• Kara Kihm

Permission to be ME! Permission to be YOU!

Updated: Jun 21, 2018

The purpose of existence is to discover truth and beauty and share it with others.

~Meditations for women who do too much

One of my dearest friends who always supports me asked the other day....."Kara, can I share some feedback about your blog?" "Of course!" I responded knowing that anything she would share would come from a place of love. "Well there are grammatical and punctuation errors all over it and you don't want people to think you are lazy or uneducated." I immediately had a flashback to elementary school when I raised my hand to read out loud. As I came to the word Canine, I was lost. My face turned bright red, as I attempted to sound out this word. What was this word and how in the world did I pronounce it? In an effort to help, my classmate eloquently spat out....C A N I N E saying the word with perfect pronunciation. I would never forget this moment and from that moment on I vowed to never read out loud again. This moment had solidified that I was dumb. Teachers would always report to my parents. "Your daughter is as good as gold. She's so easy to have in class, but she never talks." It had become easier to be shy, than dumb.

Throughout the rest of my school career, this story became engrained further as I deeply struggled in english class. As hard as I worked and as an overachiever I poured my heart and soul into my assignments, I could never earn above a C on a paper. Why couldn't I retain this information? What was wrong with my brain? Why didn't it work the way that other brains do? Attending an elite private school for high school where intelligence was highly valued I became severely depressed. Every night I went to bed with a pit in my stomach. Tomorrow would just confirm once again that I was dumb and couldn't learn the way that other children do. As a perfectionist I decided that since I couldn't be the smart one, I could be the skinny one. I could be the one who always "looked perfect" and this sparked a many year quest to always appear as perfect physically. Sometimes I still manage to pull that one off. Someone remarked during my daughter's first year of life that on facebook, I make parenting look easy. Nothing could have been further from the truth as I deeply struggled with postpartum depression. BUT because I managed to snap a few shots of my daughter on the beach laughing in a seersucker dress, my life looked pretty good to an outside observer.

My brother was highly intelligent and always earning academic awards. Why couldn't I be like him? Embarrasingly enough, he was advanced in school and I was delayed, which meant that we ended up in the same classes despite the fact that he was two grades below me. Sitting around our kitchen table after school I would shyly ask for help with number four on the homework assignment that he was blitzing through. I sat at the table sweating, anxious, and wanting to cry. Why didn't I understand my assignment? I would look at my cat perched on the couch sprawled out comfortably with jealously. Why can't I just be a cat? My life would be so much better if I were a cat.

In college my overachiever mentaility consumed me. I busted my tail and with the help of tutoring, extra credit, meeting with my professors after class, and sheer hard work, I was determined not to be the dumb one and graduated with straight A's making my dream of going to grad school possible. Once I discovered what I loved doing it was easy to work hard for it, but I still needed editing help from my father on every paper. I was relieved when in grad school many of the teachers graded on content, not on grammar.

When I applied for a job at Mission Hospital, my worst nightmare had come true. There was no spellcheck on the computers. Writing reports took an eternity as I had to look up and confirm that each word was spelled correctly. What type of professional can't spell or write??? As I tried to sound out the word Immerse, I couldn't even get the first letter correct. Hmmmmm, it's got to start with an E, I thought to myself as I searched the web unable to find the word I was looking for. After about 20 minutes of searching I decided to try looking under I. How in th world can I sound out a word when I can't even get the first letter I thought to myself??!!!! Now here I was as an adult and after all the hard work I had done, I was still dumb.

Driving cross country to Alaska alone in search of healing during my divorce, my friend decided to start a blog for me. "Kara you have to write about all of your discoveries on the road," she noted. "You are taking the adventure of a lifetime and we'll all want to know about it back home." "Hmmmmmm, I HATE writing!!!" I responded. But, perhaps I could post a few pictures along the way.

As I traveled and as I took time to journal and write for myself, my soul became ignited with passion. WOW, I had never felt so deeply alive in my life. How was it possible that I loved writing. English class had always been a torturous time and I wanted to cry before every class, yet here I was more fulfilled than I'd ever been when I sat down to write. While I didn't have a large following, I did have a loyal following and people commented over and over again, "You have to write a book!" "A book????" I don't even have basic english skills, how can I write a book?" While my ego hated the idea and flashed back to all of the dreaded years in school, my soul knew that writing had given my life new meaning and purpose.

SO can I be a writer when I don't know how to write? Why not?! Perhaps I can just be me and be impertfectly perfectly ME in the process. Perhaps I can give other people permission to be themselves and do what they love, even if it doen't always look "professional or pretty." I do know that I'm definitely not lazy and I'm definitely not uneducated so while I may come across that way perhaps this is my lesson in owning what I have to share even if people misunderstand me. While I'm not a traditional writer, as the quote above says.....

I have discovered truth and beauty and I feel called to share it with others.

If I can write a book, I truly believe that ANYBODY is capable of ANYTHING! The little girl who dreaded english class and cried everyday is writing a book!

As Elenor Roosevelt says........

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

And in the process you have permission to be YOU even if it looks messy!









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