When I was ten, I had a blog centered all around the drama of my Sims 2 families. Yes, it was as juicy as it sounds. There were devastating affairs (that I had orchestrated), unrequited love stories (featuring variations of my crushes—I know I’m not alone in this), and often more than one generation of Miranda in the same town because I kept creating myself to live out different career paths.
If you asked me if I had any fear around publishing my first post, I would’ve had no idea what you meant. I would have looked at you and asked, “Fear of… what? Getting hacked?” No, sweet child.
A little fear that tends to crop up around age twelve and continues to grow untethered well into your twenties. What do we call it?
Say it in the back for me!
A fear of judgement!
Judgement of what?
Of being who you are!
*Cue an applause of agreement*
It’s strange, the whole thing. We have one damn life, and so much of it can be spent pruning yourself into the person you think people will accept you as most.
When I’ve asked, “Do you feel at home with who you are?” to the folx who have opened up their homes to me so far on this blog, I’ve learned so much about how others relate to this question.
Elsa immediately answered from the perspective of feeling newly at home with her sexuality after chopping off her hair. Ali spoke about the process of returning to a sense of home within her body after a gruelling surgery. And, for me, I feel most at home with who I am when I’m realizing some part of my creative self—whatever that may look like. Feeling at “home” with yourself can take on so many meanings.
Enviably, ten-year-olds typically don’t need to work to feel at home with themselves. They choose to write a blog post… and they write it. That’s that. As we grow older, though, our idea of who we should be affects our idea of who we want to be. We then end up thinking things, doing things, wanting things that are all based on someone else’s compass.
Should you cut your hair like that?
Should you post this photo?
Should you apply for that job, when you have a perfectly fine one already?
Should, should, should. In the words of psychologist Albert Ellis, we should all over ourselves everyday. It’s a national pastime.
Let’s try something, though.
Close your eyes and try to jump back into your ten year old body for a split second. The should-detector is barely working at this point. It’s there, sure, but only as there as it’s just barely stopping you from going to school with an extremely authentic-looking wand. That’s when some annoying part of your brain piped up for the first time, the should-version-of-you, and said, “Hm, you probably shouldn’t do that.” And welcome to the rest of your life.
Ten years later, that tiny little voice has grown into an incredible, mammoth version of yourself. This is Should-You. They reside confidently in a shadowy corner of your prefrontal cortex, waiting for you to make the kinds of decisions that feel liberating, untethered to anyone’s expectations. You may think, “What a cute dress. I should wear that today!” And Should-You bellows, “You should NOT do that. You’ll look like a fool. Wear that t-shirt instead.” They then start doing one-handed push-ups repeating the exact same words until you cave.
Today, when our should-detectors are going off hourly, we need to remember that this part of ourselves sprung from an effort to protect us at all costs. From shame, bullying, ridicule, heartbreak. But when we blindly adhere to its warnings, we let it grow unchecked into a stifling, overprotective mess. And at that point, we’re not being protected; we’re simply muzzled.
As with any behaviour or thought pattern shift, it’s going to feel uncomfortable to start acting on the decisions you want to make versus the decisions you’ve felt you always should make. I mean, the voice telling you what you should do has been taking singing lessons for the past decade.
But, here’s a trick. Without thinking, just try obeying what you want to do without pretending it’s up for debate. Don’t go pillaging the local bakery or shaving your eyebrows off because you’re so goddamn tired of plucking them. These will be decisions like, “I want to share my blog with a few more people.” Or maybe, “I will let someone know when they’ve hurt me, without it being a big deal.” Without even opening the floor up for conversation with Should-You, just do it.
In some ways, this can be a lot of fun. It can feel almost entertaining. Like a secret joke with yourself. You’ll hear, “Oh my god, am I doing this?” as you carry on with a seemingly innocuous part of life. But every small decision that invites the core nugget of who you are and who you want to be out into the world is a big deal.
So whatever thought that has cropped up into your head while reading this, whatever decision you’ve been mulling over, ask yourself, WWASWVOYTYOSS? Oh, sorry, that hasn’t caught on yet. I meant to say: ask yourself, What would a slightly wiser version of your ten year old self say?
Chances are, they’d say, “That’s a really boring question, but, sure, wear those pink pants!”
Curious about the photos of the charming home throughout?
I found these photos on a Swedish realtor’s website and I have a burning question (or two, or three): is this normal for Swedish realtors to stage their homes to such perfection? Why on earth aren’t more realtors staging their homes to look like someone’s actual dream come to life? Does anyone know of Vancouver/Canadian realtors doing the same thing?
“We know that highlighting each home with its unique history creates an experience that has a strong impact on stakeholders. With us, your home will not be one in the crowd.”Historiska Hem
If you need more inspiration, I implore you to go check out this website asap. It’s a bit mind-blowing.