“Come on, Taslim. Don’t even think those things. Just tell yourself, ‘I am SOMEbody!'” My mom looked at me from the other side of my bed, eyes sad but trying their best to look strong. On the last word of her pep talk, she sat up straighter and balled her right hand into a fist. Another sign of the strength she was trying to pour into me.
Rolling my eyes, I thought: What does that even mean? Of course, I’m SOMEbody…I’d just rather be…somebody ELSE.
My mom’s go-to line in any pep talk was always that: Just tell yourself, I am SOMEbody! It was as famous as her other expression: Sh*t on you! (Haha! Still makes me laugh…it’s only really funny in her Indian accent.) You would think the number of times she has told me this, I would have somehow absorbed it into my system and never for once doubted that I, in fact, am somebody: a person worth loving and forgiving, a person of value, a person capable of doing great things, a person accepted, a person who can just be who she is and not be judged for it.
A person. SOMEbody. Me.
It’s been several years since the last time she could physically tell me those words, but I haven’t stopped hearing them. They make more sense to me now even if trying to assert them is still unnerving, scary and at times, alienating.
I’m not doing safe things anymore. I’m not cowering behind someone else’s career, someone else’s dreams, someone else’s idea of how a life should be lived. I’m not hiding as much of me as I used to; instead, I’m creeping out of the shadows and into the light. I’m not guaranteed that everyone I love will come with me on this journey. I’m not guaranteed anyone’s friendship. I’m not guaranteed that in the end I will have done what I have come here to do.
But I am SOMEbody – somebody who needs to try to do my work, as honestly, lovingly and openly as I possibly can. And by example, and by guidance, my work includes ensuring my children know that they, too, are somebodies.
What does that phrase mean to you? I am somebody. What would you add to that as I have above? What does it mean to be the special kind of somebody that only YOU can be? Is there fear? Is there freedom? Is there both?
In loving myself this week, I have been holding on to these words and the image of my mother sharing them with me, silently begging me to think more of myself. I am asking you to do the same.
Why? Because when we love ourselves and see ourselves as SOMEbodies…then we see all the other somebodies out there and honour and love them, too. We can help each other eradicate fear of judgement, because there wouldn’t be any judgement.
We would all just be that special SOMEbody.