HAPPY NEW YEAR! I wish you all the best of the new year.
As we all embrak on short lived new years resolutions, I am reflecting on myself and who I am. Mental health and my career currently define me… but as a therapist once asked me ” Who is alicia without mental health?”. To be honest, I dont know who she is.
This past year mental health advocating has taking over my life. With it, I have felt the pressure to be someone I am not. I felt the pressure to dress normal, be serious and do all sorts of things that really just does not define the person I want to be. My speeches became more serious, I wore clothes that weren’t who I was, and I felt as if I was creating an image of someone I wasn’t. The pushing point came when I met with a lady from a PR firm hired by my former agent. She took one look at me and told me all the things about my image she wanted to change. She would have my hair dyed, hire me a stylist and wanted to control how I express my opinions in a public form. I felt like a product… I think I let it get to me. As a speaker, people think we are in great control of our lives. In reality,our messages are edited and altered by TV crews, we have agents and event organizers telling us what we can and can’t say. I felt the need to conform to what I see all the other speakers doing. Dressing without personality in grey tones and sharing the message bought by the highest bidder. I realized how this is in contrast to the message i share. Good mental health happens when you have acceptance of yourself and your thoughts being real. Its silly that I feel like I have to look, dress and act like someone else in order to share this message. Having this other person created a persona I could hide behind in situations that make me nervous. This person is egotistical, mean and not anything I want to be. She has ruined some friendships and definitely ruined some dates I have been on.
So, this year, my new years resolution is to lose her. Be comfortable speaking as Alicia. Be comfortable speaking in skinny jeans, funny t shirts and superhero characters. Be professional when needed but fight for the person I want to be. I want to have speeches that make people think and laugh. I want to have crazy red hair and not feel the need to dye it something normal. I want to always have cooler shoes than the last speaking engagement and be able to wear bright colours on stage if I want too.
My resolution is also to find out who I am as a personal outside of mental health. I know I am quirky, nerdy and a giant goof ball. But hiding behind the speaker persona I had killed all of that. I will always be the mental health superhero, but I want to reconnect to my old hobbies of photography, music, circus and improv. I want to be able to hold conversations without the topics always turning back to mental health, as I am more than just my job. Part of being of mental health superhero is showing that mental health isnt all of who you are… you can be a student, professional, comic or whoever and still being going through a mental health issue. It seems, in part, I forgot that.
The first change? I am going to replace my twitter bio picture with something more representative of who I am as a person. Something goofy and fun, instead of all serious ( cause lets face it, I am as serious a clown most days).
I really wish you all the best 2013!! Go out there and being your fabulous superhero selves.