A few days ago I opened an email from a clothing store that I love. The subject line asked, “Who are you going to be this summer?” The ad of course was referring to your summer style. Are you going to be boho, retro, classy or nautical? I thought about it for a minute as the question circled around in my head. I know my style, it’s all me, and it’s all over the place, but do I really know myself. Who am I going to be? Who am I now?
This question eludes us most of our lives since we are normally asked, starting at a very young age, “What are you going to be?” From as early as I can remember adults were constantly pushing this question on me. All I knew was what I knew at the time, which was ballet, and so that was my answer. “I am going to be a ballerina.” What I didn’t understand at the time is that what I am is far less important than who I am, but that was the question no one was asking.
What are you going to be?
That’s a lot of effing pressure! Everyone is waiting for your answer, and they are handing out judgments with your every word. How important is the answer to this question? My opinion–not important at all. We waste a great deal of time prodding kids with this question rather than focusing on the one thing that trumps the “What”, and that is the “Who.” Who we are is the key to what we do, and for most of us these answers come to us well past our teen years.
Sadly, many of us go on to pursue careers based on what we want to be rather than who we are. Raise your hand if you’ve had this experience. Now don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for all of my life experiences, but if I knew then what I know now, my choices would have been very different.
The struggle was definitely real!
I spent so many years focused on what I was going to be that I lost sight of who I was in the process. I pushed my feelings aside and I strived to be what I thought I was supposed to be. In the midst of my quest for a career I felt lost, detached and uninspired. I was answering the “What” and forgetting about the “Who.” As a result I became physically ill from constantly forcing myself to be someone else.
Who are you going to be?
It’s the easiest question in the world and the hardest question to answer. The answer is so simple it’s ridiculous right? I am going to be me. But, who am I? That’s when this question gets hard. Discovering who you are and what your passion is will drive you to do what you want to do–not the other way around. Being you–uniquely you–is about authenticity.
How do you push past all the BS and embrace your glorious self?
You have to make a commitment to yourself everyday and ask the hard questions, “Is this me? Is this what I’m passionate about? Am I being authentic?” It’s scary as hell to be boldly and beautifully you. People may judge you and not understand your choices or decisions, but seriously–who cares! You are doing your thing, making your art and loving yourself.
Do you want to know what happened with my personal struggle? I quit my job and stopped living someone else’s dream. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, and also the most rewarding. It took some time but I finally found the answer, and I know who I am. I am no longer driven by the dreams of others. I am fully present, inspired, healthy and thriving. I am Gina DeRoos and my passion and dreams are leading me to be what I want to be. This is who I am.
Who are you going to be? What are you waiting for?