“You’re Alyssa LaCourse?” she said to me. “I have heard your name and never knew who you were. I was expecting someone different.”
“I’m Alyssa,” I replied with an awkward laugh.
It certainly was not the first thing I wanted to hear when meeting someone new. I am not who she was expecting? Who was she expecting? Someone shorter? Someone smarter? Someone else?
“You’re Ben’s sister right? Do you play soccer?” said almost everyone I met my freshman year at Oral Roberts University.
“Yes, I am, and no, I do not,” I always replied.
This assumption used to get on my nerves. I was so excited for college to meet new people and “re-create” myself, but they usually put me in a label not my own, and I had to stay true to who I was. I did not want to be Ben’s sister, but Alyssa. This was so frustrating to me because I had always been Ben’s sister and always would be, but I had to quickly learn being Ben’s sister was actually a good thing. He created this path for people to know who I was. He allowed me to come into college with a group of people looking out for me and surrounding me with love and encouragement; however, these people still did not really know who I was considering they expected me to be a soccer player.
I read recently that there is a difference between being seen and being known. Well in my case, being heard of and being known. Being seen or being heard of simply means you exist. However, being known means someone has spent the time to learn the little details of you that set you apart from the crowd, the little details that make you, you.
Being known is my best friend looking at me and knowing there is something wrong. Being known is my brothers answering for me when my mom asks what I want for dinner. Being known is often being predictable to those closest to us.
So many times we try to live up to other’s expectations of us when in reality they are not expecting us to be us. Unfortunately, we will constantly let people down if we are unaware of who we are. We have to have a firm grasp on our identity in order to live up to anyone’s expectations, especially our own.
Growing up I was told I could be anything I wanted to be; however, that is not true. I cannot be an astronaut because I am severely claustrophobic and get motion sick. I cannot be a gymnast because I am not even remotely flexible and trip over my own feet all the time. I cannot be a soccer player, like my brothers, because I do not have the endurance, skill, or commitment to the sport. The truth is I can only be what I am capable of.
I am okay with not being an astronaut, gymnast, or soccer player. Those are not my dreams. I have been given gifts and abilities that are unique to me. No one else has my drive, passion and thirst for my dreams. I am not done growing up, but I do know what I want to be. I want to be unapologetically me.