On December 1st I turn thirty, and anyone who knows me knows that I've been dreading this number for a while now. I haven't seen myself as a woman turning thirty- "Woman," that term feels correct at thirty. I guess I haven't adjusted to the term since up until this point I have seen myself as being perpetually between a girl and a woman.
I think I've seen myself this way because it's only now, a few weeks before my birthday, that I see myself actually coming into a full and complete person. I'm finally believing in myself, and having the confidence to try new things by letting go of some of the past. I'm beginning to truly believe that my core dreams can and will come true.
Coming into my own has taken a long time. I didn't realize how much the past influenced me until I hit all the different storms of my twenties, and I don't know if many educators realize how profoundly they influence some children. I've found that I have spent my twenties building myself up over insecurities that were developed in elementary school.
My mom, brother, and grandparents were my positive teachers, but the majority of the teachers I had growing up were not good at all.
I'm not saying this to be hurtful, but I was a shy and well-behaved child, and so in many ways I was ignored and I blended very easily into the background. I remember never liking Art Class of all things because I felt I never could do anything right, and that was supposed to be one of the happiest classes.
This feeling branched into other subjects until I just tried to stay with what I knew I could do. In High School, as I mentioned in a previous post, I auditioned and made it into the choir. I was so happy, and after getting up enough confidence, I decided to try out for Vocal Jazz. What many of you might not know is that singing is something I've always wanted to do in some form. This teacher dismissed me with the words- "Your voice is not powerful enough." I will never forget this. She didn't want to work with me, and it was just another 'You're not good enough' from a teacher.
The teachers I had solely paid attention to the ones who excelled so profoundly, and the ones who were causing trouble, and in between they would subtly break down the quiet and unsure ones like me with dismissiveness or negative critiquing, and that is part of the reason why I'm writing this today.
I want to urge future teachers to truly work and believe in every single student, even if they look like they don't need help- please encourage, build, and compliment them daily. Do not utter a single negative word unless you plan on working with them to actually have them achieve something great.
I didn't know how to stand up for myself then, but teachers need to know that they do in fact influence their students very much, and not every student benefits from harsh critiquing.
I am a new me now. I'm stronger because of my experiences, and I believe that everything happens for a reason, but it's solely thanks to the support of my family.
I've spent a year now painting, and I believe this is a large part of what has helped create the change in me. Painting has been my therapy because it's broken through the years of walls that read "I can't," and into the beautifully lit rooms of "I can."
So I encourage anyone who is reading this to push yourself to try different things, especially if you're in a rut of insecurities. I also want to say that you shouldn't compare yourself to anyone. The majority of people I know are in a much different world than myself, and that's okay. I'm finally truly appreciating my unique journey.
I am now just beginning to feel like a girl who is turning into a thirty year old woman. I'm truly ready to try the new, and pursue everything that I desire to do. I built myself up, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of what I pursue, and appreciating and loving the new people who I welcome into my life now that I know I am stronger and brighter than I gave myself credit for.
Here I come- 30!