It's that time again when we reflect and give thanks to everything and everyone we may have taken for granted over the year, and man, do we do a lot of that. I always try to keep the gratitude going 365 days a year, and I pride myself on being the type of person who lets people I care about know I love and admire them all the time. Sending random texts spilling my heart is kind of my thing. But I've noticed that there's someone specific who I don't seem to give that same treatment to--me. That's not to say my life is lacking words of kindness directed at me, because my friends are amazing people. My messages and conversations are flooded with loved ones who take moments out of their day to praise the woman I'm becoming, and there are no words to explain how truly appreciative I am for that. And although that in and of itself is a testament to who I am, it is not their duty to remind me of the quality I possess. That duty is mine.
So while their genuine gestures are extremely welcomed and treasured, it's time I take a moment to build myself up the same way I am so eager to do for those I love.
I started to compile a mental list of things I wanted to highlight. What do I love about Bruna? Fortunately, there were more than a few things, but funny enough, while diving deep into my inner observations, I began to notice a trend. The things I feel are my biggest strengths can also be seen as my biggest weaknesses.
For example, my heart. I'm so often labeled as being "too nice," as if being too nice is a bad thing, but I understand why people say that. We've created a world that is so hard and harsh to the touch, people are afraid I'm going to get eaten up by the opportunists and the soul-suckers (although, we should all know by now that I'm not dumb, and once I see my goodness being taken for granted, I walk away and never look back). So my heart, while it is fragile and open and sometimes a little too giving, can be seen as a weakness to some, but to me, it is one of my biggest strengths, because in a world that can seem incredibly cold and bitter, it remains pure and hopeful.
Then there's my fearlessness in speaking my mind. I mean, I air a lot of my dirty laundry for the world to see, and that can even overwhelm me at times. However, while some may see that as a downfall, I see it as a stance in making a difference. I can't tell you what to feel or what to do or who to love or how to love, but I can lead by example. I can share my stories. I can be someone to remind you that it'll be OK.
So while thinking about all of these things, I've come to learn that I'm not everybody's cup of tea, and that is what I'm most grateful for.
That may confuse some, because it's not like I'm some completely off-the-wall, difficult to comprehend human being, but I am a woman who has often questioned if she is fitting into the mold of who society continuously tries to make her believe she's supposed to be, only to realize I will never be her.
But guess what? I'm totally OK with that.
I am not everybody's cup of tea, because when my heart is begging to speak, I choose to let it roar instead of silencing it.
I am not everybody's cup of tea, because when my mind is sparked with a thought or idea, I pursue it with the confidence and drive that I can truly make anything possible instead of burying it in a box of "maybe one day" and knocking it as a fantasy.
I am not everybody's cup of tea, because I refuse to be boxed into one label. I am not a pretty woman or smart woman or funny woman or intelligent woman or sexual woman or spiritual woman. I am a pretty, smart, funny, intelligent, sexual and spiritual woman. I am allowed to be all of those things at once, and I'm allowed to be proud of showcasing all of those different sides of myself.
I am not everybody's cup of tea, because I am expressive despite so often being told to quiet down. I will not tell you I'm fine if I'm not. I will not skate over issues that trouble me. I will not tell you what you want to hear out of fear, because I know the greater fear is being an accomplice to stunting your growth by not telling you what you need to hear.
I am not everybody's cup of tea, because I am not your grandfather's description of a lady. I curse, I make crude jokes, and I refuse to accept that I am less of a woman because I don't have a ring on my finger.
I am not everybody's cup of tea, because I speak freely about topics that many feel compelled to keep hidden inside. I choose to be vulnerable and transparent about my struggles with self-worth and love and relationships and men and dating, because I know I am not alone in feeling the way that I do and because my life is my truth. So judge me if you must, but your judgement will bear no weight on the validity of what I feel.
And I feel everything deeply, therefore I share it. I speak on it. I analyze it, question it, embrace it and learn from it, because these emotions are what remind me that I'm human.
The fact is simple. I don't know how to be anyone else. I only know how to be me, and in a world that is so eager to sell you an idea of who you're supposed to be, I'm pretty proud of myself for not buying into it.
So, no, I am not everybody's cup of tea, but why would I want to be when I can be me?
I am a woman who is unapologetically her own, whose identity spans far beyond social media photos and blog posts. A woman, who if you're lucky, will shed layer after layer until you see the depths of her soul, not out of desperation to be seen or heard or acknowledged, but because she knows that it is inside the whispers and shaky breaths, her tearful silences and difficult conversations, that her true beauty resides.
I am not everybody's cup of tea. I am just me, and for that, I am grateful.