Posted by: Mary | April 23, 2010

Be true to yourself

About 10 years ago I had my nose pierced. I wore that stud in my nose for years. Then my mom got sick and died. I took it out for her funeral because I thought it was what she would want. Then I lost the thing. I never thought I could just go buy a nose screw (that’s what they call them) at any store. I found out you can.

Last Sunday, I was wondering if the hole in my nose was still open and stuck an earring in and tada the hole was not closed. My neighbor is tattooed and pierced and he told me where to get some new jewelry.

Long story short, I’ve got a fake diamond stud in my nose now. I realized that I might as well wear the thing, it’s not hurting anyone and I always liked it before I stopped wearing it.

Only a few people have noticed since I put it back in. One friend actually thought I’d had it before, but since I’ve known her I’ve never worn one. I never wore it to work when I was working in Chicago. I didn’t think it would go over as well as it did when I was living in Colorado.

When I first got my nose pierced I was in graduate school. My attitude at the time was ‘if an employer doesn’t like my nose piercing, well I don’t want to work there anyway.’ I felt that if I couldn’t be accepted for who I was and if a nose piercing would cause people to overlook my strong work ethic, then screw them. I guess with age comes wisdom and now I don’t hold that view entirely. Luckily, I’ve learned – when necessary – I can take the stud out and no harm done.

I told a few people I’m just letting my freak flag fly. In reality, that isn’t what I’m doing. What I’m doing is being true to who I am. Some may not understand that, but if I’ve learned anything in the last several years, it’s that it just doesn’t matter. No, I don’t want to alienate people while I’m working and if the situation requires the stud to come out, I’m OK with that. Otherwise, if people I know don’t get it, that’s their problem, not mine. I’m still the same person I was before the nose jewelry.

Another change I’ve lately undertaken is that I went vegetarian. It’s not the first time I’ve gone vegetarian either. Back when I was in college (ages ago) I went vegetarian. I was inspired after listening to the The Smiths, the whole Meat is Murder thing sunk into my head and made me think about food in a different way.

At the time I was living at home (working in a deli where I smelled like lunch meat, and was regularly grossed out). Spending time with my family did not make being a vegetarian an easy thing to do. Especially, with an Italian mother who loved to say, “mangia!”And, she cooked all the meals.

My brother was the least supportive. He teased me about it. I’d been teased a good portion of my life for some thing or other, either by my family or my “friends.” That shit does not help a person feel OK about themselves. After about three months of vegetarianism one summer, I went back to eating meat.

I’m not sure what triggered my desire to drop meat and fish (which I never ate much anyway) this time, but I think the idea popped into my head when I was watching Ellen one afternoon. She had on a writer, Jonathan Safran Foer who wrote the book Eating Animals. I was intrigued and wanted to know more, all the while kind of thinking that maybe going vegetarian was the thing I should do next.

I mean, it seemed – for me – a natural progression as part of my yoga practice. I’ve been trying to eat healthier and based on what I know most food is not produced – as we’d like to think – by Farmer Ted. It’s more like a factory and it isn’t healthy, based on what I know. Again, this is just how I see it. For some time I’ve had issues with the ethics of eating meat. It’s bad for the environment, too.

We all make choices in life and we have to live and die based on those decisions. My choices are not necessarily the right choices for anybody else. That’s the beauty of being an individual.

Ok, some of you are saying, “you are full of bullshit, you’re doing this because of The Smiths and Ellen and that writer, not because you have a single individual bone in your body.” Maybe you are right and maybe you’re not. It’s still a choice I’ve decided to make on my own. Just like piercing my nose was.

I told my dad, the person I thought for sure would give me a lot of push back, but remarkably he didn’t. I said to him, “you may think I’m crazy for doing this but I don’t care, I’ve decided I’m going vegetarian.” Not a word. He didn’t care that we ate pasta instead of ham for Easter. He’s become my biggest supporter for my life changes, which is so refreshing.

Because what I always find interesting is that sometimes the people you think will be most supportive aren’t. I told a few people that I made the switch to vegetarian and I could just sense that some of them didn’t get it. Actually, I think they question it and why I’m doing it. Does it matter if they question it or think I’m doing it for some bizarre, unrealistic reason? No.

For years I tried to do things because I thought people would accept me if I was a certain way. I tried so hard to please so many different people I lost who I was. I wasn’t happy living that way.

I realized after way too many years that the only thing you can do in life is be true to who you are. When you do that people will either love you or they won’t. If you love who you are, how can anyone deny you? Those people who don’t get who I am, well, I don’t need them around me because if people aren’t helping lift you up, they are only bringing you down.

Some people may think I’m a flake, a freak and a fraud, but I know who I am. I’m just shining my light in my own special way.

I think it’s been about a month now since I stopped eating meat and I don’t miss it, really. I’m not full on vegan and don’t know if I will be able to do that, but I may try one day. In the meantime, I’m eating more adventurously and definitely more mindfully.

At the end of the day we all do make decisions that we have to live with. I’m happy with mine. At times I’ve been handed curve balls, taken risks and lived too safely. I’ve tried too hard to please other people and I’m over it. Now, I’m just about being true to myself. I mean, if I’m not hurting myself or anyone else then it’s all good.

If you are reading this my hope for you is that you are being true to who you are too. I hope you are at peace with the choices you’ve made and, if not, open to considering something new.


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