Watering Yourself Down
*I chose these specific pictures because they are moments where I remember feeling most genuinely, vibrantly, alive*
So I am going to come right out and say it, this week’s post is not going to be about food. Shocking, I know. As a writer (I guess that’s what I would call myself?) and a human, I don’t want to restrict what I feel as though I can and can’t write about. For my own sanity, I need to write about all aspects of my life. The good, the bad, and, quite frankly, the very very ugly. Of course, not all of that will make it up onto this blog, but a good bit of it will (at least that’s the plan). Also, after three weeks of not posting and, honestly, not much cooking, I just don’t have the energy to sit here and tell you about the cookies I made last night.
However, there will be a Christmas cookies (!!!!) post and a Christmas Eve-food post coming soon in a couple of days so stay tuned for that!
Tonight, as I’m sitting in bed at 12:41 am writing this post, I cannot stop thinking about a podcast I listened to earlier today. The podcast is called Thick & Thin by Katy Belotte, and the episode I was watching is titled, “Being ‘Too Much.’” First off, if you are a young woman and you have not been listening to this podcast already, then get on that right now and get ready to binge them. Katy is such a talented speaker and advice-giver, and has inspired a lot of the writing that I have already done and still hope to do on this blog. She’s already obviously inspired this post.
Anyways, the episode was about how women, and honestly just people in general, often feel as though they have to water themselves down because they are “too much” for some people to handle. Too loud, too smart, too successful, too proud, too much of anything. Girls are taught at such a young age that they should make themselves smaller to satisfy the comfort of others. They’re also taught that men do not like girls that are “too much” because it intimidates and emasculates them.
Katy spoke about all of these ideas. Initially, I was listening and thinking, “oh it is so sad that some women feel like they have to water themselves down just so they don’t offend someone else.” Then I listened a little more, and I thought about it a little more…and I realized just how much I do this too. When was the last time you didn’t share your good news with anyone because you didn’t want to seem like you were bragging, or you were afraid to seem narcissistic? I do this more than I’m willing to admit. Part of me feels like it’s not even something to complain about though. Like I should be considerate of other’s feelings and how I am contributing towards those feelings. But, honestly, now as I just typed that and a read it back to myself, I realized how incredibly stupid it sounds. I deserve to be feel happy and proud of myself when good things happen to me. I deserve to be able to celebrate my accomplishments, and those who love me should be just as happy to support and celebrate by my side. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable demand in life.
I think a lot of these feelings of coming on too strong or being too much spur from a feeling of not deserving happiness. I shrink myself down so that I don’t make you feel bad about yourself and because I don’t really deserve a celebration for myself. We tell ourselves, “Oh, it’s not that big of a deal” when we know it is. Or “I’m not sharing my good news because he/she had a bad day. It would be cruel to rub this in their face like that.” No. One person’s success or happiness does not deject from the success or happiness of another. Period. There’s not a limited supply of happy to go around.
As much as I am able to sit behind my laptop and type out neat little tidbits of advice, I am just as guilty of being on the other end of this as anyone. I get so annoyed when some of my friends tell be about their good exam grades or their paper grades, like they’re doing it purposefully to make me feel bad about myself. There’s two very contradicting aspects of that statement. One: why on earth would any decent person, which I am pretty sure all of my friends are, tell me about their good grade solely to make me feel worse about myself? The answer to that question is they wouldn’t. They are telling me about their grade because they are proud of themselves and happy about it—I do this too. We all should feel like we can celebrate our successes, especially with our friends, without being judged by others around us for “oversharing” or bragging.
The second thing is: how does someone else’s good grade have any affect on my life or my grades? It is not a competition—there is no winner or loser, and there isn’t a limited number of As and Bs that can be given. Why do we always feel like someone else’s success makes us less successful? Not just with grades, but with everything. When we see pretty girls on Instagram, why do we automatically feel so ugly? It’s not like our physical appearance drastically changed in the 10 seconds it took to look at that picture, yet that is the effect that it had. I genuinely do not have an answer to this. I don’t know if it’s human nature to envy or a human obsession with competition and I wish I knew, but I really don’t.
Overall, listening to this podcast episode left me feeling two ways. First, it made me want to be that loud, exciting, vivacious, and energetic person who inspires people and makes them feel like gold. If that is “too much,” then I want to be “too much” of absolutely everything.
Second, it left me with a 2019 new years resolution: although I may have these brief moments of jealousy, fleeting thoughts is all they should be. I want to be able to be happy for my friends when they succeed, when they have good news, or when they’ve simply just had a good day, no matter how awful mine may have been. I want to actively work on bettering myself so I can be a better friend, daughter, sister, etc. I want to be able to be confident enough in myself and know exactly what I deserve, so that when those fleeting thoughts come, I know exactly how to push them away.
Regardless of whether or not this post has had any impact on you whatsoever at this point, I just want to leave you with one last thing. Do not be afraid to be that person that might be “too much” of anything and everything. Be loud, be crazy, be successful, be strong, be powerful, be a force to be reckoned with. Be everything you want to be, not despite what others say, but in spite of that. I want to finish this off with a quote I just found on Pinterest that kind of sums up everything I’ve been trying to say: “You will always be too much of something for someone: too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone—profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.” —Danielle Laporte