighter in spirit than I have in years. I believe it is due in great part to the wonderful people I have met over this past year.

    Woo Hoo!

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Lori,
      You have amazing parents! They helped support and strengthen your character. What a gift you were given…to be at ease with yourself at a young age and beyond.

      Yes, the people we meet can lighten our hearts. I’ve met a few dear friends online that I think, in part, inspired this post–because they helped encourage me to bring back a lighter, happier me.

  • http://sallyg.me Sally G.

    Good morning Reese – and, everyone!! This is a beautiful post ~ and it feels wonderful to be granted permission to Scavenger Hunt for lost aspects of the Self.

    Over the years, I have found lost bits of me in books (heroines I connected to, settings I longed to be a part of, story-lines that moved me), in song lyrics, in natural settings and mostly – near water (lakes, rivers, oceans, rain).

    I have started sharing these aspects out loud – and am feeling more comfortable accepting who I actually am rather than always striving to shore up the parts of me that never feel good enough. Those aspects simply don’t fit, they were never really mine to wear in the first place ~ and it’s getting easier and easier to simply release them forever.

    I read through the comments before leaving one of my own. I think you’re all inspiring, radiant and perfect exactly as you are – and as you are creating yourselves to be …

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Thank you Sally for chiming in. I agree one of the most wonderful things of the past few years has been finding story lines and other things I love…and realizing what ones really define the calling of my heart.

  • Lia Huber

    What a great post, Reese! Mine was–and still is–”you’re a bit too intense.” And I’m an introvert by nature! But when I’m passionate about something, that passion just kind of exudes from me and freaks some people out. I’m learning to say, to hell with the fact that my passion freaks you out; if you can’t hack it, walk away. But I ain’t gonna tone it down.

    Thanks for the inspiration! I feel like I’m running across your name everywhere I look … hmmm ;-)

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

      Hi Lia,
      If you’re running across my name everyone, it’s not necessarily intentional! Like you, I’m a celebrated introvert :)

      I know what you mean about intensity. The thing is, that’s like a fire a burnin’ in your soul. And that fire is what will help you do really great things in this world. So, here’s some more kindling for it ;) *tosses wood* :D

  • http://twitter.com/DooneyPug Lori Finnigan

    Ok going from BEET red to totally on fire. I am in agreement with all. Reese should do a blog. Do we need to start a Facebook petition a la Betty White?

  • http://twitter.com/DooneyPug Lori Finnigan

    Lori, you hit the nail on the head for me. Although we all have different childhood experiences, the point is to draw from what we have and where we've been and never stop improving, growing, learning, loving. Continue to put one foot in front of the other and don't give up. As my mom would say everytime I get upset with my cluttered house “Pick up a dish, you gotta start somewhere”.

  • http://twitter.com/DooneyPug Lori Finnigan

    That was a great post. I thought she was reading my mind, seriously. I have met so many people of all walks of life and am enjoying every minute of it. My family doesn't quite understand it, and they think I might self-combust if I am not holding my iPhone. I just laugh. They are the ones missing out IMHO.

    On a side note, I am trying to talk my daughter into doing this 30 day #CIP. Any words of wisdom to convince her?

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Joe (can I call ya joe?) sorry for the late reply here:
    Your brave story reminds me of some people I'm close to…and I can see now why they behave the way they do today.

    I can't imagine being a young child, and feeling like my path of failure is already cut out for me because of my grandfather's opinion of my mother. The effects of that on a kid have got to be huge.

    Love that you found the internet…and it give you new strength and helped you not feel so alone. I'm glad you came to this community to talk, and I hope you'll stick around Sarah's for a while. There are kind people here who will welcome you.

