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The Me I Want To Be

The Me I Want To Be

Black sheep.

Contrarian.

Pirate.

Gadfly.

Instigator.

Risk Taker.

Agitator.

Starter of Riots.

Asker of questions.

Encourager.

Pioneer.

These are words that I’d use to describe myself. Other people have used them too, from time to time. It’s what I want to be. It’s who I feel I am. It’s what I think I was created to be. When I am being those things, I feel like I am really being me.

There is this version of myself in my head, the best version of myself I think, and this person isn’t afraid. This person says everything. Tells his whole heart like Brene Brown says to do. He doesn’t worry. He doesn’t second-guess. He trusts and hopes and has so much fun. He is super relaxed and joyful. He is not easily rattled. He can fit in anywhere because he doesn’t really fit in anywhere. He lights up wherever it is that he goes. That person seems to elude me. Sometimes I feel like that, but mostly, I don’t. And I always feel like being that person is just one choice away. But I rarely make the choice to be that person.

There’s another version of myself, one that’s not totally real either; it’s the version of me that’s been told to me by others. I fight with that version of myself, but it’s easier to be him. Scratch that, it’s terrible to be him, because that’s the version of myself that I’m constantly beating up. All those words I listed above, they’ve been twisted by other people. What I view as positive traits have been viewed by others as really bad negatives, dangerous behavior, etc. These are the things that have been said about me:

Rebellious.

You don’t have the spirit of this house.

Reckless.

Immature.

Ungrateful.

Pushy.

Jerk.

Manipulative.

Wishy Washy.

Discontent.

Sewer of discord.

Thief.

You’re just telling people what they want to hear.

Isolated.

So I guess I’m caught between these two most of the time. Those words, those labels seem to hold me back from really being the version of myself I want to be. The “in-between me” usually looks like this:

Worried.

Frustrated.

Bitter.

Short-tempered.

Depressed.

Bored.

Easily distracted.

Unsatisfied.

Scared.

Confused.

The hardest thing you could ever do is really be who you are. I know some people who can do it everyday. (and by “do it”, I mean they can 101% unapologetically be who they are.) Most of us aren’t though. We don’t say what we really think. We shrink back. We puff up. We are torn in two by who we want to be and what the world/family/friends/enemies have told us we are. Just stuck. Bold enough to not fight back against what we’ve been told, but too afraid to set fire to that stuff and just walk away into the future we’ve always dreamed of.

Over the past few years, I’ve been in the process of walking away from organized religion. We quit going to church, started new things, kind of started sharing our ideas, but I feel like I’ve stalled out a bit in that process in a bit of a “no man’s land.” I’m a different person than I was a few years ago and very different than I was 10 years ago, but yet I’m still living like a watered down version of who I know I really am. I’ve been vague; saying some things but not really saying anything. I’ve been kind of off the radar, hanging out in a gray area listening to others speak and share things that are full of life and color.

That gray area looks like this:

People from my past still write me with criticism and warnings that I have gone off the deep end. They think I’m a little bit “off.” In actuality, if they knew what I really thought, they’d KNOW (in their minds at least) I passed up “off” a LONG time ago.

People from my present aren’t really getting the real me. I’m not fully connecting. I like them and they like me, we have a fun time and all is well, but it’s not what it could be.

If I don’t get this figured out, the future will be grey, vague and dull.

I’ve needed to do this for a while, but I haven’t. Was I waiting for the right time? That’s what I told myself. The truth is that I was just scared of the “what if’s.”

If I take that step and become that best version of myself, the totally honest one, what will happen?

What if no one will give to the non-profit? (Only 2–3 people do right now!)

What if our closest friends think I’ve gone too far? (They’ve been with me every step of the way and have encouraged me at every stage. Why would they stop now?)

What if I upset someone? (Oh heaven forbid!)

What if no one cares? (Shouldn’t matter. Being me is enough.)

I don’t really know what you call this and I’m not even sure why it’s necessary that I post this. I know I needed to write it. I feel like I want it to be heard. This is coming from the exact place that I’m at right now. It’s been my address for a while. So starting now, no more fluff. No more saying everything but the things that really need to be said. I need to say the things that will possibly upset the uptight, religious & judgmental and not coincidentally the very things that will be hope and life to those that need it most.

I’m not sure if this post will actually get read by too many people, that’s not the point. It’s still not saying anything other than “I’ve been too afraid to fully be myself and I’m ready to try to move forward.” But, thank you to every one that reads my stuff, listens to my podcast and watches my videos. It means so much that you would give me your time and attention. Those are the most valuable things you have. I appreciate your encouragement and support more than you know.

People are wired and gifted for all different kinds of things: singing, drawing, accounting, serving & protecting, etc. The world is full of doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. I’m wired to communicate. It’s what I enjoy doing more than anything. When I’m with or in front of a group of people sharing my thoughts, ideas and offering inspiration and encouragement, I feel more alive than any other time in my life. For 15 years, I was able to do that in an institutional and religious setting, and since we left that, I haven’t gotten to do it very much. I want to start doing it again, as often as possible in new places, with new people and with a new message. And I know that can’t happen until I fully step out of the shadows of my past and into the light of who I really am. I used to speak upwards of 10–15 times a week to various groups of people ranging in size from 5–5,000. While a lot of what I said was found to be helpful by many people, I am more passionate about my beliefs now than I ever was back then. Now, my beliefs are coming unfiltered directly from my heart. The day we sold our house in Texas and started our new season of life, over two years ago there was a sentence that rang in my heart as we sat in the living room of a very dear friend, “God's love for me must be proclaimed.” That can sound very religious and to be honest it was somewhat religiously driven at the time (there was still a lot of that in my heart then), but the essence of that phrase, “LOVE MUST BE PROCLAIMED” is what is driving me to move forward. Unconditional, radical, offensive, freeing, life-giving, undistilled 1000 proof, intoxicating Love and nothing more.

I’ve been “proclaiming it-ish” but its time to take the lid off.

I’m feeling a little self conscious about this now– like, “why do you have to make such a big deal about this?” “why the announcement of your intentions?” “Why the prologue?” “Why don’t you just start?”

Maybe this was more for me than it was for anyone else.

Probably so.

Regardless, you’ve been warned or notified or whatever. If you disagree or if I offend you, you can just stop reading or listening. Or you can keep on, that’s fine too. You are free to think what you think, and here is the catch, so am I.

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting a more blogs that share my stance on certain issues. Thanks for reading, listening and watching.

Jonathan Bowles

Black Sheep, Pirate, Pioneer, Pro-Encourager, Contrarian Gadfly, Risk Taker, Agitator, Leader, Father and Proclaimer of Love.

Drop Out

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