I’ve come to realize that making that statement of personal choice makes me feel strong and empowered. Any time that I make a statement or a choice that I feel is truly right for me at that moment—even if it’s contrary to what others may be doing—I feel that I’m standing within my more genuine self.
When I was younger, it was important to fit in with the “tribe” and be accepted. It’s probably a primal thing; at one time, being in a tribe provided safety, companionship, sharing, common bonds. One would assimilate into the operative norms of the tribe; to be cast out from it could mean danger, deprivation, loneliness, perhaps death.
So, like most of us, I adopted many of the behaviors of those around me. I adopted a sort of pseudo-self, one who went along with what most of my friends at the time did. I had 70s hair – like my friends. I got married shortly after high school – like my friends. In my 30s, I used to drink wine on occasion – like my friends.
Even decor-wise, I went along with the crowd for awhile. When I bought my home, the French Country look was big and really appealed to me, and so I painted the walls to look aged, used FC colors and patterns, bought FC accessories. It was all quite lovely; I enjoyed it, friends enjoyed it. It was pretty, comfortable, cozy.
After awhile, though, I realized that it wasn’t really me … and I painted the walls aqua, painted the trim crisp white, and added accents in chocolate and fresh green. I simplified accessories, made everything less busy and fussy, pared it all down. And I absolutely, totally love it. Simpler is better suited to my genuine self at this time.
As the years pass, I find myself releasing that pseudo-self more and asking my genuine self what it is that *I* like, what is it that *I* enjoy personally.
It’s pretty similar to when I was first divorced. I was so used to buying products and foods that we both agreed on as a couple (compromise is part of being a couple), that I had to consciously learn to buy products that I personally preferred because I didn’t have to share them with anyone else but my daughter.
I don’t abstain from alcohol for any moral or judgmental reason, for example. I have no problem with others drinking responsibly. Quite simply, I’ve just never really liked the way it affects me. I used to drink on occasion, but was never into it; I didn’t feel like me. My genuine self eventually realized that I just drank to be socially accepted in the crowd. My daughter used to laugh at me, though, because I’d nurse the same beer for an entire party – never fooled her!
I try to make more conscious decisions about my choices these days. What do *I* like? For beverages, I like tea. Preferably Yogi Tea Egyptian Licorice tea. Oh, sooooo good! If not that, then Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Tea. I’ve never tried chai tea, which seems to be quite popular. Being popular isn’t a reason for me to try things any longer, though. I love that my good friends all respect my choice to not drink alcohol. At a gathering recently, someone asked if I wanted a beer and my good buddy Chris told them, no, Rose drinks tea. Made me smile.
I find that I don’t follow the crowd like I used to, but try to find my own way more these days. I try to tap into my genuine self and define what is suitable for me. Hmmm … a nice cup of tea sounds so good right now …