We learned to never interrupt the sweater change. It didn’t matter if you were six-months-old or 65-years-old; you were expected to sit quietly through the entire two-hour, one-woman rendition of Mary Poppins as performed by my four-year-old daughter.
My aspiring thespian not only sang the songs, but she fully embodied the magical nanny right down to the accent, the mannerism and the clothing. She was known to stay in character for days, even weeks at a time. You didn’t dare get up to go to the bathroom, or feed your 6-month-old baby while she paused the show to change cardigans – unbuttoning the first one with satin-gloved four-year-old fingers and buttoning up another – lest your interruption caused her to break character. And when she broke character, she moved right into the role of diva.
For 17 years now, I have watched as my daughter has “tried on” different characters. After Mary Poppins, it was Eloise and “No! No! No!” Then it was a string of Disney stars. Now, it’s barely noticeable, but I still have a good idea of which friends she’s been spending time with by her mannerisms.
This is one way my daughter is shaping her personality. She “tries on” different characters and copies their style, their speech, and their mannerisms. She keeps what she likes and tosses what she doesn’t. This is how she is honing “her own voice” and what an amazing voice she is crafting.
For my 10th birthday, my parents gave me my first camera. Some of the first photos I took with that camera were of my younger brother and sister. I posed them against a white wall, gave them plastic microphones, and instructed them not to smile. “Give me pensive.”
When the photos came back from the printers, I was disappointed. They didn’t look like the “disco star” posters I was trying to emulate. They looked like two tired little kids standing against a drab wall with bad lighting.
I kept taking photos. I took classes. I upgraded my camera from time-to-time. I copied other photographers – their styling, their lighting, their framing, their colors, their filters. Every once in awhile, I’d take a second glance at one of my photos and think, “Hmm…not bad.”
But still, my photos didn’t look like the ones I was trying to copy. I didn’t really like them.
Now, over three decades after receiving that first camera, I take hundreds and hundreds of photographs every month. With so many photos to review and so many decisions to make on which to keep and which to delete, I don’t have time to compare my photos to other people’s photos. I have to ask myself, “What do you think, Carrie? Do you like this one?”
I have to rely on myself. On my photography skills. On what I like. On “my own voice.”
I’ve found that when I trust myself, I feel like a proud parent whose child has just mastered riding her bike. “Hey, she can do it all by herself!”
I feel extra fond of the photos I created “all by myself.” I give myself a little hug and say, “Good job. You still have more to learn but hey, these photos, right now, are pretty darn good.”
And so, as part of the series of “My Desires and Goal for 2014” that I’ve been sharing this summer – how I want to feel about living my life and accomplishing my goals – here is the third of four desires:
I desire to feel My Own Voice
As a woman, as a parent, as a daughter, as a storyteller, as a creative being, as a person on this earth.
Here at the possible mid-way point of my life, I want to say, “Hey, this is what I think, feel and like,” regardless if others think, feel and like the same things. I want to trust myself to know what’s best for my life and how I should live it.
What about you, lovely? Which part of your life could you rely on “your own voice” more? Is it in your parenting? Your relationship with your parents, your spouse or your boss? In how you approach food? In your creativity?
If you feel moved to do so, please share your thoughts in the comments below. And if you found my musings helpful or inspirational in the least, please, so kindly share this post with a friend.
As always, thank you for spending a bit of your precious time here. I’ll be back in a week with my fourth and final desire followed up the next week with…drum roll…my goal for 2014.
PS: I took the above photos at the recent wedding of my father and his lovely bride. And ya know, I rather like how they turned out.
In case you’ve been sunning yourself on a beach somewhere and have missed my string of stories addressing goals and desires, here are the links to the past posts:
Week 1 – Goals – Wait, What? Goal Setting on Summer Vacation?
Week 2 – Choosing Goals – If You Could Only Choose One, What Would It Be?
Week 3 – Desire 1 of 4 – Do You Know the Hidden Beauty of the Cherry?
Week 4 – Desire 2 of 4 – What Can You Do to Feel Lighter?
Week 5 – No Post – Staycation with my Sweetie
Week 6 – Desire 3 of 4 – This very post right now.
Coming up, Buttercup:
Week 7 – My Fourth and Final Desire
Week 8 – My Goal for 2014