Whoooo Really Knows Best?
In this iconic cartoon, a young owlet has to choose between following his passion for jazz, or pleasing his father by singing what his father insists is best. With Father’s Day coming up, it’s important for dads to remember to support their child’s autonomy, allow them to develop into the person they would like to become, and to refrain from exerting too much pressure to conform to cultural ideals of success or beauty. For those of us who are not fathers, the challenge is to remember that we are the experts on ourselves.
It always amazes me how often I have to remind myself that I am the expert on me. After all, who else knows me as long as I have? Why is it so difficult to trust myself? Why did I develop the habit of handing the reins over to others and allowing them to determine what is in my best interest? And why do owls say “who” and not “why”?
One answer emerges when I reminisce about choices I made that were not in my best interest. Whether it had to do with drastic weight loss attempts or other ways I coerced myself to ignore my inner owl, the driving force behind those poor choices was my attempt to live up to someone else’s standards — someone else’s idea of what I should look like or what I should be doing to fit in.
The more I strayed from my own sense of self and true identity, the less I trusted myself to know what was best for me. So I began to rebuild my trust in myself by remembering that each one of us is unique. And yes, while sometimes it is difficult to embrace the ways we are different from the “norm” (because that can be painful and lonely) it can also be liberating and delightful! Just check out all of the ways an owl’s idiosyncrasies make it beyond amazing!
And it doesn’t have to be lonely. Spoiler Alert! If you watch the entire version of the classic “Owl Jolson,” in the end his father, mother, and siblings all recognize that he is his own bird and they support his individual journey to find his own version of happiness and success.
So as we enter the month of June (aka Beach Body Boot Camp Month), the diet and fashion industries are counting on us to forget that we are the ONLY ones who have the right to define ourselves. They are hoping that we will stifle the jazz singer within us and believe that we have no choice other than to buy their products in order to conform. I say, who gives a hoot what they think? I, for one, am gonna sing-a about the moon-a and the June-a and the spring-a!
Til next time!