I’ve battled my whole life to become the strong person I am today. I've heard that what gets you through the first half of your life is completely different than what gets you through the second half of your life.
I know I'm not quite at the "second half" point yet, but I've been learning a lot about myself, and what I want for my life, over the last year or so. I'm doing a little reinventing early.
Who am I? My name is Julie Clyde and I’m a Creative Artist. My company, Julie Clyde Creative, leads the charge of brand design internationally for entrepreneurs and I also create unique artistic pieces. I’m a brand disruptor, public speaker, life motivator, artist, wife and mum. I’m a multi passionate entrepreneur and I see this variety as the zing for what drives me creativity.
I read this quote today from 'Present Over Perfect' and thought it tied together everything I've been learning:
"Some of being an adult, though, is about protecting and preserving what we discover to be the best parts of ourselves, and here’s a hint: they’re almost always the parts we’ve struggled against for years.
They make us weird or different, unusual but not in a good way. They’re our child-sides, our innate selves, not the most productive or competitive or logical, just true.
Just very simply who we are, regardless of how much quantitative value they add."
I feel like as we grow up and gain responsibilities and let the noise of the world, who try to tell us who we are supposed to be, we forget who we really are and who we were made to truly be. As I watch my kids learn who they are, I in turn relearn who I am; That in my quirks and strangeness to others, I hold true value and calling for someone else. By finally releasing the worlds’ grip on my self-worth I am learning about what makes me special and unique as a human being.
Growing up being the youngest of three, I got to see the world from two very different perspectives. From always trying to do the right thing, and watching my siblings doing the wrong thing.
Julie in Kindergarten, six months prior to finding out she was nearly blind in her left eye
I remember watching my siblings doing things and getting in trouble and thinking, I’m not going to do that, or working out a way to do it that wouldn’t land me in trouble. I remember sitting with my brother (trying to) and watching him draw and paint- his escape. He is an incredible artist- he doesn’t paint or draw anymore and I wish he still did. All I wanted to do in life was be like him, so he taught me to kick a footy, ride my bike, and I believe he showed me where the sewing box of mums fabric lived so I wouldn’t annoy him on a Sunday morning. He would skulk off to draw, and instead of follow him, I would empty that box out, cut up fabric and try to sew bits together for my teddies clothes or create fabric forts over the kitchen table. There were many mornings I’d get in a world of trouble, but on occasion I’d hear mum say to dad, ‘Don’t say anything to her, she’s just creative. She will clean it up, don’t get angry with her.’
At the age of 6, we learnt I was almost blind in my left eye and I was given a pair of Medicare, bottle thick glasses. I remember being able to suddenly see much more than before, but also remember hearing more comments being directed my way about the way I looked. Four eyes, speckie four eyes, nerd, stupid… to name a few. I cried so much those first few months until I met Gale. She was my age, and she too wore thick rimmed glasses. I remember envying hers because they were pink and mine were blue. I did feel a little less alien that day but I still remember that feeling of being different and longing to fit in like everyone else.
Julie (left) wearing her 'bottle thick' glasses, pictured with her sister.
As I grew up, the bullying continued over glasses, how I dressed, playing sport, not playing sport, being different to other kids, drawing, having to wear a patch to strengthen my eye (mum and dad let me do this at home each night thankfully) but the constant pestering did get to me. I had a love affair with cooking and food from a young age and would eat almost the same sized meal as my dad each night. I believe it was from all the energy I expended in a day, but there were always comments about what I ate, how much I ate. Even jokes about not talking about it because they’d ‘make me anorexic.’ When you grow up in an environment where you want to make everyone happy from your inner most self, and fit in with those around you, this potentially can create huge implications for that person.
I realized around grade 3 that If I was great at sports I was left alone. School Cross Country and Athletics were a natural ability I had, and I loved it, so I really started pushing myself hard to do well on those days. I started playing soccer and basketball with the boys at lunchtime and found my own place to fit in. My big sister was in the grade above me and she was a tom boy. She was often playing with the boys at lunch time as well, which gave me someone I loved to play with the added ‘safety’ of her protection. She didn’t take rubbish from anyone and had stood up for me countless times. I found as my body matured, it was very athletic, so I never grew any love of clothes shopping like my friends. I lived in my track pants and t-shirts which were not only comfortable but I could hide my ‘big thighs’ behind their bagginess. It wasn’t until adulthood I realized that those thighs that set me apart at school and made it unbearable to buy jeans that fit me, were in fact the reason behind much of my athletic successes over the years. Rowing regattas were one of the few places I felt I fit in, because we all looked physically similar and everyone had thighs like me.
Fast forward life through its twists and turns, hurdles and stop signs, negative and positive interactions and you reach adult Jules. Adult Jules is still struggling with body image, pleasing others, and wanting to fit in somewhere and somehow. Weathered and beaten down from years of verbal, physical, emotional abuse from friends, family and complete strangers. Compacted SO tightly back into her shell that any interaction outside of her children felt like a cage fight.
It was during a recent retreat on our adventures overseas that I had some major mind shifts. It was during some of our silent, almost meditative times I realized something… by being called all those names growing up, being abused, hurt and feeling all of those discomforts in life, it was preparing me for more. It was a hard journey that would ultimately bring me closer to finally knowing myself. Those meditative minutes, hours, days alone, listening to no one other than my inner voice, helped me to hear what I had been telling myself. My inner voice at times was more scathing than those around me had ever been until I told her I loved her anyway. That I was possible. I matter. I am worthy of her kindness. One day her voice began to alter, her words became kinder and her love showed me I was, in fact right. Believe me, having never been a crier in life, I was that day. Big, soul clearing sobs poured out of me and I couldn’t speak. It emotionally drained me to realize just how much I had been killing myself internally, and I had been the aggressor, victim and savior more so than anyone else in my life ever had been because I had allowed it to continue.
Julie, pictured with her husband, embracing her figure in a fitted dress as she was rediscovering herself.
Whilst I am still discovering myself and who I am in this world, I am taking life one day at a time and one challenge at a time. I now know the feeling of ‘manic’ means I’m off my path and taking on too much to compensate, or procrastinating in fear. When I stop, readjust my focus and head back towards my creating and designing, life feels right and I fall in love all over again with all I do.
While I am still repairing some relationships in my life, the best relationship repair has been with myself. My inner voice steps out with me now, hand in hand, echoing new positive stories and telling me to push forward when things are right and to adjust when they’re not. I am enough, I am powerful beyond measure and I am capable and worthy of my gifts…
And so are you.
Julie Clyde is a Creative Artist. Her company, Julie Clyde Creative, leads the charge of brand design internationally for entrepreneurs and creates unique artistic pieces. She is a brand disruptor, public speaker, brand motivator, artist, wife and mum. She's a passionate entrepreneur and sees this variety in her life as the zing for what drives her creativity. Julie's blog series 'Discovery of Self' explores how you can learn to love and accept who you are from the inside out.