Too Much

too much, katie able
When a five-year old girl enthusiastically prances out of her bedroom wearing a colorful ensemble made up of bright yellow rain boots, lime green shorts over purple polka dot leggings, and a Christmas sweater her parents smile and say, “Isn’t that cute, she’s expressing her individuality and style!”

If I walked into work wearing blue cowboy boots, a canary yellow dress, and hot pink lipstick, I wouldn’t be applauded for being an individual. My boss would give one look at me and exclaim, “Wow, that outfit is too much!”.

What happens between the ages of five and thirty?

Growing up, our parents and teachers told us time and time again to, “Be true to you!” We are taught to believe that each of us represents a different color crayon in the coloring box that is life. Whenever we were scared to try something new we were encouraged to “Just be yourself!”  The fastest way to success was following your own path. We are accepting each other differences. In fact that little girl in the bright outfit may have been the most popular girl on the playground.

This optimistic perspective that we are all free to be individuals dates back to the 18th century – freedom to live our lives how we want is the basic mantra of being an American. But how “free” does society really let us be?

As we get older we stop accepting people more and more As soon as we enter middle school we want to be one of the same. We want to wear the same sweater, have the same hair, and talk the same way as our friends.

This desire to conform always grows as we graduate high school and college. In my twenties I desperately wanted to be like my  female co workers, simply because I wanted them to accept me as one of their own. I was constantly comparing myself – trying to mold my own style and personality to be just like theirs. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, they were doing the same, comparing themselves to someone else and trying to mimic their lifestyle.

Instead of celebrating our individuality we were trying to fit ourselves into boxes. Society would rather affix us with labels as opposed to unique personalities. We are not encouraged to follow our own heart. Our consumerism obsessed world does not leave room for individuals who express themselves differently than how the media tells us to live.

Between the ages of 16 – 28 I reinvented myself too many times to count, struggling to find success and happiness. Who did I want to be, the Funny and Laid Back Girl or the Boho Chic Witty Girl? or the Glam Party Girl or the Preppy Snobby girl? Media reinforced this idea day in and day out. Who are we, a Samantha, Carrie, Miranda, or Charlotte? Which box did I want to check? Which girl would make me the most popular? Which one would make me the better employee? Which one would score me the best guy?

Whenever someone steps out of these society defined boxes they are met with aversion and criticism, especially women. When a woman speaks out for her beliefs with determination and emotion she is called “too emotional”. When a female lawyer cries or breaks down while working on case that is close to her heart she is called “too sensitive”. When a woman is aggressive and loud and says what is on her mind she is called “too brash”.

These women who are stepping out of their boxes are simply labeled as “too much”. They need to tone down their personalities so that they belong. I beg to question, can a person really be too much?

I now choose to be too much. After years of struggling to find a box to fit into, I choose to ignore the set perimeters and let myself overflow.

I’m emotional, I’m sensitive, I’m dramatic, I over think things. Some people have labeled these qualities as faults. I choose to look at them as strengths. These same traits are the ones that make me deeply passionate, spirited, loyal, adventurous, intuitive, and insightful.

I want to be too much. I want to fill my life with too much happiness, too much success, too much love, too much adventure. As corny as it sounds, I want to commit to my personality and share it with the world. And if that’s “too much” for someone to handle, maybe they have something they need to work on themselves, like putting an end to extinguishing their own “too much” traits. 

By not allowing myself to be “too much” I’m betraying my own desires and wants. I’m extinguishing any hopes at my most successful and happy life before I even have a chance. 

What would happen if we all went back to the grade school mindset that we are all unique crayons in a crayon box. We are all different colors, some are new and pointy, others have been used so hard there’s just a little stub left. Some of us are different and exotic while others are recognizable and safe. But we all can live together in the same box and can be used for a common good – to create a beautiful picture. 

How do you want to be “too much”?

xoxo Katie

  • I love this so very much. You are inspiring! I read a quote a few weeks ago that said, “You are always enough, you are never too much.” I’m breaking out the hot pink lipstick today, you’ve inspired me! xo

    • kwalshmac

      Thank you! And I LOVE that quote. I may have to design a print of that and hang it in my bedroom. Hot pink lipstick everyday!!!

  • I love this post sooo absolutely true!

    • kwalshmac

      Thank you! Being true to you is thrown in our faces all the time, but who actually believes it and follows through?

  • Pat (Mom)

    I find that it’s easy to be “too much” after the age of 50, and I enjoy that freedom!

  • This is so true, and I love it! We all owe it to ourselves to be a little more like our 5-year-old selves, before we worried about body image, peer pressure and wanted to fit in.

    • kwalshmac

      Glad you agree! I guess that’s part of innocence, being so care free, but I don’t see how not worrying about others opinions and doing your own thing should be only connected to childhood. I’m not a niche, I’m a human!!!

  • I just now came across your blog (where have you been all my life?!?!) and talk about the perfect post for me to read this week! I was just telling my friend the other day, “You never hear a 6 year old say ‘I turned 6 today, ugh. I’m so old.’ – it’s more like ‘I TURNED 6 TODAY!!!!! IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!'” – Why as you get older are you expected to downplay your bday (among many other things you’ve mentioned in this post)?! Thank you for this reminder to LIVE life 🙂 XO!

    • kwalshmac

      Oh girl this comment makes me smile SO BIG!

      It’s so sad how we lose the freedom to simply be our true selves. I wish I could get out on a dance floor and dance my heart out like a 6 year old! (sans alcohol haha!)

      I just made my way over to your blog and love it! Hello, new blog girl crush!

  • “We can all be used to create a beautiful picture”. I love that! You hit the nail on the head on my thoughts on diversity. Life would be boring if we didn’t express who we are and how we’re different. Let your “too much” shine girl!

    • kwalshmac

      Thank you!! Sometimes I think my fear of not pleasing EVERYONE gets in the way. But MY “too much” may be the perfect balance to another’s. You never know until you put it out there. Let’s color this world beautifully!

  • Found you through Casey’s link up…so glad I did. I love this post and embrace the idea of too much! I want my three daughters to read this. Thank you for sharing this with all of us!

    • kwalshmac

      Hi Anne! Thanks for popping over! I’m glad you found it relatable. The idea of everyone trusting to let their “too much” shine through makes my heart sing.

  • I’ve rarely tried to fit in with the crowd due to lack of desire on my part and them not accepting me for one reason or another on theirs. I found like minded people who were all too much and we love each other to the moon and back again.

    How am I too much? I’m opinionated and a enough of a perfectionist to be annoying. I’m stronger than I need to be, like color a little too much, and laugh too loudly. I’m a little over the top, loving of live, and enthusiastic for a lot of people. Pretty much like when I was 6 🙂

    But I’ve almost always thought, “What the hell do they know? I’m generally happy.”

    I’m lucky that for the most part, my office doesn’t care what I wear as long as it’s not jeans or Crocs and I’m known for some of the more “daring” outfits and I’m almost certain that it makes others smile and be a little more daring themselves.

    • kwalshmac

      Yes!! So when can I come over and hang out? A night with your enthusiasm and positive personality is what I need in my life right now! I’m glad you’ve found your happy spot in life!

      • Any time you find yourself in the Capital District of NY! (Upstate)

  • Wow! This is my first time stopping by your blog and I couldn’t possibly love this post any more than I do. I’ve had this topic on my mind a lot lately but haven’t found the right words to say on it. You did just that and this is perfect.

    • kwalshmac

      Thank you, Amanda! I’m glad that you could relate and found it helpful. I learned so much about myself just through writing this post. There’s only one of us out there, let’s be the best we can be. It always sounds corny, but it’s so true!