As a young woman I thought I had to conform to certain ways.
I thought I had to be preppy or sporty, fun or serious, smart or dumb, ambitious or lazy. I thought I had to choose and I thought all my choices had to line up.
I thought I could never be an over achiever at work and lazy about cleaning my apartment, I had to be an over achiever ALL the time. I thought if I listened to rap music that I couldn’t also like church. So in my early twenties, I chose church. I thought that if I was fun people wouldn’t take me seriously, so I chose to be serious and not let my guard down too much.
It was like I had to fit into this perfect box. Only, I was the only one building and evaluating the box.
And I’m not sure when it happened, but I made a shift– and I told myself that it was okay to be both — to like this and that. And an entirely new world opened up for me.
Here are a few things that I love and that may seem contradictory.
Rap and Jesus. When I work out, I LOVE angry rap. I have nothing to be angry about, but I love it. I pump iron and bob my head like I’m Iggy. And, I love Jesus. I love Jesus and the Good Word and church and praying. Both/and.
Sports and Dresses. I love watching sports, I love listening to sports talk radio. I love rooting for a team. I love rivalries. I love friendly trash talk. I also love dressing up in gowns, having the door opened for me and having gentleman stand up when I leave a table. Both/and.
Goals and Television. I love setting goals, working toward them, making progress and achieving them. I also love binge watching 30 Rock with a huge tub of popcorn. Both/and.
Girls Night and Alone Time. I love hanging out with new friends and old friends. I love creating bonds. I love creating a sense of community. I also love being alone. I love eating a quiet meal alone, shopping alone and watching a good movie…alone. Both/and.
Health and Cake. I am a health enthusiast. I read books, shop consciously, feed our family the cleanest, most wholesome food I can find. I am a proponent of being healthy not for weight, but for vitality. I also love cake, specifically the frosting on the cake. I dream of frosting from my favorite bakery. Both/and.
Serious and Irreverent. Most people would describe me as a serious person, I think. Maybe not. But in general, I’m clear on what I want, I don’t dilly dally, and when I say something – I always follow through. Also, I can be really irreverent and I can hold my own in the foul mouth/vulgar joke department. One of my favorite shows is, The League. Guys, it’s a show about friends in a fantasy football league. It’s beyond vulgar and the banter is lightning speed and I love it. Both/and.
The less I paint myself into a box, the more fun life has become. I mean, the point of it all is to enjoy ourselves, right? Let’s give ourselves the freedom to be both/and!