I somehow figured that one out when I was just as stupid as any other fifteen year old girl and facing a daunting situation. I'd been moved from Northern Ontario, land of lumberjack shirts and mukluks (those are sealskin boots for those of you who never spent time in the bush), to a very posh town down south. It's not like there wasn't anything special about me, just that I was pretty sure my skills weren't going to wow the preppy kids at my new school. This was a strange land of split level houses and backyard pools. No place here to amaze folks with the fact that an entire beaver colony had accepted me into their midst or that I could drive a boat faster and more recklessly than any guy on the river.
What's a shy girl who's terrified of walking through the doors of that high school going to do? Change costume. ~
I bought this issue of Seventeen magazine and studied it. Then, I did something you never do when you are one of six kids. I asked my parents for money for new clothes. Now, of course they bought us all basic clothes, but I needed special, hip clothes. They agreed to give me the money! I have the clothes and I have the makeup. I had also figured out that these new kids didn't know anything about me so however I acted was how I would be accepted. My guardian angel must have been handing out wisdom to me! On the first day of school, I marched down the halls with a confident smile glued to my face. I even gave a merry laugh when a boy said, "Isn't this a nice, young blossom that's new here?" Well, Blossom stuck as a nickname all through high school and no one ever knew that I had to teach myself how to be outgoing and social.
This might seem like a very shallow take on defining yourself but remember the issue is dealing with shyness in a teenager. Curling up in a ball of awkwardness and isolation would have impacted the rest of my life.
A few years later, I was chatting with an A&R guy from Madonna's record label. He said the best part about working with a performer like her is that she reinvented herself every few years.
Every time she had a new costume. ~
If your goal is to climb the corporate ladder, you'd better get yourself a good suit. That suit says, "I'm serious about my work and you should take me seriously as well." That same suit won't work for someone who wants to be a heavy metal guitarist. That guitar player knows he/she needs some black leather and lots and lots of hair or nobody is ever going to buy the record and hear how amazingly a guitar can scream.
Let's say you want to change the world and fight injustice, cruelty or plain, old evil. You know you can't do it because you are just an ordinary person. You aren't an activist. You are shy, scared of looking foolish, too old or too young.
Batman didn't have any special powers. He couldn't fly, see through walls, stop a speeding bullet or scale a skyscraper. He was serious about what he wanted to accomplish and he wanted everyone to know it.
He got a costume and set out to save Gotham. ~
If you feel you are a painter, writer, seamstress, chef, traveller, photographer, earth mother, psychic, spiritual guide, carpenter or anything else your heart desires, then tell people that is what you are. They will hear your conviction and they will believe you.
You can break relationship patterns by simply changing your costume as well. If your don't wear the 'misuse and abuse me' outfit, you won't attract the abusers. Put on the lovable mask and you will attract people who are happy to give love. The others will run in the opposite direction, looking for someone who is wearing the right look. Pretty soon it won't be a mask, but your reality.
We all have times in our lives when we are forced to reinvent ourselves. We don't always realize we can also do it by choice.
Tomorrow, I will look in the mirror and ask myself, "Who do I want to be?" Whatever I decide, I'll be it.
You can too!