When I left my ex-husband one of the things I heard more than once was a variation of my actions and decisions being ‘out of character’ and I wondered then and I still wonder now if that was ever really true.
As I look back on my life I can in some ways see different versions of myself, the older I get though the more I am coming to see myself as a full painting rather than a colour palette of distinctly separate paints. What others deem out of character I am able to pinpoint exactly how it is very much in character.
I’ve always had a fear of being boring, of living a sedate life that I will one day regret. When I was younger this manifested as dressing differently and planning a life filled with adventures. When life threw things at me I had not planned for being carefree became a luxury I did not have, I was happy in so many ways, but that fear still resided inside me and eventually it bubbled to the surface and that is when my life changed direction.
My desire to live life on my own terms was not out of character, it was in my eyes at the core of my character. It was about six years ago that I made all those changes and now life is changing again, in ways I know and in ways I am yet to identify. I’m not quite at the point where I want to blog about the specifics, but just know I am well, a little bit sad but eager for new adventures.
What I do know is that for folks who met me on my adventures as Floss, perhaps some of where I am at now seems out of character and I won’t lie, I have asked myself many times over if that is the case. In truth though, I don’t think it is. I think I am following a dream I had long ago, that fell by the wayside when other people became my priority.
At the time of this post going live it will be nine days until my 35th birthday. This is a pivotal moment for me, I can feel it in my bones, I can see it in the way the world is changing around me. All of which might seem like weird hippy talk and I have no evidence for my feeling, but it’s in my gut, flickering in my veins and with every beat of my heart I can feel the changes coming.
When my changes come, when I explore them here on the blog or with folks in real life I know that ‘out of character’, ‘are you sure’, ‘it seems a shame’ will all come my way and people will try on my behalf to keep my life the way it was, I know this because it is what people do in the face of change, they try, even if only for a moment to see a way to keep things as they were.
I am not that person, life changes constantly and I am okay with that. Does this mean that change doesn’t hurt? Hell no, sometimes it does. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it’s hard to face, but ultimately what is in character for me is rolling with the punches, getting up, dusting myself off and moving onto the next phase of my life.
For the longest time, I imagined myself changing from one colour on that paint palette to another with every shift in my life. Now though it’s like looking at my favourite painting and finding a new focus every time my eyes drinks it in. I think I’m beginning to care less and less about what is or isn’t out of character, and keeping my focus on whether or not I’m being true to myself. What I think I’ve always known deep down, but am only just starting to formulate as a lesson learned is that being true to yourself does not always reflect what other people expect of you and definitely not what they want from you.
My true character, the one I know exists for certain inside me allows for a wide range of behaviours that are not in fact out of character even if they are perhaps a rarer occurrence than some of my more commonly displayed traits. I’d imagine the same is true of most people, we are all complex, with varying layers to our personalities and I very much doubt that many of us show all of ourselves to all of the people.
I spent a long time including some time in the recent past chastising myself for elements of my character that perhaps frustrate me or make my life more complex. I don’t know what is different today than yesterday but I am so over giving myself a hard time for who I am and I’m done with apologising for sometimes needing elements of my character to show that does not suit everyone’s idea of what makes me who I am.
That’s not to say I don’t want to be a good, kind and honest person. I think those parts of myself are to be treasured and maintained. The trouble is that sometimes the good and the kind makes me a little too much of a people pleaser and that can often lead me down a path of abandoning my own wants and needs. The result of that is usually an internal struggle that ends in me feeling a bit shit before finally realising what needs to be done.
My fear is still much the same as it was when I was young. I don’t want to be bored and I don’t want life to seem dull to me. I want to feel like I’m shining and embracing adventure. I don’t need my life to look like everyone else’s and I don’t need my adventures to be the same as theirs either. I just need to look at my life and feel content that I am living, not a half-life, not someone else’s life, but my life; my probably fucked up, slightly random, sometimes chaotic life in all it’s beautiful glory.