You are never too old to be yourself.
When I was younger, I did not wear or do what I wanted most, out of fear what others would think. I have always been introverted and sensitive/vulnerable, so I really worried.
What will my best friend say when I wear this shirt?
What will people think of me when I dance in the supermarket?
I don’t have the correct body for this.
I won’t get a boyfriend if I have teal hair.
My mum will never speak to me again if I get a tattoo.
Slowly, in my twenties, I realized who cares what people think. If they don’t like it, let them look the other way. I started being myself more, and realized the responses from people around me were overwhelmingly positive.
The first step was unleashing my inner crazy cat lady. People complimented me on my spirit and positivity, sent me links to products or news articles they thought I would enjoy, even brought me little gifts like key chains or cat figurines from a thrift store. I brought tiny stickers to the office and rather than scoff at them, people were excited to get one.
Next step: glitter. Colleagues started calling me Unicorn Lady. I brought a kitticorn snowglobe into work to “shame” people that did not lock their computers. It soon became legendary and sadly, as such missed its purpose…
I wore wheelies to work and nobody rolled their eyes. I wore a crop top and nobody puked.
At 33 I got my first tattoo. My mother even went to the shop with me. Then I got my first piercing (orbital heart helix). And my next tattoo.
At 34, I got more piercings (tragus and rook). A coworker said “I desperately want to get my septum pierced but my boyfriend will kill me.” and I realized once more how lucky I am to have a supportive circle.
At 35, I finally decided I was not “too fat” to get my belly button pierced. I went to two piercers for advise, in regards to the healing challenges. Both told me I had a great belly for a piercing. So I got one and let me tell you, I instantly loved my belly. After that, I got my conch pierced. So I guess I’m due a tattoo next?
Out shopping, my 8 year old nephew once mused “you are basically our glitter aunt”. I have wasted so much time not being me, that I love opportunities like this where I can assure him being yourself is OK. Even if kids can be cruel to one another.
As I managed to be more and more myself, the whole cliche proved true. Bit by bit I did not just feel the urge to do something to make the world a better place (on a tiny scale), I suddenly saw specific ways this was possible for me, such as litter picking and coaching coworkers. I like to think I may not be a better person now, but most certainly a more pleasant one.
Currently, my mind sometimes worries “am I not too old for this?”. I’m trying to overcome this, join me on this journey!