Making myself small

I’ve heard others tell me that I’m a people pleaser all of my life and I never understood the severity of this pattern until I moved into the ambulance.

Since being in my mom’s tummy I’ve always been hyper-sensitive. I was told or people made me feel like I was “too much” my entire life. I did my best to navigate my intense emotions without letting it affect others. This was a coping mechanism, in order to fit more into social groups and maintain friendships. I guess it was my way to be more “tolerable for others”. This is where people pleasing became a natural for me, something I even became unaware I was doing until just a few years ago.

I naturally adjust my behaviours and personality to a version that I think, from the little information I gathered from the person, they would prefer. Slowly, I’ve been working on embracing my uniqueness. Starting with making out of the box decisions that felt aligned to me, to then starting to dress differently despite the judgement from my close ones. I never felt like clothes others wore were meant for me, but I still kept wearing hand-me downs and buying clothes from the sales rack at urban planet because that’s just what others did too. The day I chose to fully embody who I am, it started with my outfits. I went to a cute Indian shop in Montreal and it was the first time that I felt called to EVERY SINGLE PIECE of clothing in a store. For the first time I didn’t dread buying clothes. I felt so inspired and every piece I tried on made me stand a little taller. I allowed myself to donate the clothes that weren’t mine and created a capsule wardrobe that screamed MYA!

Deciding not to shave also took a long time for me to embrace. I thought about it for years before I had the balls to let it grow passed a socially “accepted” length. I knew that this was all in my head, because I knew in my heart that shaving wasn’t related to my beauty or my femininity. I knew shaving is a mental construct created by companies that wanted to sell “beauty products”. But the fear of disturbing others numbed me. I felt frozen. It took me so much time to gather my courage, especially since my mother would tease me for it based off of what she was taught was acceptable or not. We are all just projecting our own insecurities and expectations onto each other. I can see that clearly now. The best decision for me isn’t always what’s best for others. The last time I shaved was on my prom night, my mom convinced me that it would be more appropriate. I felt like I had shaved a part of myself off. I regretted it so much that that was the last time.

Since moving into the van a month ago, it has accelerated my healing process. I was strongly confronted by the reality of van life. I couldn’t hide anymore, I was now driving a BIG YELLOW TRUCK! The first few weeks, I wouldn’t dare to look at people in the cars next to me, or whenever I would leave or enter the vehicle I would close the door behind me quickly. As if I was doing something wrong or taking up TOO much space. This new life style accelerated my growth in this department because I was faced with situations where people told me TO MY FACE that I wasn’t welcomed or I was disturbing them with my vehicule’s size. How to not take this personally? How do I continue to embrace this lifestyle fully? How do I take up the space that I am worthy of taking? When will I stop giving a shit about disturbing others?

These were the questions that were ever so present and they still are! I am reminding myself every day that I am appreciated exactly as I am by the right people. It is impossible to be loved by everyone and I am not responsible for the version of Me living in other people’s mind. I am allowed to do what feels right for me because I am the only one responsible for my well being. And if I disturb others by being myself, THEY are the ones responsible for what comes up for them. May I spark growth in others by being my true authentic self.

Art Credits

“Welcome Home” animation: Éloise Emery - Oryza Design
https://www.instagram.com/eloemery

Illustrations: Lison.C

Doodles: Alys Ouimet
https://www.instagram.com/alysouimet