I Can Be Anything I Want to Be

I am essentially afraid of so many things. I worry constantly. I think some of it has to do with wanting people to like me because at my core I am the most people-y of people pleasers you’ll ever meet. Ok, so a lot of it has to do with wanting the people around me to be happy and in the process, like me. I worry about logistics a lot too, how to get there, where to go, how not to look stupid when I get where I’m going. It’s truly exhausting. That’s one of the bazillion reasons I’m so grateful for my husband because all my life I’ve been told I worry too much, I’m a worrier, I need to stop worrying. And he changed my thought. He told me, “What if you’re not a worrier, but a warrior who can take on anything.” 

Since leaving college and deciding to go into real estate I have neglected the dancer part of me. Dance class is something that always heals me, but I’ve been so afraid to go back to class. I was afraid of disappointing myself or looking stupid or I don’t know, like I would go in there and not be able to dance anymore. Then I thought about what Domi said to me. I am a warrior, I can do anything I put my mind to and I just started signing up for dance classes at different studios. I wanted to find a place where it was fun and felt like dancing with my tribe in college. I wanted to feel empowered by the people around me not looked down upon for not having made dancing my career. But I just did it. I made myself the warrior and went in and did it even though I was so anxious and nervous about how it would go. I was still stupid nervous, but what came out of it? I found this awesome studio ten minutes from where we live. I found a teacher that reminded me of my favorite ballet teacher in college. I found people that invited me out to drinks after my second class with them. It was better than I ever thought it could be and now I’m going to ballet again two or sometimes three times a week and I feel so much more like myself. I am a dancer; I can still call myself a dancer even if I took a three-year hiatus; the dancer part of me never left. I am so proud of myself and I am so grateful to my boy who showed me I could. He showed me it was going to be okay and walking into a dance studio could be intimidating, but I was strong enough to handle it. I did it. I am so freaking proud because I found a little bit of myself again after spending so many years feeling like I was living two lives. The one I thought I was supposed to be living and the one where I thought about the life I wanted. Just going to a ballet class helped me see that I can have it all. I can follow my passion and I can make money. It may be two separate things right now, but that’s okay. I feel pretty awesome and cool and strong and like a freaking warrior.

Now, let’s not get crazy, I still worry a lot about a lot of things, but it changed the way I see myself. I stopped the mantra in my head that said, “you’re a worrier, you worry too much,” to, “you’re a warrior, you can do anything you set your mind to.” And so much has changed. I’ve learned to recite the serenity prayer constantly, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and the ability to know the difference.” I really should have that one tattooed on my forehead so I think of it every time I look in the mirror…which is often. So much hinges on what I tell myself.

I am a warrior who is brave. Some days I wake up and miraculously remember to be easier on myself because that makes me much happier and some days when I can catch myself from spiraling I remember that I am not a worrier, I am a warrior and I can do anything I set my mind to. I go to therapy a lot so I’ve tried to examine exactly where all this worrying comes from within me. Turns out, since the answer is rarely ever simple, it comes from a lot of places, and likely from some past lives too, but I’ve realized one of the roots of the problem.

Growing up as the daughter of two gay men at a time when many people didn’t have two dads made me especially conscious of the impact I could have on the world. My Dads never put this pressure on me. It was more from what people said on the outside. There was and still is so much judgment that surrounds the LGBTQ+ community. They are scrutinized at every turn and I started to feel some of that scrutiny. Like people were looking at me under a microscope. That people who weren’t okay with gay people were constantly checking in on how I was doing in life to see if these gay dads had screwed me up. These people made me think subconsciously that if I am not perfect, if I don’t behave well or get straight A’s or am not the best at whatever craft I’m pursuing then I will be the reason that the world thinks gay people shouldn’t have kids. I recognize this now as incredibly self-centered, but at the time I had no other examples. If I screwed up I thought people would say, “See, she drinks too much because she has two dads.” or “She’s lousy in school because she has two dads.” I was sure that people that were on the fence about gay marriage would be pushed one way or another because of my actions and I REALLY, REALLY didn’t want to screw this up for a community of incredible people. So, I decided I wanted to be the reason people think that gay people SHOULD have kids. I wanted to be the well-adjusted, smart, funny, kind girl that made people think, “man, gay dads are the way to go.” And I was. I worked really hard, I was dedicated to every after school activity, I studied more than most and carried myself well at annual Human Rights Campaign galas from the time I was nine, but the only thing my worrying about being perfect for my parents and the gay community was really doing was making myself insane. I have the two most magical parents. They would drop literally whatever they were doing if I needed anything and would be there for me even if it meant driving to the ends of the earth.

