Ever have those days, weeks or even months when you feel like you’re up against it all? And through all the chaos, you wonder who you really are? You recognise yourself, but you feel unheard. You feel like you’re in a sea of challenges but drowning in what someone else wants you to be? That’s been my week.

Last week, at my own kinesiology balance, we were talking about a strategy I had used for years in the corporate world. I would be agreeable, put my head down, do my job and ignore the politics. To this point, it has served me well. But at some stage over the past few months, it stopped working for me. It became very evident that I needed to stand up and be myself. As my kinesiologist so beautifully put it: being someone else is exhausting; you’re already up against it and you’re spending unnecessary energy being someone you’re not.

Therefore my new goal was to do what I needed to do AND be myself. Say what I wanted to say. Voice the true me. Let her come out and sing to be embraced or… not. (And subsequently be ok if it wasn’t embraced, find comfort in knowing it was the real me.) So in typical Phillipa style, I braced myself and jumped in head first.

My first few interactions in various environments as the ‘true me’ went well. No ramifications of note, acceptance all ’round, not much different. I felt comfortable that perhaps I was already being myself, that perhaps it was just my perception that I was not being myself.

Then mercury went retrograde.

The proverbial hit the fan in every direction. There was no running for cover. I’d unleashed a beast and challenged the universe to send me the tests to prove I could be me. There was no time for escape and barely enough time to keep my head above water amongst the drama. Oh yes, it had begun.

We all have a ‘thing’ that we define ourselves by. You might consider yourself an artist of the culinary world using each ingredient to bond together to form an explosion of flavour to pass ones lips. Or, you might be an incredible painter and express yourself through the strokes of colour to make a timeless masterpiece.

I define myself by being ‘different’ and the way I express that is through my writing. Writing is my art, my therapy and my friend. I don’t care if you don’t like it and I certainly don’t care if you don’t read it. By ‘different’ I mean the kind of different where all my life I was adapting to each social situation in order to ‘fit in’. It wasn’t until I was 33 that I finally found two very special people (other than my husband, sister and mother) who truly and utterly ‘got’ me. Two people I could completely be myself around, say anything that was on my mind – unfiltered – and know they just ‘got’ it with no offence ever intended or taken.

These people understand me on a level that people like me never even think possible. Our views on the world, our vehement distaste for small talk, our trust in a universal energy and our feeling like we’ve landed on a foreign planet – we share in our difference to the rest of the world. And we like being different. We appreciate that our differences make us unique. (Some call it quirky, some call it being indigo children. But we can call it unique.)

So, my ‘test’ was whether or not I was going to stand up and fight to keep my uniqueness in tact. Was I strong enough to remain myself, fight to remain myself and face all the ugly stuff that comes with both remaining and fighting to be myself? If I am told what I’m doing is not working – when what I am doing is being myself, where does that leave me?

So I fought. Then I fell down and I got back up again. I re-braced myself and went in for round after round. All the while balancing myself to clear any negative patterns that emerged and checking in to ensure I was fighting for myself and not some fictional image I was concocting. Was it difficult? Yes. Was it challenging? Definitely. Was it worth it? HELL YES.

Although definitely not my favourite space to be in, I’ve never felt more confident being me than I do right now, amist all the crap and insults hurled my way. For the very first time, I feel true to myself, to my uniqueness, to my very purpose. I’m not here to be someone else and do things how someone else wants me to do them. I’m here to experience this life as ME. I’m here and I won’t drown in your expectations. And I won’t stop until you hear me. Haven’t I ever told you my childhood nickname was Tiger? Hear me bloody roar.