Own Your Awesome

[Author’s note: I’m asking your forgiveness up front for what I suspect may be, at best, a rambling, half-coherent post. As i begin to draft, I’m working on about 5 hours sleep in the last 36. But something is clawing its way out of my head into this post, despite my efforts to wait until I’m awake and remember how to edit. You’ve been warned.]

Seems the universe has a message it’s trying to force into my head, make real in my consciousness. Everywhere I turn lately, it seems, I’m confronted by the same theme in a variety of presentations. Some are ‘slap you in the face’ direct messages. Some are indirect ‘see what I mean?’ cosmic snark. But all of them are designed to challenge life-long beliefs, call into question fundamental assumptions that comprise my very being.

That’s all nicely mysterious. But that’s not really what I’m going for. It’s just hard to articulate more clearly.

Ultimately, the message I’m seeing is a mix of: “you is kind, you is smart, you is important” and “own your awesome”.

Depending on what I’m doing/thinking at the time I encounter these little pep-talks, my reactions to them vary widely.

Bear with me as I try to map this out.

First, as I’ve revealed on this blog, I’m in the process of both coming out of the closet and of redefining or discovering who I truly am. All this at the ripe ol’ age of 44; roughly double the age most people tackle these things. So, point #1, I’m a little late to the party and am scrambling to catch up.

Second, and also evident in what I’ve shared on this blog, is that I’ve got what may be politely called a ‘complex’ relationship with my body and outward appearance. As everyone else in the world does, I struggle with remaining positive about something the world tells me daily is only ever negative, bad, wrong. Point #2 is that I have a lot to overcome in my head to feel easy in my own skin from day to day.

And third, beyond my view of my physical person, is the unrelenting socialization I’ve internalized that works against the changes coming about in my life. Lessons in Christian selflessness, down-home humility, Southern obedience, and Midwestern grit, have combined into a powerfully concentrated syrup of self-deprecation that coats my every thought. Point #3 is that it is very hard for me to not only take a compliment gracefully, but also to internalize it, think of myself in those terms without squirming and cringing.

The way these three points intersect has a lot to do with why I struggle so with the decision to come out to my friends and family.

A recent conversation with a friend highlighted one aspect of this particularly well. In telling me (patiently and for the hundredth time) that I deserve to be happy, fulfilled, she asserted that I needed to get “comfortable in asking for what [I] want, acknowledging what [I] want is real, valid and acceptable”.

Her point was that coming out is essential to achieving that happiness. But, even before getting to the monumental coming out decision, this point throws harsh light on a crack in my being that I try to ignore and hide under a veneer of laughing geniality: I’m fundamentally insecure in my right to be happy.

Is there such a thing as a right to happiness? Or is happiness a privilege, a unicorn that comes to some and not others? Do the misfits have as much ‘right’ to happiness as the privileged?

There’s no neat and tidy conclusion to this post answering all of these questions with a happily-ever-after warm fuzzy. My answer to all of those questions at the moment is: I don’t know.

But as my favorite law professor was fond of saying: “”I don’t know” is a fine, acceptable answer only for a moment and only if followed with furious effort to crush the ‘don’t’ to dust.”

So, I guess it’s boot-strap time again. Here I go, off to crush the ‘don’t’ and learn to own my awesome.


13 comments so far

  1. eacoyle on

    You wrote this on only 5 hours of sleep? Kudos! Good luck with the road ahead of you–your friend is absolutely right that you deserve happiness.

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Hi! Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m still working on the ‘deserving’ bit. Happiness is an aspiration. Thanks for the up!

      By the way, your blog is amazing–intentional gratitude and positivity. Inspirational.

      • eacoyle on

        I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by. I know people in their 80s who still don’t get the deserving bit, so I’d say you’re ahead of the game at 44. Keep up the great work on your blog!

  2. MakingSpace on

    Sometimes, amazing insights come when our defenses against inner truth are down due to exhaustion, or just going to sleep, or just waking up. It’s lovely to read your process here.

    First, you’re gorgeous. Please. Nobody needs to see you to know that.
    Second, you certainly have the right to pursue happiness. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of…” – get my drift?
    Third, and here you are going to have to take a breath: I would bet solid money that 90% of the people in your life know you are gay and are sitting around waiting for you to tell them so they can support you. I’m just guessing here, since I don’t know you or the folks in your life. But I would lay down a solid bet that pretty damn near everyone knows.
    Fourth, you’re not late to the party. You’re just taking it all in your own time. And you can absolutely count on a huge crowd of people waiting for you to get there, so they can embrace you and welcome you and celebrate you. This is bedrock truth.

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      MS: *blushing*. Thanks! Your support, and the confidence with which you offer it, is overwhelming. Seriously, thanks. And I hope you are right about everyone knowing. If so, then my biggest challenge is telling the first one. After that, they’ll fall like dominoes.

  3. FemOutLoud on

    Re: MakingSpace’s reply…Exactly. What she said. That. I could not possibly say it any better, so I won’t try. Thank you, MakingSpace.

    Re: “Is there a right to happiness?”
    For the moment, let’s shift that question over to familiar solid ground for you. Whatever rights should exist, the idea of rights that do exist pretty much comes down to the things we’ve laid out in social constructs as rights, usually codified as laws. I have a right to vote because I meet the criteria of a certain set of laws, while someone very much like me in China does not, because her criteria are different. So let’s just keep it there, where I know you’ve at least a bit of a comfort zone, and ask instead, “Do you have a right to pursue happiness?”

    Well, yes. That one’s easy, right? I’m guessing you can even point instantly to the source of my wording and provide the context.

    So that means that whether or not you achieve happiness, you absolutely do have the right to seek it, to define what happiness means in your life, on your terms, and then try to make it happen.

    Go with that for now, OK? See if it makes things any easier. 😉

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      FOL: You & MS make me blush! Thank you. Of course, you’re correct in defining how rights arise. It’s that construct nature that makes me question. But, truth, there is a right to *pursue* happiness. Thanks for reminding me. And thanks for your steadfast support. It helps more than I can say.

      • FemOutLoud on

        😉 Call it “butch privilege” if you like. But when a strong, hot woman shows her heart, it’s my experience that there’s quite likely to be a femme or two around to take notice and nurture it if welcomed. 😉

      • MakingSpace on


      • Fabulous Mommy on

        I’ll add a third and emphatic “Hell yeah” to what FOL said about femmes taking notice. You have a very endearing way of writing and connecting with us blog followers, and you have a bevy of femmes rooting for you and cheering you on through this amazing transformation.

        You’re definitely moving in the right direction. Well done on a great post.

      • Searching4Self2013 on

        Thanks, FabMom! Feeling a little stunned at the level of support and generosity from all of you fierce femmes! I’m in awe. Thanks so much!

  4. lesbiannefree on

    You are awesome. Your writing touches my life deeply. My journey to find my real self started consciously in my late 30s. As I approached my 60th birthday I felt a strong sense of urgency about time – not much time left to meet my goals of being happy and fulfilled. Fire was lit beneath me and/or within me. It is never too late. Thank you for sharing your intense journey of self-probing, you make a difference.

    • Searching4Self2013 on

      Thank you. It’s such a blessing to know that what I write has meaning for someone else. Best of luck as you continue your journey, friend.

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