My whole life, I’ve put myself in boxes.

Some were a bit big. Some were totally the wrong shape. Some I had to squeeze myself into, sacrificing parts of myself to fit. And some I just had no business being in whatsoever.

A little more like this. A little less of that.

Can we chat about boxes for a second? Because 2020 has broken me, but I think it’s a good thing; because it shattered all the boxes along with it.

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OK, maybe the boxes are still there. But the thing is, I’m done fitting inside them.

This year has stripped us bare. And while it was confusing, and frustrating, and sometimes it still hurts like the first day, I’m starting to think it’s exactly what I needed.

One of the things hardship does is it refines us. All of that stuff we’ve spent decades caring about suddenly lost its importance. And I think for a while it left me grasping for straws, trying to make sense of what I had left and what I had built that actually mattered.

That’s a scary feeling; Looking at your life and wondering if you’ve wasted the majority of your effort on things that have no value.

Worrying that you might have spent a significant amount of time trying to fit yourself into imaginary boxes.

2020 leveled the playing field. Nowhere to go, no one to impress.

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And maybe it’s sad, but I think it took a hard stop like quarantine to make me realize that life is not about fitting into boxes, or measuring up, or impressing people, or keeping up with photos on social media.

That my value doesn’t come from being the “right kind of mom,” or from being “on trend,“ or from saying the things and making the choices that are the least offensive and the most socially acceptable.

My value is inherent in my creation. And so is yours.

Hear me when I say, there is no box, no club, no circle you could ever fit in that could make you more valuable than you are today. Period.

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And just so we’re clear, fitting yourself into a box or an ideal;

Molding yourself to the kind of woman you think you’re supposed to be;

Aligning your views with what the news tells you is acceptable;

Altering yourself or your appearance or your convictions to fit the mold will NEVER bring you peace.

When you fit yourself into something preconceived, you will always lose a part of your truth.

It’s not worth it. The chasing. The comparing. It’s exhausting and it will never fulfill you.

2020 has brought a lot of loss. And while some things I mourned over, one thing I was more than happy to toss on top of this dumpster fire of a year: my desire to fit in.

Originally published on Facebook

Kendra Barnes

Kendra is co-founder of Daylight to Dark, a lifestyle blog. She's a fun-loving wife and momma to a spirited, blue-eyed girl and a particularly jolly baby boy. She's an expert at holding down the fort, abandoning her coffee, and interjecting just the right amount of snark into any conversation. Through her love of writing, she aspires to share how she turns regular days into memories.