I have spent the better part of the last 18 years trying to figure out where I belong. I very distinctly remember my senior year of high school because it was that year I felt most comfortable in my own skin. Graduation came on the verge of so much optimism and possibility - the world was my oyster. For nine years, I fought countless obstacles to finish college and become a teacher, the role I thought would define me and keep me until I retired, but after eight years teaching, the fire had waned. Since I quit, I've been running in circles trying to find that same sense of purpose again and today, an epiphany hit me like a freight train barreling down the track.
It can't be explained in one sentence or one emotion, but the vision that keeps dancing through my head in 19 year old me. The girl who was wild and full of possibility. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being "normal" - settling down and being the traditional version of grown up, if that is your flavor. Turns out, I've been so miserable because that is not my flavor. I've consistently chosen jobs that put people in boxes, jobs that require khaki pants and button down shirts, and today I realized that just isn't me.
I have lots of tattoos and I've had them for many years now, but they are all where I can professionally cover them up. Again, there is nothing wrong with this. It is practical and sensible, but there has always been a part of me who looks at the girls with pink hair and piercings and it nudges something inside me - something long dormant and sleeping. For my 38th birthday, which is tomorrow, I got a brand new tattoo and it speaks to my bravery and rebelliousness - the firey passion on my inside. While I was getting said tattoo, they informed me that I could get $10 off of a piercing that same day. My friend, who has her nose pierced, suggested that I get my nose pierced too. I was terrified - utterly convinced that this would be the most painful thing that ever happened to me, but I braved up, made my friend hold my hand, and did it. BOOM! The door blew off the back of my brain.
I was 19 again and the world was full of possibility. If I could do this, I could do anything. I could be anything. I love the job I'm at now, really love it because they really appreciate me, and they didn't even notice that I got my nose pierced. I don't regret a single day of being a teacher; I learned so much, but now I'm ready to be me. And I'm asking myself all sorts of important questions like why did I stop writing and drawing? Why did I give up on wearing impractical shoes and dancing like a maniac in the kitchen to Bob Seger? Why did I stop having tea parties for the hell of it?
My husband is one of the most supportive and understanding people in the universe, I can't blame him. I think I just wrapped myself up in what I thought life should look like instead of really, really living it. I go on amazing vacations, I hang out with amazing friends - why do I wait for the few times a year that this should happen. Maybe I'm having my midlife crisis early, or maybe I've finally found it - that rainbow connection between the lovers, the dreamers, and me. Whatever it is, I'm on fire and nothing can stop me now.
I'm a blogger and educator breaking through stigmas and helping women find their voice.