One piece at a time…

So do you remember when back in yesteryear, before your face was always buried in a smartphone, when people used to actually do jigsaw puzzles?  I fondly remember being younger and sitting around with my family putting a puzzle together.  One of my favorite parts was seeing the transformation of those individual pieces with blobs and blurs of color to come together to form a complete picture.  I enjoyed the challenge, but sometimes when I got stuck I “cheated” and looked at the box to see how my particular part of the puzzle was supposed to look.   I didn’t really like doing that, but sometimes I just felt it was “necessary.”

My very amateur photography...

My very amateur photography…

I was thinking about this the other day when I realized that this a pretty good analogy for my life in general.  All of my experiences are tiny pieces of my life’s puzzle.  I put more and more of the pieces together every day.  Although I sometimes wish I could “cheat” and look at the box, I have know way of knowing how my life will look until  after I have already put the puzzle together.  For me this is a hard pill to swallow because I often find myself thinking about how I think the outcome of things should be before I have even tried to look at all of the pieces.  So now, I’m making it a conscious effort to stop and put together my life’s puzzle one piece at a time!

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Why 8thgradeself?

So what’s up with the name of the blog?  I probably should have started with this post but I actually just got the courage to finally let this out.  Well, in 7th grade I wrote some nasty things about some people that in my opinion hadn’t been very nice to me.  That was pre-Facebook and Twitter, so I actually wrote those things in my yearbook.  I had never intended for those things to be seen by anyone else – it was kind of my personal venting.  Anyway, as you can probably guess, I accidentally left my yearbook in the classroom one day and it eventually ended up in the hands of one of the people that I had written about.  Needless to say, that person was pretty upset.  Fast forward to the next year, 8th grade.  There was a conversation going on between a couple of friends, and though I can’t remember the specifics of the conversation, I remember it was something that I was passionate about.  After remaining quiet for the duration of the conversation, I spoke up and said my opinion but it was as if I hadn’t said a word.  My comment went completely unnoticed, though I know they heard me because they did pause.  As it turned out, the two people in that particular conversation were friends with the person that was upset about what had happened last year, so they were still holding that against me.  My adult self would have realized that this was a result of something that that I had done; however my 8thgradeself made a decision that day to never speak up again.  So since then, I have been systematically shutting myself down before I express my opinions because I think that they will ultimately go unnoticed.

This is why this blog is so important to me.  Even if no one is listening, it is important for me to explain to my 8thgradeself that personal expression is okay.  My hope is that someone else might read my story and think about what they are holding back.  Let it out!! Self-expression is not only okay, but quite necessary.   Even if you are the only soul that cares, sing, dance, talk ANYWAY!!  Your perception of other people’s opinions aren’t all that important and may not even be accurate.  I probably could have smoothed things over once and for all right then and there (because I eventually ended up being close with those two anyway) but because of how I perceived the situation, I chose to shut down.  Going forward I will keep reminding my 8thgradeself that it’s okay for me to do this.  How about you?  Is there anything that you have to tell younger you?