Don’t Be Beige

Don’t be beige.

I scribbled the words excitedly in my journal like a 15 year old writing about her new crush.  So profound.  Or was it?  I can never tell if these thoughts that occur to me in the shower, or while driving around town, or while I’m half-watching Law & Order: SVU and half-making an imaginary grocery list.  (Does anyone else do that? I’d imagine it’s a normal part of life as a mom/household manager/toddler wrangler.)

Anyway… beige.  The walls in our apartment are beige. I don’t mind it.  It’s not particularly exciting, but it’s fine.  Beige is a neutral – one of the blending colors.  It’s a color that allows all the other decor to be seen. Beige is a good background because it isn’t memorable or noticeable. It does not stand out.

Don’t be beige is my new motto.  So what exactly do I mean when I say, “don’t be beige”?

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I mean show yourself.  Reveal who you are.  Don’t be afraid to live your life at full volume because you think someone else won’t like your song. In order to live a fulfilled life, you need to in full glory and magnificence, without any care for what anyone else thinks.

I think that people are comfortable being beige. Beige isn’t scary. I get that.  They feel beige is safe. It’s polite. It doesn’t offend. I tried to be beige, I tried to please people, tried to blend, tried to step back so others could have the attention.  While blending in and being beige may make others comfortable, ultimately living life this way ends in disappointment and regret.

Two major things I noticed while I was consciously camouflaging myself:

  • There is no benefit to me. – I gained nothing from stepping back, dimming my own light or quieting my passion.  Literally nothing good comes from silencing my voice so that someone else can speak.  I get no life experience, meet no new people, and receive no praise because no one sees me.  And ironically trying to please others didn’t make them like me more ore less.
  • There is no benefit to others. – The people who shine do that because of who they are. Colorful, magnetic, fun, talented. My beige-ness didn’t accentuate them. It only hid me. Worse, being beige causes me to miss out on contributing to the world in a way that only I can.

When I realized I wasn’t being my authentic self, I made a choice to be more colorful. I spoke up when I felt passionate.  I accepted invitations to parties.  I wore the sexy dress without worrying what someone else might think. Creatively, I have so much to give, and expressing that through writing, podcasting, and other venues allows me to contribute something tangible to the world.  My kids see me being silly and it shows them that they can be silly too.  I follow my own rules and beat my own drum and in the same way, peers and friends hear me telling my story and they are emboldened to tell their own.  It’s a beautiful domino effect.

These days, I have renovated my soul. There is no beige. I am memorable. I stand out. I am not a neutral, because I have a voice and I’m not afraid to be seen, and my home – and my whole world – is so much more colorful.

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It’s What’s Inside That Counts ?

“Who are you, really?”

I ask this person in the mirror, who asks me the same question.  I think she’s mocking me.

There is a battle waging within me, between my heart and my head.  It’s about my job.  It’s about my purpose.  It’s about quitting my job and finding my purpose.  My heart says “FIND YOUR BLISS!  FOLLOW YOUR PASSION!” while my head screams, “PAY YOUR BILLS! PASSION DOESN’T BUY GROCERIES!”  (Which, in most instances, is true.)

Can I please have both?  Is there a way to make a career out of something I love?

The job I’m in now, I’ve been in for 5 months.  It’s fine.  It DOES fulfill certain things I felt I was lacking, such as a solid group of girlfriends, and helping people.  However it is too “full time” for me, too mundane for my bohemian-mommy lifestyle.

What kind of job is ideal for me?  The kind that offers freedom.  The kind where I create.  Make.  Express.  So… writing, cooking (especially baking), painting, crafts and using my hands, photography…even pottery if I knew how to do that.  A job that feels creative and free and that is like an extension of myself.

Lately I’m reading lots of abundance materials. Law of attraction. Motivation, inspiration, emails and newsletters about being who you were MEANT TO BE.  I am so inspired by them.  At the same time, I feel like I am having an internal crisis.  Society tells me that if I want a new home, I have to slave for 30 years and then buy it.  I can’t just ask for it.  The unwritten rule book of “the way it is and always has been” states  that I must go to work Monday through Friday from 7-5 and sit at my desk and answer the phone and earn my [meager] paycheck and be content with that.

My soul is asking me to jump off a cliff and I can’t see what’s at the bottom.  I’m a planner, a list-maker, I check my bank balance each morning before I head out the door.  I like preparation.  How can I just trust and take the leap?  How do I even know where to jump?

I know that all the greatest figures in history MADE history because they were brave, willing to step out into the unknown and live the life they’d always imagined [paraphrasing Thoreau, whose Walden is one of my favorite, most refreshing reads].  I want that for myself. I think am ready to be who I really am.

Please comment if you’ve got advice or stories or anything to share.