These are the lyrics to the song “Reflection” from the movie, “Mulan”. There is never a time I don’t have a reaction to these lyrics. On one side, they make me sad. I spent – no, wasted – too many years trying to mold myself into whom I thought others wanted or expected me to be. On the other side, these lyrics bring me peace because they validate that this many years’ struggle wasn’t unique to only me.

Look at me
I will never pass for a perfect bride
Or a perfect daughter
Can it be

I’m not meant to play this part?
Now I see
That if I were truly to be myself
I would break my family’s heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight
Back at me?
Why is my reflection someone

I don’t know?
Somehow I cannot hide
Who I am
Though I’ve tried

When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Too Much Work Ethic? (cont’d)

I may not actually be the first one ever, but I’m the first one I know of who has been given what are, more-or-less, ‘walking papers’ from a volunteer job! Apparently, from what I can comprehend from the quite convoluted message, all of the (many) suggestions I was offering on ways to grow the company were somehow seen as “demands”. I knew that the manager was a bit of a ‘control freak’, but it was never my intention to do anything more than provide a different perspective on what things are working, what don’t seem to be working, and what could be tried instead.

Initially, I was angry and my pride was severely injured. Ironically, though my pride is not yet completely intact again, I now see this as a blessing. I have some emotional stuff from all of this that I still need to work through, but overall, it needed to happen. It was I who initiated the conversation, after being reminded by my dear brother that I was choosing to be a victim, and remembering the adage, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Obviously, from my previous post, I was frustrated enough that something needed to change. Sure, my pride wouldn’t have been bruised if I had been the one who decided to leave, rather than being asked to, but in the end, change that needed to happen happened! Ironically, I was told I was being given a “breather” and told there would be the possibility of returning. Yea. Not gonna happen. I get the sense that the manager wants me to change myself to fit into something he wanted me to be. Sorry, but I prefer to remain authentic! I embrace my faults -my humanness – and I embrace the right to make mistakes and learn from them. All of this was a very major life lesson! As many conversations over the past 7 months replayed in my mind while looking at this, I saw, once I removed the rose-colored glasses, that there were some things about this man that were not so pleasant to the naked eye.

And the freedom! With my various health issues and my sleeping problems, this was a situation where I often put my physical needs in jeopardy in order to be a vibrant worker for him and the company. Now I can – and will – visit the store when it suits me and feel no obligation to stay. Because I became friends with some of the other volunteers and a few of the regular customers, I will stop in, say hello to them (I pretty much know when which regular customers I bonded with will be there) and be done. The too many books in my “to-be-read” pile can finally get some attention!

So yes, I have some emotions to work through – like when the anger pops back up and my mind swirls with revengeful ideas – and the few times when I question what is wrong with me that I could let a volunteer situation ending be such a blow to my ego – but I do, overall, feel this needed to happen and I will be all the better that it did! And who knows? Maybe I’ll find a different volunteer opportunity – and what I’ve learned from this one will help me navigate it with a clearer understanding and vision. Who knows?

I Am Me

For many, many years, I had a poster of the words I’m going to share with you in a (cheap) frame and always hung it where I’d see it often. I’d had it long enough that it was getting yellowed, and I suspect that, during a move, the frame did not survive so I tossed it out.

These words always spoke deeply to me. They brought me a lot of calm and comfort when I was fighting against the voices in my head. I’ve been thinking of them a lot lately, and I finally researched to find them.

So, enjoy “I Am Me” by Virginia Satir:

“I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.”