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It is easy to follow the norms and expectations of ‘who we are supposed to be.’ As children and sometimes even as adults, we are defined by the labels others give us; we are the studious one, the quiet one, the lazy one, the one good at math or bad at math and so forth. But in order to accomplish all that we hope to be, all that we are capable of being, we have to be willing to step out beyond the boundaries of who others tell us we are.

There are talents and strengths that each of has, that we have been waiting to share with the world ‘someday.’ However we are afraid of what someone else will say or of what they will think. We worry whether we will fit in, all the while yearning to stand out and demonstrate our hidden talents, abilities and perspectives. Sometimes we hold back because of the fear of what might be instead of seeing and experiencing the reality of what could be.

This week at the culmination of a week long drama camp, my son played the bearded lady. Playing someone that is an outsider can be humorous but for my son, while he enjoyed playing his role, he took the message seriously. His inspiration for the character was the song, “This is Me” from the movie Greatest Showman movie which was recently released on DVD.

Sometimes my son is much more astute than I am. I did not fully understand the significance of the role until he was practicing the lyrics of the song. Then, I finally began to understand.

One verse of the song states:

When the sharpest words want to cut me down

I gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out

I am brave, I am bruised

I am who I’m meant to be, this is me

Look out ’cause here I come

And I’m marching on to the beat I drum

I’m not scared to be seen

I make no apologies, this is me!

Now I know why he loves that song! My son has Down Syndrome and while he is truly amazing, that is not always seen by others. They see the quiet man he sometimes is, they see the shyness and anxiety that sometimes overtakes him and they fail to see the brave soul that is inside. He is a man full of many gifts and talents just waiting to be revealed.

He is who he is meant to be and I am so incredibly proud of him! Despite the obstacles and occasional mean person we have encountered, he chooses to be kind, loving, happy and proud of who he is! He chooses to use his talents to improve the world around him: at his job, in his community and with those he meets. He dares to stand out and let others see him for all that he is pink boa and all.

No wonder this song is his new anthem. Look out world because here he comes. He is only getting braver every day and will each day become even more of who he was meant to be!

I dare you to do the same!

Dare to Be Who You Were Meant To Be.