I think one the hardest things we face when young is authenticity.
Somewhere around Grade 4 we become aware of other's opinions, of how we look to others and what it feels like to be judged, for better or worse.
From there many of us shrink our true selves and instead outwardly project a persona we think will be most acceptable to those "others".
Two things come to mind.
No one ever told us that this was happening or that everyone else was busy doing the same things.
Secondly, this can lead to (and certainly did for me) a suppression of our true selves, our desires and our goals. We slowly swallowed ourselves whole.
For me that led to an eating disorder, zero self-esteem and absolutely no clue what to do with my life. If you're arriving at my site on this page for the first time feel free to explore my other musings to get a more detailed commentary on my own struggles.
Recently I read a post by one of my absolute favourite Aussie bloggers, Pip Lincolne (from Meetmeatmikes), with a wonderful long list of questions she has answered for herself, and us, regarding where she is at right now. Pip calls it "Taking Stock".
It occurred to me that this would be a really useful tool to use in my own getting-to-know-me journey. It seems a really simple but focused way to practice mindfulness without the 'woo', as that is something I find very difficult to get past with most mindfulness activities. Ask me to open my mind, sit quietly with my thoughts and breathe and I will run in the opposite direction, my anxiety isn't ready for that. Tell me to slow down in neon colours and I will pay attention.
Taking stock, taking a moment, checking in, knowing yourself.
So I've copied out Pip's list and will answer it in this post, and possibly come up with my own prompts for another time. Maybe you'd like to do this for yourself or online or just pick out a couple of things to ponder.
Making : The list of unfinished projects at the moment is too long. My biggest project for now is creating a backyard cottage just for me so that I can write all summer long in the garden.
Cooking : Muffins, I managed to make choc chip muffins this morning. Have already eaten more than one, oops. Or not oops, it's just food. I need to stop thinking like that.
Drinking : I should say water but let's be honest. It's wine. Chardonnay from Oz or California.
Reading: Too many books at once. But Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris is great so far.
Next read: Games for Actors and Non-Actors by Augusto Boal. Yep, theatre nerd. This is a re-read but it's been ages and I'm teaching speech and drama now.
Wanting: More time. More sleep. More energy. More patience.
Looking: At my dog, Neko. I spend a lot of time just looking at her. She often looks back and we can just sit there staring into each other's eyes. Makes my heart melt.
Playing: Tug games, stick throwing, soccer with Neko.
Deciding: To send my kid off on her own this summer to the UK for ten days to stay with family. Achingly difficult thing to do but also I'm proud of myself for going with it and she will have an amazing time.
Wishing: I could pick my Mum up from Australia and just carry her around with me. I miss her.
Enjoying: The amazing feedback I received earlier this week for my most recent blog post.
Waiting: For Spring. Honestly, Toronto takes it time but this year it's too long. C'mon already!
Liking: The huge activist movement building around the world, especially those young people who are guiding us. I bow to their incredible tenacity and hope.
Wondering: What I would have done differently growing up if I'd had the courage to be true to myself.
Loving: Instagram and Pinterest. Pictures of beautiful things made by clever people, gorgeous homes and gardens. Give me colour. Colour, colour, colour! I can't get enough.
Pondering: What to write about next.
Considering: Creating a workshop to teach artisans the confidence to speak proudly about their work in person at shows.
Buying: Magazines! I admit it. I have a problem.
Watching: Baroness Von Sketch Show. It's pretty adorable comedy from a bunch of Canadian women. I missed it on tv but now it's on Netflix. Yay!
Next watch: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. I feel like spending time with Phryne again so I'm going back to the beginning and starting over.
Hoping: For a Trump indictment.
Marvelling: At the students I am teaching speech and drama to, so many are coming out of their awkward teen shells already and we still have 6 weeks to go.
Cringing: At the mention of US politics. I mean. Ugh.
Needing: A massage.
Questioning: If I have found the right blue for the bathroom.
Smelling: My favourite candle which burns regularly from Campy Candles. Wearing: Jeans and sweats. Rinse. Repeat. Following: Dan Rather's news site, he is keeping it real. News and Guts.
Worrying: About sending my kid on her own to the Uk.
Noticing: The fridge is empty. No more putting the supermarket off. Sigh.
Knowing: That I am on the right path at last.
Thinking: About how I'm always overthinking. Sigh.
Admiring: People who never seem to procrastinate.
Sorting: The cupboards in the basement. Almost done.
Getting: Lots of wall paint this weekend. Paint. Paint. Paint.
Bookmarking: All those online courses I still haven't completed.
Disliking: The shitty sleep I usually get.
Opening: An easter egg as soon as I'm done here.
Giggling: John Oliver. When he takes time off I notice the space he usually fills helping me make sense of things and reminding me to retain my humour about it all.
Feeling: Tired. Tired AF.
Snacking: I think I mentioned the easter egg?
Hearing: Neko is snoring. She had a big morning playing with her BFF.
So, there you have it. You may know me a little better. And I have spent a little time just thinking about what I'm doing right now. It's actually quite nice to sit and ponder and shut everything else out. I will add, however, that I actually had a small panic attack after drafting this post. I had to leave it alone and do something else, as it can actually be confronting to spend time alone with the real me when I'm still not quite used to it. Who knew such a simple list would have such an impact. I wonder if it would do that for anyone else...
Give it a try? You'll find a blank list at the bottom of this page to copy and paste. Happy trails.