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loving myself with a nose piercing
A Nose Ring, A Bikini, and 37… Oh My!

Yep! For my 37th birthday, I got my nose pierced.

And it was not some subconscious way to reconnect with my youth. And I was not having a mid life crisis; it’s still a little too early for that. People are living way longer than 74!

For me, it became about making a very outward statement about who I am on the inside. It's a way of showing that I am learning to love myself. It’s something I have been thinking about for years, but fear has always kept me from doing it. Not fear of pain. I mean, I’ve had three children. It was fear of rejection and judgment, which is a completely different beast.

In the midst of my battle with Lyme Disease, it made me realize how “small” I had been living. Often, I would downplay my pain or struggle to make other people feel more comfortable. It isn’t until you become sick that you realize just how uncomfortable seeing someone suffer can make other people. It really made me reflect upon my entire life, and over and over again I saw the smallness in my actions. Even taking a compliment without completely downplaying my accomplishment was pretty much impossible.

It’s pretty ironic that I became a teacher, because all I wanted to do as a student was disappear. Even though I knew the answers, I never wanted to be called on. I was an excellent reader, but never wanted to read aloud to the class. At a very young age, the fear of making a mistake in front of others played a huge role in how I did life.

For as long as I can remember, I associated love with acceptance. Splitting my childhood between two houses left me with a desperate desire to belong. I found that when I was at one house, I completely suppressed my needs and wants to be as compliant as possible. By the time I got to the other house mid-week, it would this emotional suppression would backfire. I was an emotional wreck and everything would come spewing out.

It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but it was my way of dealing with constant change.

I tried for a very long time to fit myself into a box. Being a teacher and a mother only made that desire to fit in stronger. I never underestimated the importance of my influence as an educator and wanted to make sure I was ALWAYS the best version of myself.

But that becomes EXHAUSTING, and we all do it to ourselves as mothers. When I got sick, it became impossible. For some of us, there is this invisible rulebook that we are trying to follow and getting your nose pierced is definitely not in the manual. Often in the newness of motherhood, we lose a small piece of our identity. It’s so funny the limitations we put on ourselves. For me, wearing a bikini became one of those things. I have no idea why (seriously, why do people think that moms aren't allowed to wear bikinis?), but it did. Well, I took that back this year too!

loving myself in a bikini

Please don’t confuse what I am saying with not being myself. I know who I am. I always have. But I've learned not to apologize for it and to just own all the good and bad that comes with being myself.

It’s also learning to live out loud and allowing yourself the grace to make all the mistakes. I think one of the hardest lessons to learn as an adult is that not everyone is for you. There are actual people who are waiting silently to see you fail, and that’s okay. No matter how well you do something, there will always be critics. I’m not saying you should be completely selfish, but your life journey is not about other people. It’s about you.

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