Monday, April 23, 2012

Walking in your own shoes.

Recently, I was chatting with one of my other auntie's. (Not Hawaii Auntie, but NJ Auntie) NJ Auntie said something really profound to me the other day. She suggested I write it down, so that whenever I feel unsure about myself, I can read it and remember.

For a long time I've had a terrible habit of comparing myself to other people. I think when my mom died and then I merged into a stepfamily, I lost a lot of my self-confidence. Before, I knew my place in my family. I was the only girl. I was aware of what I liked, what I didn't like and who I was. There was no questioning Katie. There was no uncertainty. When women suddenly surrounded me, I was completely thrown off balance, through no fault of their own. My stepmom and stepsisters seemed to know so much...more. I endlessly, secretly wished I had the answers they seemed to have. They had a lifetime pass to Girl World and I had yet to discover my membership card. I wore t-shirts and jeans everyday, my messy long, blonde hair in a ponytail. I had knobby knees and bony elbows. I secretly still loved being surrounded by my mountain of stuffed animals. I had lots of friends who were boys, but boyfriends were a long way off. I did okay in school, but not stellar in anything that didn't interest me. 

My stepmom and stepsisters were all well groomed, tall and beautiful. They wore nice clothes. My oldest stepsister was graduating college, moving out and starting a new life. My youngest stepsister was beginning her college journey. I secretly wanted one more year of high school so I could find my footing. Suddenly, everything I'd deemed okay about myself before was put into question, and I pondered on things I had no clue about. 

How DID you put on makeup? 
What colleges would I apply to? 
Did I even want to go to college?
What the heck is this Express store?
Would any guy look at me the way they look at her?
Was I pretty?

Add having CP thrown into the mix and I unexpectedly had a very hard time accepting who I was. In my mind, being Katie was no longer acceptable. I wasn't normal. I was different. I was defective. I felt like felt like a human being that needed to be recalled. No one else realized this. I couldn't dare tell them what I really thought about myself. They knew me as strong, my dad especially.

In my late twenties, the questions changed. I now knew how to put on makeup. I knew what Express was. I've had (some) men take notice and I've been in a relationship. I thought I'd caught up. But just as I caught up, friends and family moved ahead. As I happily congratulated couples on their engagements, marriages and the births of their children, that ugly voice loomed inside me once more:

Would I get married?
Would I have children?
Would I be successful?
Would I ever land a job I enjoyed?

I didn't have the answers and I hated it. I was also very anxious over it. Throughout my twenties I tried on different identities, different jobs and different majors, but nothing felt right and nothing worked. After my talk with Auntie, I suddenly know why. Nothing worked because I wasn't being me. I was only being a false version of "me." I was being the "me" I thought was expected. 

I was my own worst enemy. 

You know that saying you'll never understand a person until you walk a mile in their shoes? That applies to you too. Sometimes, you need to walk in your own shoes. Auntie said that I was so busy trying on everyone else's shoes; I'd lost my own pair. I realized that no matter how many times I tried to be like my stepsisters', my friends or their friends, it would never work, because their shoes would never fit me. Only I could be Katie.  I needed to allow myself to enjoy Katie as she is and not who she tried to be. 

After our conversation, I read a few blogs to unwind. I came across this entry at one of my favorites, Tune Into Radio Carly. It was a Godsend.

At first, I didn't think much of it, but I as read on I realized the entry was everything I needed. Francesca Martinez was a comedian, an actress, a young woman in her 30's, successful...and she had Cerebral Palsy

In her interview she discloses that, although she was a secure, happy child, she'd lost her footing in high school and suddenly, she no longer felt okay as herself. Her latest comedy tour in London highlights her journey to acceptance. She doesn't use the term "CP." Instead, she has christened herself as "wobbly." I decided I liked that. As I was reading further something she said stood out at me: There is no normal. That's when I realized the race to be normal is like a race to nothing. We're all different. The sooner I realized that, the sooner I could (finally) begin anew. The weight would be lifted. I would be free. It wouldn't be an overnight process and I might take a few steps back from time to time but I could see now. I've begun to practice walking in my own shoes.

And yes, a bit "wobbly."  

Sunday, April 15, 2012


On my birthday last year, I was pondering where I would be going, what I would be doing and who I would become as I prepared for my trip to Hawaii.

This year, a lot has changed. I'm still inspired from my journey to Hawaii, when before I had no idea what I was missing. I'm quicker on my feet, less sheltered and not as naive as I once was. Traveling and meeting new people opens your world for sure.

This year, instead of doing a family celebration before everyone went on to their own endeavors, I celebrated a fun filled 29th Birthday with my brothers in the afternoon and my friends in the evening. 

I expected a really low key, quiet birthday. (It was the first one I would celebrate where I was no longer living at home.) Instead, I (happily) received a lot of phone calls from friends and family giving me well wishes. I'd expected to hang out with my friends at night, (we'd made plans a week earlier) but when I called my twin brother to wish him a Happy Birthday, he told me that our brother Dan was surprising us with a birthday lunch and to meet at his place by 11:30. So, that began my whirl wind day. 

When I arrived at Brother's place, Brother 2 and his girlfriend Gen were waiting with gifts and cards. I was so touched. They certainly didn't have to get us anything. I received Barnes and Noble gift cards from my brothers and some money and a Target gift card from Gen. Then we went to a nice little place called Confectionately Yours. It used to be just an ice cream place, but now they've changed locations and made it into a full restaurant. It's one of the only restaurants in our old town/my brother's current town. The owner is super nice and hospitable. The food and ESPECIALLY the desserts and candy are to die for. It looks like one of those old school soda shops.

After lunch we went back to Brother's apartment to catch up for a bit. Then I met my friends for dinner. Some of the friends I hadn't seen in quite awhile, so it was so nice to catch up with them. 

I was just happy to be surrounded by good company, but they put a lot of thought into cards and simple gifts too. I think they were going with a "kid at heart theme". I didn't mind. I was moved.

My favorite childhood books. (PS: These were well searched for. Thank you all!)

The next day, my dad and stepmom celebrated our birthday with all three of us, plus Gen. (our birthdays are pretty close together) I was again surrounded by good company and my dad and stepmom got me awesome jewelry! (Lynda told me she thought the style of the necklace said me all over it. She was right. )

All in all, it was a lovely day. It was a nice reminder that I have good people and a lot of love around me. Sometimes, you need that reminder, especially when things get tough. It was certainly remembered that day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I won an award!

Caity, an awesome blogger with a fantastic blog herself, has decided to honor me with an award. I've enjoyed reading her blog, The Skinny on Me, for a couple of years. In it, she chronicles her ongoing journey with losing weight, as well as her struggles with illness. I've marveled at her writing ability (much better then mine I'll tell ya) and continue to cheer her on as she reaches her goals. I urge you to read her blog. It's refreshing to find a real voice who focuses on real issues. Caity is also an aspiring actress! I wish her the best of luck with a roller coaster ride in LA.

And now, without further adieu, I would like to award the Liebster Blog to some of my favorites!

1) Carly @Tune into Radio Carly
2) Shannon @ Shanimals Crackers
3) Farsighted Fly Girl
4) Claire @ IN CHAIR
5) Hayley @ Holding the World in a Paper Cup

Thank you so much again to Caity! It's an honor!