There is something else I’ve learned on my Happiness Project in recent months: that is that I am allowed to just be me!
I don’t have to apologize, I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not. I can just be Shawna. The boring, weird, sensitive, prim, proper me. Well, those are words that I’ve been referred to as, but I don’t necessarily think I am.
I read a post at Motherese last week about how whether our views of movies change over time. I had commented how I don’t like certain kinds of movies. Violent or overly gory/scary shows, particularly those that involve violence against women or children, upset me. I have learned that I don’t have to watch that stuff. If my husband wants to watch that kind of movie, fine, but I can choose to leave the room and do something else. I don’t have to apologize for not wanting to see it.
I listen to music that uplifts me and inspires me. It might be classical, it might be a country song, it might be a rock ballad, and yes, it might even be Miley Cyrus. Lyrics are very important to me – it is poetry put to music. I don’t like listening to songs that scream at me or upset me because of the language they use in the lyrics. Again, I don’t have to listen to it! I can change the song. And I don’t have to apologize. I don’t make other people listen to it, that’s why I have an iPod. I might post those kinds of songs here on my blog, but again, you don’t have to listen nor do you have to agree with me.
I write a lot of “sappy” posts. I talk about love and feelings a lot. I read blogs from amazing women (and some men) that inspire me. Blogs that help me explore my faith and beliefs. Blogs that empower women and make me feel good to be one. Many of these posts, I share with everyone on my Facebook wall. In fact, I try to share a lot of positive messages on my wall. I don’t have to apologize for these either. You don’t have to agree with them, you don’t even have to read them. But it is my right to do it. My right to try to spread a little light around. It does no harm.
When people say or do things that I find offensive, I can tolerate it for a little while, but then I just leave the room or talk to someone else. I don’t usually say anything to that person/people because I try to avoid confrontation. Plus, it’s my opinion, and my issue, so I don’t want to force that on anyone else.
Lately, I been finding that I don’t want to even be around those kind of people. And I think that’s my right as well. If I don’t want to listen to chauvinistic or racial slurs, you know what, I don’t have to! If the conversation is offensive to me, I don’t have to participate in it! I don’t even have to listen to it. If I don’t want to be around people that talk like that, I don’t have to! I can choose!
I read a post this week from Bindu about the joy of the unfriend button. Music to my ears. If a relationship does not bring me joy or uplift me or support me, why do I think I need that relationship? If being around that person drains me or makes me sad or even hurts me, why do I continue with it? I shouldn’t have to.
And so, I choose to be around those people that want to know the real me. People that understand me or at least try to. People that give, not just take. People that lift me up and support me in my crazy adventures and ideas. People that I can lean on, but that know they can lean on me too.
People that understand that I don’t like to watch those movies. That I listen to sappy music, that I believe in God and exploring my faith and life, that I don’t enjoy conversations that leave a bad taste in my mouth or hurt my feelings. That I have feelings. Very strong ones.
I will surround myself with people that love me, that listen to me, that support me, that inspire me.
I have the right to just be ME.