A recent conversation with a Twitter follower has got me to thinking (yep, again!). She shared a preconceived idea of what/who I was. Don’t get me wrong – she wasn’t mean (at all) but her opinion of me was based purely on appearance and first impressions, because after all, that’s all anyone really has to go on – at least initially anyway!
Some people admit how nervous they are when they first meet me. They worry about what I’ll think of their clothing choices! I want to assure them of the opposite – I fear they will judge ME! That they will say to themselves “OMG! Look at what she’s wearing, and SHE’S A STYLIST!”
We all fear being judged harshly or incorrectly. We all fear rejection. We all crave love and acceptance. Don’t we? Well, at the risk of all the above, do you wanna know just how imperfect I am? Go on, admit it! You know you do!
Being brave, I’m going to share some personal truths here. Not so you will pity me, but so that you may simply get to know the person behind the image. So I can keep it real. You can all see how I look on the outside but do you really know me on the inside? What really makes me tick or why I choose to look the way I do? Why I choose to make the extra effort to look my best every day? Well, it’s because I can’t control what’s going on internally (to a degree) but I CAN control how I look (to a degree) and/or how I am perceived. But most importantly, I can control how I make OTHERS FEEL in my presence, and no one will ever take that power away from me!
Peel back the layers of an onion and you invariably shed tears. Peel back the layers of the people you meet and there’s a good chance you will also find yourself shedding a few tears. It’s not easy to be open with strangers about a lot of our personal stuff. Believe me, it’s not easy to do with my readers or audiences either; but here goes. Oh, and please don’t judge me!
What you see on Twitter actually IS what you get from me in real-life
Never was image more at play than in Social Networking. We all choose a public persona. Take profile pics & status updates for example. I choose a profile pic on Twitter that is a) happy b) consistent c) accurate d) reflects my professional image. I try to be positive in my status updates/comments and if I’m feeling flat/negative I try to not let my public image reflect that. Over time, it’s impossible to not meet followers or get to know them better and to make or share more personal comments but I do always pay followers the same courtesies I would to anyone I meet in real life. I am accepting and encouraging of others because that’s how I want to be treated. I always reply when spoken to. I am not exclusive or cliquey. I am not elitist. I always say thanks. I do, however, curb my swearing more than I would in person with friends. I do admit that, and it’s not always easy to do! But it’s because of the professional image I must maintain – and I do teach people how to appear stylish you know! Note/Truth: Big Al certainly can/does have a good potty mouth. She just knows how to pick her audience & when it’s appropriate to share that side of her personality!
Sometimes what you see isn’t always what you get.
Have you ever smiled even when you SO DON’T feel like smiling? Have you noticed how it can actually lift your mood a little? Have you ever judged someone as being rude, cranky or aloof based on their refusal to smile/make eye-contact with you? Then you’ve cracked through the tough exterior to find out they really are very soft after all? Or vice versa? You’ll know what I mean then!
People judge me on my appearance all the time – thinking that because I always make an effort to look my best (to look happy even if I’m not feeling it inside) that I am either vain, trying to be perfect, or obsessed with appearances. Please believe me, my motivation very, very different. What I do for living of course dictates a certain amount of walking the walk and talking the talk, but I have many personal reasons for looking the way I do – and also for doing what I do for a living!
I am far from perfect. I certainly feel far from perfect. I do put in a lot of effort to look good, but mainly in order to make myself FEEL BETTER. Ask anyone who really knows me. If I see an image looking back at me that says “you’re doing ok” I can convince myself that I’m not really as crook as I feel! Trust me, if how I looked reflected how I felt I’d never get out of bed in the morning! In my case, to share a truly accurate image of how I actually feel would not be good for my health at all! It would certainly not be pretty either!
Oh well, here goes. THIS is the REALITY behind what you see. Please don’t judge me:
I am way too sensitive. I’m way too emotional. I talk too much. I’m short. Way too skinny (and NO, it’s not all my choice). I have deep-set, dark-circled eyes and a European nose (no barbie-doll here!). The boobs I once had decided long-ago that they’d rather head south for the winter and now resemble ski-jumps all year round. I have no arse (literally). My quads look more like arms. I’m crooked with a twisted spine and one very short leg. I have almost no digestive tract left and what does remain rarely works. I have no reproductive organs; Numb hands and feet (both resembling those of a chicken). I have a nervous system that fails me with monotonous regularity; An arm that after a hospital stay over a year ago, still refuses to work; and vision that seems hell-bent on following suit. I spend every morning (often from 3am) on the loo (too much info? Sorry!). I spend much of the DAY on the loo, in fact. I’m sick more times than you’ve probably had baked dinners. Oh. Did I mention I have no arse? And that I’m anal. I am a perfectionist. Shall I go on? I didn’t think so. My point is this. NONE of us are perfect! NONE of us have it all despite outward appearances or first impressions! Some may appear to have perfect children, perfect husbands, perfect houses – perfect lives. But there’s usually always some area of their life that is far from perfect and it’s perfectly fine to ‘fess up! What we all need to do is to cut the bull and give ourselves some slack. To love what we DO have, and to support the other imperfect people in our lives!
I DO have a big heart and I love to use it. I DO love to take care of others. I DO love to help others feel good and I DO try to touch someone in a positive way every day. If I don’t I feel I have failed. Oh. And then I cry. A lot! But that’s OK too! I’ll share with you some more of what I DO like about myself in my next blog – and sharing the GOOD stuff will probably be even harder than sharing the BAD! Why are we women wired that way?…
WHY are we so damn hard on ourselves?
Why do we spend so much of our time and energy berating ourselves – or worse, in an attempt to make our lives seem more “perfect” berating or judging others?
Why do we feel so guilty if we’re not able to be super-women at every stage of our far-from perfect lives?
Why do we feel it’s OK to walk up to a slim person and comment on their weight (or lack thereof?). Why is it OK to say to a slim person “you need a good feed” yet we wouldn’t dare (I hope) walk up to a fat person in a restaurant and say “Do you really think you should be eating that?”. Why?
Why do we push ourselves (and often our children) so hard?
Why do we put ourselves down when we look in a mirror. Or when someone pays us a compliment?
Why do we tell ourselves we’re just trying to be our best, but berate ourselves when we feel we’ve fallen short?
Why do so many of us try to present a public facade of perfection, telling the world (be it on Facebook, Twitter, to the tuck-shop/school-yard or P&C mums; to the Champagne mafia-type circles we may sometime move in) that we live a truly perfect life with perfect husbands, children, family & homes?
Why do we try so hard to fit in with what we perceive to be the cool-group. At school AND in our adult lives?
Why do we name-drop?
Why do we let our career define the person we are? What about when job is gone? Are we any less of the person we were?
Let me know what you think. Come on – I’ve shared with you. Now it’s your turn!