"When the sharpest words wanna cut me down. I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out. I am brave, I am bruised. I am who I'm meant to be, this is me." ~Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman
I'm gonna be honest, growing up in rural North Carolina I was a total redneck kid. I had a strong southern drawl and my grammar wasn't so good. I went to a public school in the country where most people grew up on farms and were just like me.
After high school I attended Wake Forest University. My dad worked there for 30 years in the athletic grounds and maintenance department so that he could afford to send me to college.
At Wake Forest, I was surrounded by wealthy people who had gone to private high schools and didn't have a southern accent. Their upbringing was very different from mine.
Some of them made fun of me. They told me my accent was funny, the way I said things was wrong and many of my beliefs weren't right.
They seemed so smart, classy and knowledgable and by comparison I felt uneducated, naive and simple.
I wanted to be as sophisticated as the new friends I was meeting in college, so I dropped the accent, worked on my grammar and changed my opinion about many things in life.
Despite all of that, I continued to feel behind everyone else -- I had to work harder to get good grades and I struggled to access resources that seemed more readily available to other people. As much as I tried, I didn't feel like I belonged and I developed an insecurity about that.
As an adult, sometimes that insecurity still gets to me.
For example, when I make a mistake in my grammar, my southern drawl squeaks out or when I don't know something I think I should know, I can get triggered.
When this happens I want to play small so no one will notice I'm flawed, I don't actually fit in and that I don't belong.
I fear everyone will see the little redneck girl inside of me! "They'll figure me out," I think, "and they'll see I'm an imposter!"
So I hide my light and I get quiet. I can literally feel my body get small.
This is the opposite of what I want for myself. Ya know? I want to be a big, bold, beautiful, expressive, powerful force in the world, not a quiet, small, wounded being.
And this is what I want for you.
If you find yourself wanting to hide your light because you feel like an imposter to the life you've manifested, and if sometimes you want to climb under the sheets and never come out because you feel ashamed, broken or unlovable -- you're not alone.
Welcome to being human.
The good news?
A world of infinite possibilities awaits you if you can just learn to be yourself and love yourself as you are.
And I truly do love myself, even if I am a recovering redneck with the occasional slip of grammar and a southern drawl that runs so deep even 20 years of practice can't keep it down.
Turns out that little redneck girl also got some good stuff from the country -- strength, heart, and resilience.
So this is me.
Who are you?