Sunday, February 20, 2011

On rediscovering your real self...

Best part of Free-Style Sunday? I don't feel guilty about not writing this post last night. :)

Best part of waiting until Sunday to write my Free-Style post? I'm always a little more introspective on Sunday afternoons, so the post of much easier to write!

I had lunch today with an old friend I've not seen in a couple years. I think I last talked about Kourtney here, when I posted the hilarious story of our (J and me) adventure with Kourt's adorable little girl and her pull-ups. Well, since that time, Kourt has moved to Cincinnati and then Indianapolis, found her life's work in the mental health field, and ended a relationship that dominated much of her mid-twenties.

To back the story up a bit, I want to tell you how we became friends. We met in 2002, when she was a freshman at UK and I was a new grad student. We were both full of spunk, confidence, and shared a passion for the new Student Volunteer Center. Seriously, Kourt was actually my first student volunteer, and she later went on to become the President of the program's student Board of Directors.

Over time, we both fell into relationships that sapped us of our true selves. For me, it was a relationship with school that changed me. You can only take so many semesters of your work being insufficient and not good enough to start to believe that maybe, in fact, you're not cut out for it. Follow that up with a job where the goals aren't based in reality and, again, you start to believe it you're not cut out for the work you're doing. Somehow, I lost the confidence and the spark the lit me up from the inside. Kourt's relationship, though different, seemed to have the same effect. Apparently, after being told often enough that you're fat or not good enough, you kind of beleive that, too. The girl who signed up as my first volunteer would not have put up with that kind of talk, but quite frankly, the girl I was back then didn't question her own abilities either.

We changed; we gave someone else power over our thoughts and we let them convince us that we were somehow 'less than' who we thought we were. Power is a funny thing though, because when you decide that someone or something will no longer have power over you, it doesn't. (Okay, sure, you can't decide that a law won't have power over your choice to drive 85 in a 55, but my point is that you can decide that your actions are governed by yourself and your choices.) Last fall, at about the same time that I decided that 'being responsible' no longer included going to a job that sapped my spirit and damaged my health, Kourt signed the papers that gave her back her power. And in the months that followed, we've both found that part of ourselves again that gave us the spunk and confidence we shared eight years ago. Today, we looked and sounded much more like the young women we were then than the women we were in the middle years in between.

It was good to see her again. And good to see myself, too.

No comments: