I’m never going to be what everyone wants me to be.
I’m okay with that.
I’ve always had FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and I’ve always been a people pleaser. My entire life has been spent wanting to please others and be everything others wanted me to be. Be compassionate. Be kind. Be helpful. Be generous. Be supportive. Be understanding. Be there for others.
I’ve conducted my life in a way that I think is best for myself and for my family, but I realize that I can’t be everything for anyone.
When I was a teenager all the way until my mid-twenties, I was heavily involved in environmental initiatives and I was vegetarian for personal reasons and beliefs. I was considered “difficult” and a pain because back then, many places (or people too) didn’t cater to vegetarian diets. People couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t eat meat or why it wasn’t okay to remove the meat from a dish and give it to me to eat. After some health issues and having to go back to eating meat in my late-twenties/early-thirties, vegetarians told me I was never a true vegetarian if I could go back to eating meat. The fact that I married a beef farmer was also kind of ironic. The thing is, I didn’t feel the need to have to justify myself. It was extremely difficult for me to go back to incorporating a bit of meat into my diet. This said, it wasn’t anyone’s business as to why I had to incorporate meat into my meals again. I didn’t feel I had to explain about the frequent fainting spells, severe anemia, regular B-12 shots at the doctor’s office, tiredness, hair falling out, etc. That wasn’t anyone’s business at all. Even with a vegetarian diet put together by a dietitian, my body couldn’t support a strictly vegetarian diet, despite my wishes to do so.
When I moved from the city to the country, I was “too city” for my new life. I like shopping, fine dining, travel, culture, history, arts, and beautiful things. When I moved to the country, I wasn’t “city enough” for my city friends. I now grow my own food, tread on the earth lightly, live somewhat frugally, and wear rubber boots to run errands in town.
There was a time when I used to never leave my house without my hair and make-up done. I used to wear skirts and heels every day. Now that I live in the country, if I dress up, I’m a snob. If I don’t dress up in the city, I’m a slob. I can’t win.
I grew up pretty privileged. We were never lacking in anything. My parents had good jobs that afforded us yearly trips to Florida and Disney. We traveled to New York and Trinidad and Tobago regularly. It came as a shock to everyone that I ended up moving from the city to the countryside. I married a farmer (whom my entire family loves). It was quite the lifestyle change.
I don’t live in a mansion. We live in a farm house. We are happy and have everything we need. It makes me laugh when people feel sorry for my daughter, because she isn’t lacking in anything. She has fresh air, lots of land to explore and enjoy, we’re outdoors every day, she is in touch with nature and has a healthy relationship with the land and all living things on it. She also enjoys city life when I bring her to the city. I make sure she gets a healthy dose of arts, culture, travel, international cuisine, and many different experiences. She really has the best of both worlds.
I feed my family wholesome, healthy, home-cooked meals. One would think that’s awesome, right? I get hit from both sides daily though. On one side, I’m considered a “fanatic” because I take the time to feed my family well. Oh, don’t even start with my bento lunches. Apparently I have too much time on my hands even though it takes five minutes to put leftovers in a lunch box. I have a secret! It really only takes a few minutes to dress up leftovers and put grapes in a colourful cupcake liner! Really! It’s that easy! Though I work from home, I do work full-time and have to help my husband manage our 750 acre farm. I can tell you that though I love cooking, I do not have hours to spend in the kitchen and I do not have all the free time in the world, thank you very much.
On the flip side, I also get knocked because I am not opposed to giving my daughter the occasional treat. I DO put yogurt and cheese in her lunch. Though I do make yogurt and cheese, I don’t do it regularly. Little One does get the occasional cupcake or treat, and I am okay with that. I really don’t think one can be 100% one way all the time. I think a healthy balance is key. At least for my family it is.
When I decided to teach English, people wondered why I went that route. My grandparents were extremely supportive because my grandmother was an educator and a school principal. This was something I was passionate about. I taught from 1998 to 2012 and then through some interesting turns of events, I ended up in social media. As a community manager, project manager to blogger outreach and campaign planner, my life was changed completely.
I also had a blog. I used to blog for the sake of writing. I am in love with the written word. I do have friends and family who often tell me how much they miss my old blog and reading the stories I wrote. In the past few years, the blog has morphed into something different from the original. That’s okay too. Nothing stays the same. As people grow and evolve, so do their blogs.
I appreciate constructive criticism. My brother recently told me, “Sis, I love your blog, but it’s become really ‘market-y’. I used to go to your blog to read your posts every day”. I appreciate that. My brother’s comment made me realize I need to keep true to my roots and to myself. This said, I think I need a good mix of both the personal and the sponsored content to keep things interesting and fresh.
I only accept opps that I love. I will never promote anything that I don’t believe in or that is not a good fit for my family. I’ve had to say no to many opportunities for those very reasons.
I admit, social media is changing and that it does sometimes irk me to see feeds littered with only sponsored posts. There’s a reason the word “social” is in Social Media. Though I do promote brands or programs online, for me the most important thing is the engagement. I’m all about the relationships built online. That is what I love the most.
I think everyone manages their work the way that is best for themselves and their families. How I may conduct my life may not be the same as the way Joe Next Door does. That’s okay. If we were all the same, it would make for a very boring world.
When Hubby and I first got married, we weren’t even married an entire month when people started asking when we were going to have a baby. When I gave birth to our daughter, people asked when we were going to have another. We got everything from “it’s bad to have an only child”, “only children are selfish”, “she needs a sibling because she will be alone”. Then came the “if you don’t have another baby soon, your ovaries will dry up and you’ll never have another one” and “you’re getting old. Better have another one soon”. The best was, “Are you infertile or something? Why don’t you have another baby yet?”
I just shrugged off all those questions and comments (and cried a bit when no one was looking). The truth is, YES, there is an issue. I have PCOS. It’s not something I wanted to share with people, because it wasn’t any of their concern. I sometimes wonder how people would react if I answered their stupid questions with, “Yes, actually. I have PCOS. That’s why I have been having a hard time getting pregnant again. Does that answer your question?” I would never say anything like that though. I’m too polite. I just suck it up and realize that people really have no idea what goes on in other people’s lives. Sometimes people are insensitive or just clueless.
I’m happy to have Little One in our lives. She was born so early that we didn’t even know if she would survive. Our little preemie is our miracle baby. I don’t need another baby. I would love to have a sibling for Little One, but if we don’t, it’s not the end of the world. We are blessed.
In the end, it’s the opinions of those I love the most that matter.
I understand that everyone’s always got an opinion and I respect and welcome that. What matters to me is how I conduct my life and the values I instill in my daughter. I want her to learn that it’s important to be empathetic, caring, understanding. thoughtful, helpful, hardworking, good at what she does, and that she needs to love what she does.
I’m not (and Little One is not) going be everything others want me (her) to be, but that doesn’t matter. To be your true self, conduct yourself with dignity, honesty and live a life worth being happy and proud about is what matters. People are going to have opinions on everything, and everyone is entitled to their opinions. It’s how you treat others that matters.
My grandmother (may she rest in peace) always said, “Love one another”. Those are words to live by.