26 August 2013

It's okay

We made a maraca. Well, it’s more like I made a maraca and Ellie helped hand me scraps of paper and sometimes, sometimes, add some papier mâché paste. And we made just one maraca because papier mâché is sticky and little girls don’t usually like sticky things.  And we really made it because I wanted to but felt like I needed an excuse. 
Matt said that I’m the kind of person that would make stuff with papier mâché and enjoy it, just like I’m the kind of person that saves egg cartons for craft reasons and doesn’t like to throw away scraps of ribbon or old maps (apparently I fit into a niche), and I’m also the type of person that tolerates messes and stickiness for the sake of creativity.   I have a box of junk—old paper, makeshift stencils, calendars, Christmas cards, ribbons, maps, brochures, egg cartons, lids—all things that I use in art and craft projects, things that I just can’t throw away because they have too much potential for something greater than the landfill. 

I have to be expressive and create something every day, whether it's a painting, a sewing project, a journal entry (I'm a prolific journaler), a blog post, or a recipe. If I don't make something and satisfy my urge to create, I feel like I'm going to go crazy.  I’m just that kind of person, I guess, and that’s okay.   We are all our own kind of person and we should embrace that. While I was making this maraca with Ellie, I thought about that quite a bit.  There I was, a grown woman making papier mâché just for the hell of it, just because I wanted to make something fun, and for a moment I thought I should be embarrassed.

 But I wasn't. 

It took me a long time before I could do that--embrace who I am and not be afraid to be myself.  I've always felt different, a little quirky and weird, and I used to be ashamed of that. As a teenager I never fit in, didn't have many friends, and felt isolated.  For most of my life I've battled depression, and I think a portion of it stemmed from my inability to accept myself, to be myself unapologetically.  But I think I'm starting to get there now--it took almost 28 years, but I am finally starting to be okay with being me.  I'm finally okay with being "artsy" and having to make stuff everyday, I'm okay being a junk collector for the sake of creativity, I'm okay with being a Trekkie and a hippie, being a little neurotic and obsessive compulsive, I'm okay with the weird way I laugh.  I'm okay with me.

A few years ago I put a wall decal on Ellie's bedroom door that says 

"In a world where you can be anything, be yourself."

I hope she believes those words just as I am trying to believe them.

 We are all beautiful, wonderful people worthy of being alive, with the ability to make a difference, to do things as grand or as simple as we choose but we must first love ourselves and accept ourselves as the wonderful people we are, quirks and all.

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