I have ALWAYS been a rule follower…like always. If there was a word to describe ‘always’ better, I would insert it [here].
I don’t like getting in trouble.
Some people get a rush of adrenaline watching saliva fly through the air as their boss/parent/teacher etc. doesn’t take a single breath through their screams of disapproval. Not me. I get red…pretty sure everywhere. My heart sinks, my stomach gets upset and this freak out, doesn’t wear off for about an hour.
During my first week of College someone told my class “You get to choose two out of three areas while in school…social, school or sleep. You don’t get to choose all three, so pick wisely!” And me being who I am followed those rules (of course choosing school and social). What I didn’t realize then was that this “always follow the rule” mindset was going to hurt me.
I better clarify something before any parents reading this write us a "strongly worded letter"- some rules NEED to be followed. Stop at red lights, don't steal, obey the law. That type of thing. Rules are often there for a reason. But there are times where you may need to make your own rules, times where if you don't, who you want to be is going to be controlled and shaped by whoever is around you.
I carried that two out of three mentality out of college because apparently that is just the unwritten code everywhere. You can’t be successful in your field AND have a great home life. You can’t have your own dreams AND still support your husband’s. You can’t live a fun life AND be the best at what you do. You can’t….you can’t…. you can’t. That’s all I’ve ever really heard; until eventually one day I got tired of it and said to myself…"Natasha, write your own rules".
After feeling like I’ve been forced to decide which half of myself I am going to be…I decided to be totally who I am. I decided to not allow the people around me to dictate who I am and what I want my life to look like. You see, there isn't a cookie cutter way to be a human being, or a girlfriend, or a wife, a mom, or a boss. Yes this makes for awkward conversations and sometimes the sound of disapproval from "others", but when I go home at night I can look myself in the mirror and say I’m proud of who I’m starring at.
Media, family, friends…they might be telling you who you are. Or what type of "you", you should be. They could be saying things like “You can’t be smart in school and have friends” or “You can’t be sporty and like dresses and makeup” You can’t…you can't…you can't.
But you can.
Ultimately, you are your only limit. Not the rules people place on you.
Write your own rules. YOU decide who you are going to be and what you will do with that. Try not to live in fear of how someone who has done things differently than you will respond. Sometime's you have to leave them with their disapproval. In fact, if people are upset, you just might be doing something right! Pushing back culture.
Many have paved the way before us, making it possible for us to walk down so many new roads that were never there before. But even still, if I come up to a dead end on my journey to be who I think I'm supposed to be, and to do what I think I'm good at, I’m going to pave my own road. I'm going to do things maybe no one else has done before. Why? So you know that you can do the same.
Set your pace. Pave a new road. Write your own rules.