Be Yourself

charisma

It’s October and even though some days summer still hangs on to the afternoon, those waves of oppressive heat have been replaced with perfectly cool mornings and night breezes the same temperature as your skin. Trees are casually beginning to drop leaves and acorns and bits of organic ephemera. We are entering the season of magic in Central Texas, from now until May or so, where everything cools out and gets real fucking nice. This is my favorite time of year because it’s always been a time of renewal and resetting. I always feel relief and comfort knowing cold is coming and bringing this energy that anything and everything wonderful is going to happen.

This time last year, I was not confident. I was sad and broken and deflated. There was a time during the end of my last relationship and just after where I wasn’t sure if I would ever get my self esteem and pizazz back. I couldn’t find it. I had stopped doing all the things I do to make sure I take care of myself, and I was just doing things that made me numb to my situation. Shit was dire and stayed that way for a long time. I felt hopeless. I felt like it was going to be summer in the desert forever.

Being lost on your career path or stuck in a terrible relationship or just feeling listless and directionless and lost for years feels very demoralizing. When something finally starts to click, it’s incredibly empowering and exhilarating.  It’s like coming alive again, but better. It’s first breath after coma. It’s realizing the entire world is open to you because you decide it is. We spend our childhoods believing we can be anything, and then we lose that. We learn we can’t do something, and we tell that story. We tell ourselves we can’t because we are not good enough, or we aren’t thin enough, or smart enough or male enough. We believe the lies and we just stop trying because that is less painful than just saying fuck it and jumping into the fire. Fire burns. Fire destroys.

Someone I met very recently told me, “You’ve got that charisma.” I’ve always taken that compliment as a high honor, because I think being perceived as charismatic happens for me when I have my shit together and I’m doing my best job at being my best self. Learning to code has given me something to work on and for, a tangible goal with projects and checkpoints where I can see my self getting better, faster, stronger, smarter. I’m fucking good at it! Regardless of what happens in the immediate future in my career, taking this class has reminded me that I can do anything. It’s not too late to make drastic, big things happen. It’s never too late. I can learn anything and go anywhere and be who I want to be. Not only is a window of opportunity open, they’re all open. The doors are off the hinges and the walls are falling down. This sad little “I can’t” house is burning to the ground because it’s too goddamn small to hold me inside it. I’m building a skyscraper to the moon. All by myself.

When I get involved in something that lights my fire, I am naturally excited, motivated, determined, and I just get all the way into it. I genuinely like things, and I like to be around other people who like things and who are doing exciting things. I always thought in order to love someone, I had to tone down my own needs and give all I have to that person. I thought that love was about caring more for someone else than yourself. I thought you had to earn that kind of thing back.

Balls to that nonsense. Just fuck that.

I’ve learned that the only way I can maintain my own charisma is to turn that energy inward and not give it away. There is no relationship or person who can give me what I can give myself.  You have to hold your own star. Always. Carrying another person is exhausting. You have to give all your love to yourself first. If I had all the energy I spent trying to chase after people who were wrong for me, I could have burned this stupid little house down years ago. But, I also firmly believe that life teaches you what you need to know when you need to learn it. I couldn’t be here had I not been there. Confidence is learning from experience. Charisma is believing in yourself enough not to quit, not to give up, and not to listen to the lies your own dumb defeatist brain is telling you. Then, confidence snowballs on itself and you get bold. You start believing a little more, and fear gets a little smaller. You realize you are amazing at talking to everyone, because you’re just being yourself, which is all you ever need to do. No one is born knowing how to be bad ass, you have to practice. You have to fail. All the time. I failed at like five things today and then I fixed my own brake lights in a parking lot like a fucking rockstar mechanic.

Fear is what makes us care about what other people think. When you are burning your own fire, your glow attracts the right people, the good ones, the big hearted, strong, smart, kind, magical people who will stay near you because they want to make your fire bigger. They are the builders of skyscrapers too. The best people don’t try to put out your light, they combine theirs with yours so the whole world can see it. Do what inspires you. Don’t wait until you know what you’re doing. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. Do it now. Start today. Light your charisma fire inside, and watch the walls of fear melt down to nothing. Be your best self.

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