It’s time to get unmuted - Kathy Varol

It’s time to get unmuted

junk drawer

We’ve been taught from a young age to convey a muted version of who we are. We are careful to not be “too much”, “too different”, “too loud”. In every situation, we’re subconsciously calculating the role that’s expected.

If I wear this, they’ll think I’m smart during the interview.
If I share this story, they’ll think I’m cool.
If I act like this, I’ll fit in.

I’ve spent a lifetime contorting myself into boxes. Seeing what’s expected, and outlearning the role to perfection. I prided myself on being an expert chameleon. But the truth is, while I mastered fitting in, I never felt like I fit in.

Each box required me to exaggerate some pieces of myself and leave other pieces behind. I always felt like an imposter because I was being an imposter. I was constantly living in a distorted version of myself, and I was slowly disappearing. Drowning in an ocean of expectations.

I felt this constant tug, just below the surface, that I didn’t quite belong. That I was different. I started thinking of myself as a “junk drawer”. You know that drawer everyone has in their house. The drawer that you keep all the things that aren’t easily categorized. All the things that don’t quite fit anywhere else.

This made me feel less than.

But there’s something really interesting about the junk drawer.

Every item in the junk drawer is special. You can’t throw them out because they aren’t interchangeable. Each item has a unique function that’s irreplaceable.

One day this question popped in my head: what if my superpower is embracing everything in my junk drawer? What would happen if I let the fullest version of me out?

I started playing with this idea. Slowly unfolding from the boxes I had expertly contorted myself into. Playing with each bit and bob stowed away in my junk drawer. Leaning into my curiosity and passions. Leaving nothing behind. Nothing hidden.

As I unfolded, I started to learn that I’m not too much or not enough. I’m exactly right.

I started to learn that my superpower, the contribution only I can make, comes from the seemingly random pieces in my junk drawer. The pieces that no other person alive has the same combination of. It’s the seeming contradictions I contain that allow me to create what has never existed before.

It’s precisely because I don’t fit nicely into a box that I can dream up the unexpected.

My superpower lies in the shape that only I can fill, and so does yours.

What will you look like unmuted?

What form will the fullest version of you take?

The world is waiting for you to show up exactly how you are.

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