Be you, bravely.

The older I get the more authentic I become…and truly… it’s quite freeing.

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go who we think we’re suppose to be and embracing who we are.  -Brene Brown

As the youngest of nine children, finding a space that was uniquely my own was always a little challenging for me. In part, I was a bit of a perfectionist growing up but also it can be hard to identify who you really are when you are constantly surrounded with the same people who have a certain expectation of who you should be.

I am not spontaneous. I like a plan. Some of my family members struggled with this side of me. And as the youngest of nine living with many personalities sharing their thoughts and opinions … I sometimes questioned why I wasn’t more spontaneous. The reality is…I am just not. No need to explain, right? It’s just me. And that’s okay. 🙂

Being authentic requires you to settle in your skin–and all the ‘imperfections’ as well as all the wondrous parts of being a human–accepting yourself for simply being you.

It’s a heck of a lot easier to be you when those around you accept you for who and what your are. I am lucky that my husband appreciates me (most of the time-ha!) for just being me–the girl that can’t sit still, takes on way more than she should, is a very messy but good cook, and tends to add a crazy love and a lot of chaos wherever she goes.

We are all different…thank goodness for that…for it is our differences that make the world a wonderful place.

When I reflect back to my 12 year old self…I see a kind, freckled, strawberry-blonde and slightly self conscious little girl who was terrified to speak in front of my class and equally fearful of heights. I grew up in the small town of Westwood, Massachusetts. In fact, in ninth grade my math teacher asked the class, “Who is the most nervous to speak in front of the class?” And everyone, turned around and looked at me! Yikes!  Near my neighborhood was a old Victorian building used as the 6th grade school. On the backside of the building was a huge fire escape–and old staircase that literally terrified me. My friends and sisters would climb to the top–and I would reluctantly follow with the fear that the stairs would break and I would crash to the cement ground. When my husband and I climbed Diamond Head in Oahu, Hawaii during our honeymoon, I was at times paralyzed with fear. But as the years have gone by, I have pushed through this fear (though it creeps in time to time) and took a hot air balloon ride (loved it!) and more recently joined my son on a helicopter tour of Boston–but the helicopter had no doors! And I did it…and it was amazing.

I have learned as I get older, the most gratifying life events have been when I pushed my limits. Pushed past my fears and let go of my control a bit. My first month in my job as an outpatient dietitian at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital required that I present 10 talks. That’s right, 10 talks in one month. A big daunting task for the girl who feared speaking in public. The 10 talks included speaking at Harvard Medical School to the medical students (um, no pressure there!) and another speaking event to the medical residents in the internal medicine clinic. I learned quickly, I had to embrace the challenge. And this became easier, when I accepted that I wasn’t suppose to be perfect and know everything. Just prepare well and do my best.

Fast forward: Now, 25 years later my job consists of talking around the globe…often, in front of the smartest researchers in the world. Who would have guessed? Not me.  And I although I might not know everything (um who does?!)… I do know my nutrition specialty. I bring my unique perspective and experience to my talks. And that alone, is more than enough. (But, it took me some time to realize this!)

Today’s post is about being brave. Being authentic. Being who you are suppose to be…not who anyone else in your universe thinks you should be. Just finding who you are…pushing yourself outside the box if you want to–or not, and settling into your brave new skin.

Authenticity mean really truly living in your own skin. It’s where full compassion for yourself and others can be found and it’s when you can say:

Should

Would

Could

Did.

But you are playing by your own personal rule book.

Why this topic on a digestive health blog? Because I think it is an essential message for everyone…but maybe even more so for those who suffer with chronic illness. We often bring our A game for others (when we feel sick on the inside and might just need a day in bed), often suffer in silence and keep our digestive talk to the smallest circle of friends (…if that!) And although your chronic illness shouldn’t define you or hold you back, I do think it’s part of your authentic self ( & mine too) and sometimes you just need to honor it.  And its okay to accept your illness and share it. You might be surprised that your story will inspire others to be more accepting of themselves and ultimately more authentic too.

#IBelieveinyourStory

 

28 replies on “Be you, bravely.

  • Regina

    Kate! What a wonderful story and thank you so much for sharing your journey! It makes us feel human and not ashamed of what we also have to offer (good and bad). You continue to inspire people where ever you go!

    Reply
  • Kristin Hatch

    Your message applies to all people for many reasons. Am going to forward to several if that’s OK. Thanks for all of the work that you do for clients, for RDs. Your materials and approach are a benefit to clients daily . There is nothing better in life than being able to help others to have an improved quality of life.

    Reply
    • katescarlata

      Thanks Kristin! You can always forward along…and I agree–I think dietitians as a general rule are helpers. We went into the field to make a difference–to make life a little better and a little less difficult for others.

      Reply
  • Paula Moscariello

    Excellent story! Getting out of your comfort zone only makes you stronger. Life is almost like playing pickleball. You have to believe in yourself and be confident in your abilities. You can’t react to the ball all the time. You have to take control, play offense not defense all the time. Have a purpose and challenge yourself to rise above…..keep the stories coming Kate..

    Reply
  • Theresa McManus

    Kate, this couldn’t have been more perfectly timed and absoultely spot on. Thank you for sharing your journey, knwoledge and bravery. You are quite an inspiration

    Reply
  • Joan

    Thank you Kate for sharing your story, being honest and encouraging your readers and those in their sphere of influence is a blessing! It is interesting that the same encouragement can also be found in the scriptures!

    Reply
  • Linda Port

    Thank you, Kate, for sharing your story. I am second oldest of 8, and many of your experiences echo my own. Shy, afraid to speak in front of others, afraid of heights. There was also a creaky fire escape on our school, but it was only 2 stories high. It still terrified me. I grew up on a farm and the most thrilling game was to swing on the hay rope out over the driveway of the barn, and then back to the bales. I could never do it, no matter how many ‘double dog dares’ I got. I’ve also learned to conquer many of my fears, but only recently gave myself permission to take that day in bed when I need it. One week ago I hit my 70th birthday, and I think it’s about time I took time for me! I wish I had done it sooner, but there’s no time like the present!

    Reply
  • Pamela Rice

    Love your blog, Kate – it has helped me with advice and recipes on my continuing road to recovery from IBS and ulcerative colitis. I have been baking my own bread for a year and a half using the same ingredients always. I had thought that I had perfected my bread to the point to share with family and friends. They have all loved it! My last 3-4 loaves have turned out “heavy” and gummy. Trash can time bad. I recently changed yeast and xanthum gum brands – could that be the culprit? I’m lost and need advice :/

    Reply

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