Becoming my own master

Permission.

I am learning to give myself permission… 

Permission to be who I am. 

Permission to express my experiences how I please.

Permission to make mistakes and try again. 

Permission to say no or say yes. 

I was taught that permission is something that others give me; it is something I ask for.

There are so many societal standards and systems I am pressured to ascribe to. 

Approaching freedom means becoming my own master. 

Allowing myself to be who I want to be outside of societal norms. 

I struggle with this daily and catch myself questioning almost everything before I do it. 

“Is it okay for me to wear these shorts?”

“I like my hair this short but is it too masculine?”

“Is it okay if I laugh this loud?”

Daily I debate with this questioning and doubtful voice in my head. 

But I feel another voice rising – she is confident and bold. I am starting to brazenly answer back with, “you can do whatever the fuck you want?!” 

It feels weird to submit to my own voice. My real voice reminds me that I don’t have to wait for anyone to allow me to do what I want to do.

There are rules in place for a girl like me.

There is an order to follow.

There is an immense pressure to speak a certain way, dress with class, and have a particular career. Religion was a significant factor in modifying my behavior and self-expression. My spirituality and, thus, my creativity had to fit into a specific mold. 

From a young age, I was always conditioned first to ask if an action was “okay” and “acceptable.” When I engaged in “deviant” behavior, I would be an emotional wreck. I felt extreme shame, self-loathing, and dishonorable. 

By 25, I was burnt out from asking.

I was exhausted by conforming. 

Slowly, I have discovered I am not my happiest when I am asking others for permission.

It’s been a slow process of unlearning feelings of guilt and shame with being who I am. 

Today I am thinking about how this habit of asking permission has affected writing. Writing is therapeutic but becomes a task when l start allowing that little voice in my head to ask if I am doing it “in the right way.” 

Growing up, my identity and self-esteem were crafted around being a good student. In school, writing grammatically correct came first, and self-expression came after, which was never easy for me because I grew up in a bilingual household. 

All of this created an immense amount of pressure to express my feelings and thoughts with perfection. What that did, was create this need to be perfect at the stake of genuine self-expression. I still feel the remnants. 

When I write, I find myself still asking for constant permission and acceptance from an entity outside of myself. 

I am learning to write freely and allow my spirit to guide me. It’s okay to add punctuation where I want or write a run-on sentence because “it feels right.”

I am freer. The grips of “permission” are loosening. 

As I continue to unpack the self-imposed restrictions placed on my life and breaking them down one by one, I find myself liking who I am more. 

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