by Karen S. Exkorn
We all have different sides to us, right? But do we always embrace them?
The truth is, I almost wrote Fifty Two Shades of Blue-ish (a parody of the book you know well) under a pseudonym. Why? Because I was afraid. Close and caring friends and colleagues echoed my fears. “Are you sure you want to write this book under your own name?” they’d ask. Their concerns matched my own--that people might not take me as seriously in the business world and the autism community if they knew that I’d written a humorous erotic book. After all, I was known as a “serious autism author,” and “serious corporate consultant.” How could I add “silly, sexy parody writer” to the mix?
But then, something shifted. In a moment of self-reflection, I created a Bucket List. Only, unlike that typical list that people hope to accomplish before they die, my list was something that I wanted to accomplish NOW (or at least soon). So I renamed my list. I called it The F***KET List. And in the process, I found the courage to get out of my own way and embrace my crazy creative side that I’d been hiding away.
I was able to get in touch with my inner voice (or inner princess, that is), who told me to “Just go for it!” (actually, she used more colorful language, but that’s for another story…). And that’s the message that I’d like to pass along to other women who might be hiding away parts of themselves for fear of being judged or criticized.
Here are 3 tips on how to celebrate yourself and get to that bucket (or F***KET) list.
Do It. Don’t Overthink It
Listen to your heart. What part of yourself have you been hiding away? Did you used to…dance, sing, play the piano, play tennis, or do something else that fed your soul?
I led a corporate seminar recently and many participants in the group shared that they had given up something special and meaningful in their lives, because they felt that they had to “act like adults.” I know what that’s like. I used to dance professionally and then gave it up for 10 years to become a “serious corporate consultant.” Like the seminar participants, I felt that something was missing in my life. So I encouraged them to do what I did— bring that something special back into their lives in a way that doesn’t add stress. For me, that meant taking one dance class a week. I didn’t quit my day job, but I discovered that adding in that something special that gave me pure joy enhanced my work and home life.
What can you start doing again that you’ve been depriving yourself of? Or what can you start doing that you’ve secretly always wanted to do?
Don’t 'Should' Yourself
If there’s a nagging voice inside of you telling you that “You shouldn’t take time to do creative and fun things” and “You should be there to help everyone else,” then tell that voice to SHUT UP. Please. Women are so consumed by guilt that they feel guilty about making time for themselves. Get over the guilt! Do something fun for yourself. Make a date with yourself to do what you (not what everyone else in your life) want to do. Embrace your fun, funny, creative side. Believe it or not, by embracing your playful side, you will actually be a better mom, wife, partner, friend…and you’ll have more fun!
Do It Now!
The rational side of us says to “Wait.”
Wait until…we’re older, or we have less responsibility, or our kids are in college. But I say, “Why wait?” Like that old Madonna song says, “Express Yourself” NOW. Like the new age guru Eckhart Tolle espouses, “Embrace the Power of NOW.”
“But I don’t have time!” I hear that over and over in the corporate Time Management seminars I teach. It’s what I used to say to myself. But here’s the reality. We all have the same amount of time. We all have 24 hours in our day. We have no control over that. But what we do have control over is how we choose to spend our time. In other words, it’s not that we don’t have time, we just don’t make time. Which means that it’s a choice. You can choose to make time to fit in that something special, or not. It’s up to you.
So I say: Choose to do what gives you joy and do it NOW. Embrace that shade of yourself that’s been deprived or that you’ve been hiding away. Sign up for that class, make a date with yourself, and make time to do what you really want to do.
More from GalTime.com:
- Top 5 Lies We Tell Ourselves
- 10 Quotes to Soothe Your Soul
- Yes, You DO Have a Purpose
- Guess What? You’re Not Supposed to Have it All Figured Out by Now!
Karen S. Exkorn, a published author, noted speaker, and all-around nice Jewish girl (except when she’s not), has released Fifty Two Shades of Blue-ish, a parody of that “other” ever-popular tome. Exkorn is also author of the best-selling book, The Autism Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Diagnosis, Treatment, Coping, and Healing—From a Mother Whose Child Recovered (2005 HarperCollins).