I have spent so much of my life being quiet because I didn’t want to be inappropriate.
No. Fuck that.
It’s time to live out loud. To shed the skin of shame and doubt and morph into what I’m becoming, which is a beautiful result of all the ups and downs of my life. Of all the joy and the pain, the hiding and the showing. It's me, damnit, and it's not inappropriate.
My neurodivergence often got in the way of me being accepted…so, instead of standing out, I learned to fit in. Instead of being loud with my color choices, I went dark…Agreeing with the group became my comfortable place; instead of saying what I really felt, I hid it. I took bits and pieces of what people said to change how I laughed, what I talked about, what I found interesting and what I wore.
In the process I buried who I really was. The real me was someone I should apologize for, or hide. The real me was someone I only showed to my close inner circle, or when I was fucked up, which I then felt embarrassed about... Instead of being loud, I became quiet.
Life has been changing me for years now, I've been getting louder and more outspoken, but I've also remained feeling...inappropriate.
Honestly, I’ve got nothing to lose since Frank died. My world's been turned upside down and now…it’s a different life I'm living. I'm. a different me and I’m giving myself permission to figure out what that is. In the process, I'm putting a whole lot of "yes" into this year as I find my way.
Sometimes it's "Yes, I'll go to a last minute dance party," or "Yes, Lena you can have your friend spend the night and stay up as late as you possibly can," or "Yes, I'll go to Camp Widow."
Recently, it had to do with shopping for festival clothes. "Yes, I'll get some body bearing clothing I'd never normally wear." So here I was. shopping for clothes before going to the Kate Wolf Music Festival, and I was trying on all kinds of ridiculous things…half shirts, micro minis, breast bearing lacy dresses. I was trying to find the festival me, to get comfortable in this body I’ve got. I knew I didn’t want to hide, but I also don’t want to be…you know...Inappropriate
So, there I am, in this shop, not at all certain of what I'm trying on, so the shopkeeper asks another customer, a man in his 50's or 60's what he thinks of my outift:
"How old are you, Mid 50's?"
No, I'm 47.
"Where are you going?"
Kate Wolf Festival.
"Oh! It's not that kind of festival. It's family-friendly. I mean, you look hot but..."
..But??...oh, that's right SCREW YOU. Boobs are family friendly! And also, I never asked you if I was appropriate, I didn't ask you how old I was...I didn't ask you anything, actually...and anyways, what I had tried on was completely on point for where I was going.
Previous me would have ditched out of that store, convinced I was inappropriate...my body was too ugly, fat or unattractive to be perched in those clothes. I would have felt shame and probably cried.
I still wanted to cry, but I flipped the script.
I decided the real story was that Mr. Jerk Dude thought I was hot and that maybe having feelings like that was inappropriate...that his brain was not giving him the information he wanted, and as a result, he tried to make me feel less than,
So, instead...I bought the damn thing. And I wore it, and I got compliments and I felt good.
And I was appropriate. I was kind and friendly and I felt good in my body.
Who knew that this voyage of self-discovery and grieving and figuring out my neurodiversity would land me in all these places where I get to trust myself...where I get to see what I've really become and what I'm made of.
I don't always get it right, that's for sure, and I'm learning to gauge where that feeling of inappropriate comes from, and if I'm really not certain, to ask someone who is trusted...because sometimes I really just don't know...there's too many other things getting in the way, and I need a helping hand.
It could be like that for you too...you might have places you feel inappropriate, where you feel judged or like you don't fit in, and I wonder...is it really a case of being inappropriate or is it something else? Maybe the wrong message was given to you sometime early on, or you thought that being different was wrong, and perhaps, just maybe, it's none of those things. Maybe we're all doing just fine and don't need to be apologetic for who we are, so long as we're kind and gracious and even somewhat aware of our surroundings,..
The voyage of self-discovery, is a powerful thing. Knowing our worth, our power, and where we fit in is huge. For me, finding my way is finding my appropriateness in this world. It's honoring my strength, my quirks and my journey.
I'm having fun on the journey, isn't that what it's all about?
So here I am, in all my glory. Inappropriate for church...but not for a festival!