“Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.” ~Carol Mosely-Braun
The Lyman Conservatory at Smith College recently had an art exhibit of Dan Ladd’s molded gourds. (not moldy gourds…that would not be art. Then again…maybe) These tiny fledgling gourds are unknowingly made to grow in a mold shaped by the artist. The result: gourds that look like cars, plumbing, or even human bodies. They do not look like typical gourds of their species. Beautiful, yet sad, for they were not allowed to grow up free of constraints into the shape and size of their choosing.
A friend recently told me that her daughter, who came home for Thanksgiving, used the expression, “Do you!” meaning, “follow your dreams, not those of another;” follow your heart, not the expectations of others.”
Sometimes as we grow into adulthood and try to find who “you” is, it can be difficult to hear our own voice, the beat of our own drum. Our parents shape and mold us to a degree; peers and lovers do the same. Most of us are raised to please others, to be considerate, to be polite, practice self-restraint. But where in the sand do we draw the line? How do we balance all that with… “Yo, what about ME?”
If you’ve never asked this question and are unclear about “you,” here are some pointers in that direction. And take your time. You have your whole life to figure this out. Where you are today is just fine. But keep these in mind as you take your journey and gather items in your basket that comprise “You.”
- What makes you joyful?
- What are you especially good at?
- What makes you laugh?
- What awakens your heart?
Don’t grow in a mold shaped by someone else. Do You!