  • http://twitter.com/DooneyPug Lori Finnigan

    Reese

    Great post. This may sound hokey but I was blessed with great parents who let me be me. They had strong values and morals and were involved in the community but they never pushed any of us kids (3) to be something we were clearly not going to be. I was a bookworm (still am), very quiet, smart in school. I was also very athletic and remember having lots of friends. The one thing I know for sure is that I seldom worried about what others thought of me. I can't change what people think about me but if I'm a good person, doing my best at whatever I'm doing and am a good friend, then there's not much more I can do. This has always been my motto for as long as I can remember.

    Today, at 45 years old, I am still told by my mother that I am just a big kid and will probably never grow up. That's a good thing, and she laughs everytime she says it. Cartoons are still my favorite shows, and family pranks and games with the kids and singing w/movies with my sister are still top priorities.

    This post still hit home for me-I need to continue to find my humor and laughter of my younger days. I lost it along the way through nobody's fault but my own: being too serious w/work and ups & downs with married life. They're coming back, though, and I feel lighter in spirit than I have in years. I believe it is due in great part to the wonderful people I have met over this past year.

    Woo Hoo!

  • http://sallyg.me Sally G.

    Good morning Reese – and, everyone!! This is a beautiful post ~ and it feels wonderful to be granted permission to Scavenger Hunt for lost aspects of the Self.

    Over the years, I have found lost bits of me in books (heroines I connected to, settings I longed to be a part of, story-lines that moved me), in song lyrics, in natural settings and mostly – near water (lakes, rivers, oceans, rain).

    I have started sharing these aspects out loud – and am feeling more comfortable accepting who I actually am rather than always striving to shore up the parts of me that never feel good enough. Those aspects simply don't fit, they were never really mine to wear in the first place ~ and it's getting easier and easier to simply release them forever.

    I read through the comments before leaving one of my own. I think you're all inspiring, radiant and perfect exactly as you are – and as you are creating yourselves to be …

  • Lia Huber

    What a great post, Reese! Mine was–and still is–”you're a bit too intense.” And I'm an introvert by nature! But when I'm passionate about something, that passion just kind of exudes from me and freaks some people out. I'm learning to say, to hell with the fact that my passion freaks you out; if you can't hack it, walk away. But I ain't gonna tone it down.

    Thanks for the inspiration! I feel like I'm running across your name everywhere I look … hmmm ;-)

  • lorilatimer

    You're exactly right, Lori. We just have to keep moving forward and realize that we have the power to change the present and the future – we aren't stuck in the past if we don't choose to be.

    And your mom is right. Just one little step can help you chart a whole new course.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Lia,
    If you're running across my name everyone, it's not necessarily intentional! Like you, I'm a celebrated introvert :)

    I know what you mean about intensity. The thing is, that's like a fire a burnin' in your soul. And that fire is what will help you do really great things in this world. So, here's some more kindling for it ;) *tosses wood* :D

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Thank you Sally for chiming in. I agree one of the most wonderful things of the past few years has been finding story lines and other things I love…and realizing what ones really define the calling of my heart.

  • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

    Hi Lori,
    You have amazing parents! They helped support and strengthen your character. What a gift you were given…to be at ease with yourself at a young age and beyond.

    Yes, the people we meet can lighten our hearts. I've met a few dear friends online that I think, in part, inspired this post–because they helped encourage me to bring back a lighter, happier me.

  • http://www.antiquesrepublic.com/ Antiques Mall

    I really appreciate this story. I remember when I was in that stage where everything I do seems so wrong to others.. :(

  • http://www.antiquesrepublic.com/ Antiques Mall

    I really appreciate this story. I remember when I was in that stage where everything I do seems so wrong to others.. :(

  • Pingback: Gathering Up the Pieces I Left Behind | Lisa Unmasked

  • http://twitter.com/Thursdayyoga Renee Greiner

    Thank you for sharing.   I especially loved this line, “The people who inspire us and give us pause are generally goofier and
    less manufactured than the saccharine smiles of the self-help or coach
    or marketer crowd.”

    • http://twitter.com/reese reese spykerman

       thanks, Renee :)