This week I’ve focused on the concept of awesomeness. But how does one define “awesomeness”? To help clarify, I have distilled it into what I feel are its key points:
Awesomeness is being unapologetic: it is daring to enjoy the things, people, and experiences that you choose. Go ahead–eat sashimi for breakfast if you want to. Instead of going to the mall, stay home, bake cookies, and read Jude Deveraux novels all day. Ask that fabulous Drag Queen on the subway where he got his amazing glittery blue lipstick, then go buy some for yourself. And wear it.
Awesomeness is being fearless: it is daring to do the things you want to do, no matter what anyone else might say. Go ahead–take a bartending class just for the heck of it. Sign up for a triathlon if it sounds fun, even if you’ve hardly been on a bike since high school. Take a solo weekend trip, without the hubby and kids, so that you can actually get some sleep, even if people look at you like you just qualified for the “Selfish Mom of the Decade” award.
(You’ll be glad you did. Trust me on this.)
Awesomeness is being authentic: it is daring to be yourself. Go ahead–belt out that High School Musical song, “Fabulous!”…in public. Play on the swings when you take your kids to the park. Carry a Hello Kitty wallet inside your fierce Susan Nichole handbag.
Awesomeness is being real: it is letting people see exactly who you are, by daring to say what you think, wear what you want, and believe what you want to believe. Go ahead–go out on a bad hair day with no makeup on. Sign petitions for marriage equality no matter what your church says. Go to Tiffany’s in New York and buy an exquisite piece of crystal while wearing your oldest jeans and an L.L. Bean sweater that’s seen better days.
Awesomeness, as my Dad explains it, is “Tooting your own horn–because nobody else is gonna do it for you.” When you are given praise–don’t demur. Say “Thank you” when someone gives you a compliment. Feel proud when someone admires how awesome you are.
I want my girls to live their lives this way. They should live authentically, without fear, negativity, or self-deprecation. I want them to do exactly what they love regardless of what anyone else thinks. Yet I still struggle with it myself.
It’s true that my parents raised my siblings and myself to “Toot own own horns”. However, when someone praises me for something, such as the beautiful photo I shot in Hawaii, I often wave the compliment away. Even on yesterday’s post, I was still calling it a “lucky shot”.
OK, sure. Yes, it was lucky.
Lucky…that I went to Lanikai Beach that day with the specific intention of taking some gorgeous photos.
Lucky…that I happened to be walking down the beach with a 10 megapixel camera in my hands, instead of a towel and some sunscreen.
Lucky…that I was looking for a way to capture the wind, the waves, the colors, and the beauty of the ocean.
Lucky…that when I saw the image I wanted, I had the skills to frame it, capture it, and later properly crop it to tell the exact story that I wanted to convey.
I wasn’t lucky. I was skilled…and yet, even now, despite recognizing the truth of that statement, my internal critic is screaming at me for being “full of myself” for saying it!
Awesomeness is not about belittling ourselves, our beliefs, our desires, our interests, our successes, or our strengths.
Awesomeness is being authentic, fearless, unapologetic, and real. It’s tooting your own horn. It means silencing the inner critic.
In essence, it means living your life with courage and joy.
And, when you come right down to it, who else but you has the right to decide whether what you do, think, or say is “good enough”?
Be brave. Be awesome. You deserve it!