- speak softer.
- sit still.
- talk less.
- sit down.
- slow down.
- one thing at a time.
- fix your hair.
These are some of the words I heard growing up. They came from teachers, friends, family members, and anyone else who felt they needed to say it. I was a loud wild child who couldn’t sit still. My hair was always out of place and when I spoke… I stumbled over my words like a clumsy child.
You see I’m from Dominican Republic and girls are taught to be lady like. We need to speak softly, and respectfully. Girls are not supposed to run around with the boys, and definitely not talk too much. In Elementary School my mother would make sure I looked my best in the morning, but by the time she picked me up from school my hair was out of place, and my uniform was a mess. I tried every day but sure enough my clothes attracted dirt, and the wind loved playing with my hair. I played with the boys because girls were not fun… maybe that’s why I was always dirty…
As I grew older I internalized the critics and spent years full of insecurities, always trying to be that girl. You know, that girl everyone likes. She is kind, soft spoken, with an inviting laugh who never says too much. Her hair was always perfect and so were her clothes. I wanted to be that girl. I have done everything I could to be that girl…. but, I always failed. As I think back, that girl has been present in every stage of my life.
But by the time I turned 31 years old I didn’t know who I was. I had lost too much, including myself. I had to do some major inner work to figure out why… that’s when I realized, most of my life I fought too hard to be someone else. I never took the time to embrace and love who I was…. a loving wild child.