If you read my last blog post then you know that my life right now looks and feels almost nothing like I thought it would. A big part of what is different about my life, and a change that I wasn’t quite expecting, is what I feel is a break down of my “image”.
Last year, as a Student Minister, intern at the USCCB, executive board member of the Anscombe Society, member of multiple other clubs/organizations, long-time and long-distance girlfriend and friend to many, I feel like I had a certain image. Most of what I’m about to ramble off is from what people had told me over the year, and other parts of it I’m sure were just my own ego. But regardless, I was on some level the kind of clique “it girl”.
You know, the one who “has it all together”, who “always looks so put together”, who “has more hours in the day than the average person”; the one who “has the perfect relationship”, who “people always talk about”, or even the one who “everyone wants to know”. I was the girl who knew exactly what I wanted, worked my butt off to get it, and succeeded. I was the girl who did way too much for any healthy and sane person and somehow pulled it off. The one who’s outfit never looked sloppy, wore heels at least 3 days a week and had my agenda glued to my hand.
At some point, and I’m not sure when, I let this image seep into my definition of who I thought I was, or who I thought I should be. It made me feel admired, looked up to, recognized, validated, and pretty much anything else that makes a person feel good about themselves.
So as I entered my senior year and all of the positions/titles I was going to have, I expected this image to carry with me and even intensify. Now I was going to be the senior who had great grades, was a Student Minister and member of President’s Society, had a prestigious job and an internship on top of that, was still a member of multiple clubs/organizations, had a really beautiful Catholic relationship, was blessed with many friends and was always dressed in at least business casual clothing. I was going to be the put together, on top of it, “I don’t know how she does it” girl.
But that is not what God was calling me to as I entered this year. If you haven’t heard all about me quitting my “prestigious” job and internship, mosey on over here and check it out. Now, even though I still have many of those same positions/titles, I feel remarkably different.
I am not the girl always dressed in business casual / put together outfits. I do not always have my agenda glued to my hand. I am not the girl always on the run to her next engagement. I am not the girl with extra hours in the day to get everything done. I am not always put together or on top of it. I am not brimming with ambition and professional drive with a job and an internship and crystal clear view of what I want to do post-grad.
With so much of who I thought that I was or what defined me slipping away, I realized today that I do not have the same “image” to the outside world as I once did. This naturally made me question who I am and whether or not there is anything else about me that makes me someone to be admired, someone to look up to, someone to be recognized, someone you people want to be friends with, etc.
It has taken a lot of digging deep to get to a place where despite all of the “I’m not’s” that I just listed, I can tell you what I am:
I am a girl who is so much more aware of the people around me, a girl who lights up when a friend walks into a room, one who wants to find the small and gentle ways of service to the ones I love; I’m now a girl that spends multiple 20 minute periods a day sitting in Starbucks or on a bench just talking with a friend, a girl that is learning how to try new things and make new friends, a girl that stays up an extra hour or two to have a late night heart-to-heart, a girl that is trying to make the most out of each minute of her senior year, and one who is deeply in love with the blessings God has given me this year.
So who cares if I’m in nike shorts and a sweatshirt instead of J.Crew and pearls? Who cares if I “have more hours in the day” or if I have just enough hours? Who cares if I’m the girl who “does everything”?
Right now, I’d much rather be Brooke; who may be in business casual or may be in a sweatshirt, who is giving her whole heart to the things that she is doing, who is committing unreasonable amounts of time to doing her homework, and who drinks coffee 4 times a day not because she’s dying of exhaustion but because she’s so loving talking to the person across the table from her.
I do not care for the perfect and put together image, but rather I care whether or not I am looking to Him who is perfect and asking Him to put me together the way He is calling me to be. This quote by St. Therese of Lisieux has been keeping me grounded:
Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be – and becoming that person.