So Who Are You?

I came across this quote while browsing Pinterest the other day (I know, so unusual to find me Pinning!)….

it's not who you are that holds you back

It made me stop and think.

Who do I think I am? Who am I not? When did I decide on that then?

My mum still has my old school reports, all the way back to primary school. It was all A’s & B’s every year for ‘effort’ and ‘attainment’ in the usual subjects, English, Maths, Science, Topic (do you remember ‘topic’ as a subject? Does that still happen?!). So yes, I was good at the academic stuff. Art and PE? Always C’s and a ‘she tries’ type comment. ‘C’ was probably generous, too. My parents and my brother are sporty, all enjoying sport and finding the ones that they’re good at, but not me. So from as far back as I really recall, it’s been in my head that I’m not creative and I’m not athletic.

But, what if I just haven’t found the sport that captures my attention? I ran for a while before having Boo and I found it freeing and enjoyable. Maybe I should get back to that, but then I’m not a runner, right? What if my ‘athleticism’ translates as dancing? I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance. OK, so drawing is never going to be my thing, I am totally hopeless. But that needn’t mean I can’t be creative. Perhaps there is a crafty art out there with my name on it, waiting for me to discover it.

I’m fairly self-aware. I think age and maturity play a big part there, and coming from a people management background, I have had a fair few personality assessments, interviews and analysis thrown my way. I have a good idea of my key strengths and weaknesses. It means I can develop and work harder at areas that I’m not naturally inclined, if and when I need to. For example, patience and attention to detail are not my greatest virtues, but then I sometimes think that knowing that gives me an excuse, and something to hide behind. ‘Oh, I can’t do that, I’m just not patient enough’… but what if I can do it?

So who am I? I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, blogger, and I’m….well, I’m ‘me’. And I’ve made me that ‘me’ over 37 years, through a myriad of experiences. Whilst I’m happy with what I like, what I know, maybe I’ve unnecessarily passed over things.

My parents raised me to believe that I could do anything and be anything that I wanted to be. I’m endeavouring to engender that same belief with my own children. It’s not about self-importance, and it’s certainly not about being unrealistic (I will never be that mum cheering her daughter on on at an X-Factor audition seemingly ignoring the fact that she’s tone deaf!), but why put unnecessary self-limitations on ourselves?

We can be who we want, and if we don’t believe that ourselves, then who will? We box ourselves in, we get stuck in ruts, when there are adventures out there to be taken, big and small. Sometimes that’s actually a nice place to be, comfortable. But when it holds us back and becomes frustrating, it might only be us standing in our own way.Yes, it might be throwing off the shackles and travelling the world, or it might just be reading a book in a genre that I’ve not tried before, wearing a dress when I always wear jeans, because who says I’m ‘not one for wearing dresses’ – only me. So I am me, but I think I’ll have a go at redefining that every once in a while, keeping myself on my toes. Who knows where it might lead?

So tell me, who are you?

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22 thoughts on “So Who Are You?”

  1. This is an interesting concept. I’ve been looking for jobs lately and finding myself saying “I’m not…” a lot and it got me down. I may not be just now but I *could* be.

    I might print this out, I need this reminder from time to time.

  2. Wow what a thought proving quote and question. I’d say that at this moment in time I am definitely suppressing a lot as the responsibility of young children somewhat limits what I can do. That sounds awfully ungrateful and like they’re holding me back – they aren’t at all but for the foreseeable I think will be orientated by my litt lies x

    1. No, I do understand what you mean. But for me, I’ve found having kids to be both limiting, and then freeing in other ways x

  3. I’ve been thinking about this very subject a lot recently. I agree, having children has been very freeing in many ways and limiting but mostly in practical ways. They have allowed me space to re-think a lot of stuff and inspired me really. I always enjoy your approach Jocleyn, lovely post x

  4. Life at the Little Wood

    Such a lovely, thought provoking post Jocelyn. I’ve been considering this a lot lately myself. I was always quick to write myself off when I was younger, but really want to encourage my children now that they can achieve their goals. And I guess that attitude and example setting starts with me! Really enjoyed reading this! Xx

    1. I think we do want and hope that our kids will think like this, but yes, we need to look at ourselves first and lead by example. Thank you, lovely xx

  5. I love this post Jocelyn. I’m trying to figure out who I want to be and finding it difficult. On the one hand I know there’s a book in me trying to get out but on the other the blogger side of me wants to take control. You’re right about boxing ourselves in to. This post came just at the right time for me! Awesome post. Xx

    1. Thank you. It is difficult, but I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to find that definitive answer, instead of trying a variety of things and seeing what fits us best. We work too hard and procrastinate as we have to ‘get it right’ instead of just having a go. Glad it helped x

    1. Thanks, Leigh. You’re spot on, and really, where’s the enjoyment and adventure in always doing and being as you have been? xx

  6. Hi Jocelyn, I love thought provoking quotes like that and the only boundaries in life are the ones we set ourselves, probably because it is what we think people expect of us.

    I am not sure if it is age or the fact that I left England a long time ago that has given me the confidence to do the things that I want to do in life, just for the pure pleasure of it and not because I am good at things; which believe me, most of the time I’m not!

    I am no runner, but enjoy a morning run three or four times a week and completed the Athens Marathon a couple of years ago (mainly because people didn’t think I could!)…It was the most painful experience of my life, but I did it.

    I enjoy photography and taking photographs, our camera is nothing special and people think I’m slightly barmy (and none of my pictures will ever make National Geographic), but I do it because I enjoy it and the same goes for blogging.

    I like to think of myself as me; nothing more and nothing less. Life is too short to be defined by other peoples (and our own) expectations.

    BTW…I think blogging falls under the creative category. So there you are creative and very good at it!

    1. You’re so right, Debbie, we usually provide our own barriers and cages. Life is too short, best to make the most of it and enjoy it. And maybe you’re right, perhaps I am creative! Thanks x

  7. What a thought provoking post Jocelyn. Thanks for sharing. Having just had a change of pace in life and work, I’m spending a lot of time wondering exactly the same.. But I’m certainly loving the possibilities of having the chance to be whoever I want to be.. x

    1. Yes, the feeling of possibilities is exciting. Very freeing and I just know that whatever you decide, it’ll be fabulous x

  8. This reminds me of a time I got a bit tipsy and had a revelation that ‘I am what I am not’ and I made a list of all the things that I am not but that I actually might be, e.g. a ballerina or a swimmer. My friends thought I was a bit barmy so I will probably post that quote on facebook now to prove other people have thought this too!

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