Becoming My Best Self

becoming my best self

[Guest post by Catherine Hawkins. I just met Catherine, and I am already glad we met. After submitting her first piece, I read it and thought how much I still feel this way. Maybe you or I will never quite feel like a grown up, but that’s okay too. Enjoy her piece!]

When I was little, I pictured my future self as a fully functioning adult.

I thought there would be one defining moment when I would suddenly say, Yes, I have become a woman, and the road after that would be solid and straight–no more of this winding uncertainty that seemed to be the mark of growing up.

I sometimes call myself a “recent college graduate,” although that seems misleading now that it’s been almost two years.

I still wrestle with what it means to be a “grownup.”

Does it mean moving out of your parents’ house?

Having a full-time job with benefits?

Owning a car, being married, having babies, having a mortgage?

If those are the marks of adulthood, I am failing miserably.

In one of many conversations with my father about this nagging fear that I wasn’t “measuring up,” my father said:

“That’s the big secret, Catherine. No one feels like an adult.”

It was strange to hear him, the man who raised me, say that he still does not feel like a grownup. If this 6’2″, bearded, hard-working man doesn’t feel like an adult, there is no hope for this girl.

I have always been a passionate person, so I was shocked at the heaviness graduation presented.

I loved so many things, yet I felt paralyzed.

I couldn’t commit and I couldn’t decide, and all these dreams that had seemed so beautiful – so attainable –now seemed far from possible. I felt my passion seeping away, and the fear that I have always tried to suppress came roaring out of me, immobilizing me with its strength.

For a year, I juggled part-time jobs, searched the internet for The Perfect Job, and struggled to name the growing anxiety I felt. Trusting God is difficult, and it gets even harder when you can’t envision the next week, let alone the next year.

In late August, I was thrown into a job that I never dreamed I would have.

A friend from college recommended me to a Latin teaching job at a Christian school. I think my response was:

“Oh my gosh, are you serious?”

She was serious and I was intrigued, and I knew as soon as I walked in for the interview that this was where I was supposed to be.

Since then, I have been stretched and challenged, and every day I wake up and think:

“Wow, so I do it again? I go to the same place again? I teach Latin again?”

This will be a lifelong struggle, I think, becoming okay with repetition, with rhythms.

It seems God doesn’t wait for us to grow up. He pushes us along and says,

“Trust me.”

The other day, I watched the kids gather their backpacks and head for home.

The hall was full, the kids were happy, and I watched, smiling. One of my sixth grade girls saw me through the window. Her eyes lit up, and she waved excitedly.

“Hi, Miss Hawkins!” she said.

I waved back. And then I thought,

“Oh my gosh, I have become Miss Hawkins.”

I am becoming my best self.

I thought I would be so different by this point, that I would have everything figured out. I thought I would have settled down into a calmer, more thoughtful, more loving me.

It should be noted that the very same evening after I was joyously called “Miss Hawkins” and admired for my “pretty outfits,” I got in a fight with my sister over the silliest thing. My life is a constant foil of itself.

Becoming Miss Hawkins has taken less time than I thought.

At the same time, the result is very different, too. I am still, in a lot of ways, the same girl I was when I was seven, planning Laura Ingalls Wilder Club meetings, writing stories, and wishing someday to be a beautiful, smart, kind writer-woman who surrounds herself with lovely people and good books.

I have ninety-nine children who call me Miss Hawkins. Ninety-nine people who will always think of me as their Latin teacher, their Magistra, the one who sang all the time and laughed too much at Latin jokes.

I have officially become Miss Hawkins.

catherine hawkinsCatherine Hawkins is a lover of words, music, coffee, and sunlight. She recently found herself teaching Latin, and she hopes to keep doing so for a good long time. She writes about these and other things at

[Picture: Danikapierce, Creative Commons]



  • Katie Axelson

    I think we graduated at the same time and of those “grown up” things you listed, I’ve only done one. I don’t live with my parents but have a collect of part-time jobs (I prefer the term “freelance”). My degree’s in English and some of the best job suggestions I’ve had are: music critic, army, saleswoman.

    • Catherine Hawkins

      Yes! Freelance is a great term! The English Major Soldier – it might work. I think there’s a pretty good number of us, and even if not all the particulars are exactly the same, maybe the surprise at having grown up is still there. Good luck with your freelancing!