You Are Not a Sunflower | Identity Struggles in the Modern World

Some days I feel like a sunflower in a field of daisies.

I’ve never been the normal kid. In fact, I don’t know if that word has ever been used to describe me. The kindest way to put it would be “alternative.” I couldn’t help but be the art kid who wore clothes and listened to music that weren’t considered all that normal either (at least compared to all the other kids in my grade).

It’s not like I was trying to be different. I was just trying to to do/think/be/act in the way the felt right. A sweet and now departed friend once consoled my mother by saying, “Maybe she just marches to the beat of a different drum.” She needed to hear it that day, but so did I. I needed to hear that it’s ok to be a little… different. Growing up taught me to be like everyone else, because it’s safer. It raises less questions. It brings less of the bad attention. But it started growing the nastiest identity struggle.

When I started a business, all of those things seemed to come to a head. Even on my various social media platforms, I feel that I’m constantly confronted with an identity collision. My audience seems to mold my personality in that moment:

 

Snapchat = Goofy
Twitter = Concise
Instagram = Contemplative
Blog = Business minded with a dash of contemplation
Facebook = Business minded

To say I’m one of these things or some of things wouldn’t be true. In truth, I am all of them. I’m a person who is silly in the downtime and tries to find the most efficient route to share glimpses of my heart and chunks of my business with you. All while trying to be Emma when all of the screens turn off. Whoever she is. ;)

With every post it feels like I’m trying to conform to the mysterious standards of social media, trying to be a little bit like everyone else (because that’s acceptable), but to also be a little bit me (because that’s not negotiable). But being me? That’s feels really risky sometimes. Each audience on each platform I mentioned above, they get accustomed to a certain taste of Emma, and I hate serving things people don’t want or like:

“I’ll take an iced Emma with a bit of silly (hold the weird) blended”
“Can I have an Emma straight up… no room for funny”
“Emma breve please, heavy on the words, light on the selfies”“Give me the biggest cup of Emma you have, but take out her face, don’t let her talk, and actually, you know what, I’ll just have coffee.”

You guys. I have an itty bitty platform compared to the hordes others have. But I feel these things so frequently when I post, even though my influence is so small! They’re not always yelling these orders to me from the proverbial register, but they’re certainly whispering from the couches in the back.

Evil voices are telling me these things, repeating the message, “Why don’t just go and be a daisy already? Be your own daisy, but still... just be a daisy. Ok? We would all like you a lot better that way.”

That’s the big deception though. The deception that I’m actually a sunflower. You see, the more I get to know the daisies around me, I realize I’m no ugly sunflower at all. In fact, I’ve been a daisy all along. A beautiful daisy, just like all the other beautiful daisies. Those daisies are my friends, my colleagues, other creatives, strangers! They’re people I’ve never met and likely never will. We all have the same field to grow in, we just have to lift up our sad little petals and open them to the sun.

I know I’m not alone in this, that I'm not the only one who has felt like a struggling sunflower trying to fit it. So I've prepared some spiritual weed-killer for you!

How to combat Sunflower in a Daisy Field Syndrome which is also known as “I’ll never be enough because I’ll always be a Sunflower.”

1.     Find your identity. Your identity is not in what kind of flower you are. It’s not in how many followers you have, how many followers you lose, what your logo looks like, if you have a logo, if you’re booking, if you’re not booking, if you’re just as good as the other guy, if you’re married, divorced, pregnant with your fourth, or miscarrying for the third time. Your identity is not in your job title, marital status, household income, church attendance, or the fact that you wore leggings as pants in public yesterday just because you were trying to be rebellious. Those things fade, those things change. Those things explain a little about who you are maybe, but they are not who you are. Your identity, forever and always, is in Jesus. Who are you in Jesus?

2.     Take joy in differences. The truth is, you can’t always blend in. We’re going to grow at different rates. We’re going to look different, work differently, share differently. Some of us will have more petals, or broken petals, or will be a little bit worn down by the wind. But at the end of the day, we are all still just daisies sharing the common struggle of trying to remember who first loved us and knowing that is all that matters. And if that’s true (and it is), what do we have to fear in posting? Sure, some things get more attention and action than others, but really, fearlessly posting means not making what others like your top priority. You’re not going to be that other guy no matter how hard you try. Take joy in the ways that you’re not and move forward!

3.     Embrace your fellow daisies. When the growing gets tough (see what I did there?), look to your fellow daisies and ask how they’re doing. Don’t be surprised when they share the same nasty feelings of self doubt and identity struggle. Give them the biggest hug ever and cry on each others’ shoulders. Grab that coffeeand a big ole cupcake and pour grace into one another. Pray through the pain and remind them of who Jesus says they are. Remind them that the comments (or lack there of) on that picture they poured their heart and soul into have no bearing on their eternity. And if that’s the case, what do we have to be anxious about? Just knowing you’re not alone is way more helpful than pretending you’re the only flower trying to grow.

Knowing my identity and finding others with whom I could bear my burdens has changed my life, and I suppose it’s time I share some of those sentiments with you, my friends! Hopefully this helps you as you are learning and growing as a creative, parent, executive, or student. As always, feel free to ask any and all questions in the comments or through my e-mail. I’m always happy to help!

Otherwise, happy Tuesday, friends!



 

 

 

 

Emma Wheatley

TOPEKA, KS, 66606