When I was a teenager I told my parents I had this fear floating around in my head for the first time. They started to cry. They felt horrible that who they were had burdened my little head for so many years. “I just wanted to be perfect for you,” I told them. They told me they felt they had failed as parents because I should know beyond a shadow of a doubt that just waking up every day and being me was perfect for them. Then I started to cry because I realized I’d been carrying this burden all alone all these years for no reason. If I had just told my parents I wouldn’t have had to shoulder that burden alone. But it’s ok because we all have our “stuff” and being who I was did change a lot of minds, but now when I look back it wasn’t really me-it was my Dads. People saw what incredible parents they were and then started to think, “hey, maybe this whole gay thing really is ok.” So it wasn’t all for naught. But every time I find myself slipping and wondering if I can or can’t do something I have to remember, I’m not a worrier, I am a warrior.

To the sun and the moon and back,

CAMDW

  • OK you made me cry. Beautifully expressed my sweet friend with the most enormous heart ever. I didn’t know about the dance classes. I am so glad you did that…so good for you on so many levels. Hugs.

  • beautiful!! I so get the worry and the perfectionism, but watching you grow up with your 2 great dads was a breath of fresh air!! Love is love … oh and I’m glad you are still dancing !! don’t stop 🙂 xx, deborah >

  • Loved reading this and love the idea of replacing “worrier” with “warrior.” Never knew you felt this way all these years. Putting the burden of being perfect so people will think highly of your parents and the gay community is the exact opposite of self-centered in my mind. You had reasons bigger than yourself for wanting to appear perfect. I see it as you were putting others first. It’s great that you are learning and growing and sharing and returning to your passions. Looking forward to reading more. Keep it up. 💗💗

  • Your blog is awesome! Thanks for sharing this with the world, love to read it! I saw your post on Facebook and instantly searched for it. From the first line I felt like I was sitting right beside you and listening to you because all what you wrote is full of that wonderful loving energy you always spread out wherever I met you, you really are an amazing person and I’m looking forward to reading more of this!

  • I’m so proud to be that teacher that you found!
    And when you might forget to be a warrior rather than a worrier, I hope you remember this: That when you had the courage to step into my ballet classroom, you immediately touched everyone with your presence. Your grace, your affability, your warmth, humor, and talent filled the room. And does, every time you are in class. Just by being YOU.
    I think I’m a pretty great teacher, but also a good judge of character. I work with all kinds, happily to do so. And girl, there’s a reason we all wanted to have drinks with you after your second class. All your life-stuff makes you interesting, but just the YOU that you are made my students and me want to know you more and better. Remember that I thank you for bringing your worrying/warrior-ass to my class!

    • Now I’m going to cry!!! Thank you so much. I am so grateful to have found you. You changed my life for the better and you are an incredible teacher and I feel blessed to be surrounded by you and your other students weekly. It’s truly one of the most magical parts of my week!! Thank you. I will always do my best to remember. ❤️

  • Oh my Chelsea, this is so insightful. It is so rewarding to see you process this information in such a meaningful and positive way. I fear you give us way too much credit, the discoveries are yours. I adore you more than I can express and always will. Always. Thanks for choosing us to be your parents. Love, daddy ❤️🎈💕

  • So happy to know you are dancing again! I’ll never forget when you invited me to see you dance The Nutcracker at Pepperdine, I was blown away! It’s okay to want to do things to make your parents proud, as long as you’re mostly doing it for yourself. 😉 I was always impressed with your work ethic, maturity, and sense of responsibility. You were an incredible student that I will always remember, and I’m enjoying reading your blog. 💕😊💕

    • Oh my goodness. Thank you so much and thank you for reading. I am so very grateful. I am certainly still working on finding what makes me happiest in terms of the working world, but I am getting there and am so grateful for your support. ❤️💕 thanks to you I was able to help my hubby with his college bio class and I thought of you every step of the way. Thank you again so so much. 💜💕