*Two things about this post. One, I had J.Lo’s song, “I’m Real” on repeat in my head the entire time I was writing. And two, this was way (way) out of my comfort zone. Perhaps that is why I like it so much.*

 

I remember standing backstage at a beauty pageant when I was five years old. I was awaiting my turn for an interview in front of a few hundred people. Not truly knowing what it meant to be nervous, my mother says to me, “You’ll do great, sweetie. Just be yourself.” Even my five year old self wondered what that meant.

How do we, even as adults, know what it means to be ourselves? What does our authentic self look like? Social media presents highlight reels, curated images, and portions of life users prefer to show. It’s hard to separate out those images with our own reality.

My authentic self is defined by the thoughts most often repeated in my head. It is defined by what I do when no one else is around, my repeated actions. My authentic self, the real me, strives to continually grow and learn. It encompasses my snap judgments and my deepest thoughts. The real me is always changing. I know I’m a little strange. I know my opinions, hobbies, lifestyle etc. could be and have been offensive or opposed by others. But really, who do I have to answer to?

In a further effort to be the real me on social media, I thought I’d share a few tidbits about myself. I was tagged and asked to present 10 non-running related facts. I decided to give as much random openness as possible.

  1. I’m left handed. However, I play most sports right handed. I also work in an office of rad left-handed clinicians.

  2. I hate ketchup and wearing pants. Which is why I’m currently wearing a dress with compression shorts and compression socks underneath as I write this.

  3. I lost 50 pounds over the course of two years. I now do not own a scale.

  4. I have a particular affinity for tutus. I own 7.

  5. If I could meet any person in real life (fact or fiction), it would be Sherlock Holmes. I’ve read his treasury nearly a dozen times and I used to pretend to be him, deerstalker hat, the art of deductive reasoning, ‘by jove’ and all.

  6. My biggest insecurity is my stomach. When I’m uncomfortable, I sit with my arms wrapped around myself. I bellydanced for four years in high school to combat this, but it is still a daily struggle. Which is why my rolls are bared here. Out of my comfort zone.

  7. I’ve kept a journal since I was 12. I have a stack of spiral notebooks over three feet tall. I now prefer unlined notebooks to allow for wavy lines of scribbles and the occasional doodle.

  8. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness. I didn’t celebrate my first birthday or Christmas until I was 18. With all the love and respect for the variety of religions out there, this one wasn’t for me. Shortly after turning 18, I backpacked Southeast Asia for a few months. That adventure in and of itself turned my world upside down in the best way possible.

  9. I get anxiety when I am too sedentary or fail to get outside and move during the day. It’s a palpable frustration. A dear friend once bought me a sweatshirt that says, “I’m always outside on the inside.” This could not be more true.

  10. My biggest desire and passion in life is to help and inspire others to find passion and fulfillment in their own lives. I’m still working on how best to do this.

Oh, and a bonus number 11 since I mentioned it above. I was in beauty pageants for a few years as a little one (this was way before Toddlers In Tiaras.) I was placed in them in hopes of earning a college scholarship, but instead learned a large distaste for frills and anything pink at a young age. Mom and Dad, I appreciate your efforts, but I still cringe at the thought of bobby socks or using a curling iron.
With that I say, be your own light, your own brand. Dare to be yourself. Wear tutus with rain boots and march to the beat of your own drum. Be the real you. Whatever that means.

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