you’re the only you you’ve got

There are a lot of things I wish I could change about myself. I’d rather be shorter and get to dress up in cute 4-inch heels than be 5′ 8″. It would be excellent if my hair were naturally straight so I didn’t have to deal with butt-numbing Japanese straightening every six months (which takes over five hours, by the way). And if my circadian rhythm enjoyed mornings, it would make life much easier.

It’s not just me. Everyone I know wants to change part of who they are. That whole wanting-what-you-don’t-have tendency is pretty universal. But here’s the thing. You only get one you. If there’s something about yourself that you want to improve and you can improve it, now’s the time. What are you waiting for? Oh, that? Don’t wait for that. Because while you’re waiting, life is happening. And that thing you’re unhappy about will just keep being an energy drain. What can you do, starting right now, to change one thing that’s making you unhappy?

Of course, there are plenty of things we don’t like that we can’t change. What can we do about those? Not much, really. But our attitude can change. We can accept those things and learn to live with them in a more positive way. Like how I get car sick. I hate that I have to take Bonine (which is like Dramamine, but doesn’t make me feel like I’m about to enter a comatose state) even for the shortest car ride. Good thing I hardly ever ride in cars. I’ve had this problem forever. My motion sickness is the result of an inner ear imbalance. That girl having a crying fit in second grade gym because she couldn’t walk across the balance beam like all the other girls? Yep, that was me! It’s amazing that I remember it at all, given how I’ve blocked out most of my school-related trauma. I was just quivering on one end of the beam, clinging to my gym teacher’s shirt and bawling hysterically.

Balance has always been a problem. Same with fighting not to throw up in cabs whenever I’m forced to take one. Which thankfully is not often.

What else is wrong with me? Oh yeah, I don’t know how to swim. I remember this time at day camp when I was five or six. We were all sitting by the pool and the counselor asked if any of us knew how to swim. For some wild reason, I raised my hand. She called on me to demonstrate swimming. So I got up, walked to the pool stairs, and started walking down them. And kept going. The next thing I remember, I was standing on the pool floor, completely underwater. I saw the counselor’s legs moving toward me before she yanked me up.

Ah, memories.

The swimming issue is one I can resolve. I don’t hate not being able to swim enough to join that class of five-year-olds at the Y, though. Instead, I turned my lack of skills into something positive. It’s what inspired Lani learning how to swim in Something Like Fate. As for the things I can’t change, I’m trying to be more positive about them. Because if I don’t accept myself, I can’t expect anyone else to.

Oh, and the whole wanting-what-you-don’t-have thing? I’ve found that usually, the things you want the most are the things you already have. Take another look around. You might be surprised.