‘Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.’-Dr. Seuss.
2) People will judge you no matter what.
Everyone who knows me well has probably gotten the ol’ hint hint that I enjoy “sprucing myself’ up, unless I’m in one of those idgaf-haters-gonna-hate mood (recall B&N example in Nugget #1). But whether it’s for family gatherings, that Saturday night bar crawl, or snapping that selfie (jk…except not really), I bring out the knock-’em-off-your-socks ensemble, extract the hair curler from the depths of under the sink, and meticulously choose the proper makeup material. To simplify all that waffle, I go alllllll out. ‘K, maybe not allllll out, but I’d guesstimate a good 75%. What can I say? I’m comfortable about my self-expression when I show what I can, and there’s nothing wrong with that–and hey, if a guy happens to swivel his head my way…well, I hope he ain’t a creepo or jackass–I’ve dealt with too many of those recently.
This past Christmas I wore two different outfits. 1) A sleeveless, turtleneck dress/skirt/whatever-the-hell-it-was, AKA classy but not exactly conservative enough for your 25th December turkey dinner. 2) Faded jeans, black boots, and a fuzzy fuzzy fuzzalicious sweater.
Depending on who you’re with–fam, friends, strangers, that lone woman in an empty public restroom overdoing her lipstick because she’s too busy glaring at the coffee stain on your shirt–you will be judged by their standards. Everything about you. I always am when I dress up, such as this past Christmas, when I strolled into a basement full of aunts and uncles and cousins all in casual attire, nothing like my own, which garnered me that rapid up-and-down survey, eyebrows raised in an aloof scoff, and a stir of tension in the air wherever I walked, although I hand that last one to myself because I felt the weight of awkwardness.
But, as soon as I spied the threads loosening on my turtleneck, a complication I’m assuming from when my friend wore it last…for real, it wasn’t me, and as soon as I ran home and swapped the skirt-dress-thingamajig for a more nonchalant apparel and ran right back, I could notice an ease in the atmosphere.
Moral of story #2: people will judge you whether you’re wearing jeans or a dress. They will judge you on how you pronounce y’all; on that stooped-shoulder slump of yours; the lower-paying job you possess as a Kroger cashier, even when you earned your degree in double Chemistry; your 24/7, high-top bun you only ever take down when you shower, and maybe not even then; your laid-back or loud personality; how your nose crinkling cutely clashes with your caw caw cackle of a laugh; your high heels clicking away in a B&N cafe; whether you listen to oldies or pop; if you happen to be pro-life or pro-choice; that you prefer saving money by staying in on a Friday watching Chopped rather than going to the bars; that you wanted to be a math teacher when you grew up, but it doesn’t seem a good enough job for you by your friends or family. Your job. Your job job job. Your job. Values. Looks. Religion. Physique. Attitude. Personality. Lifestyles. Choices. Everything.
The other night I performed an activity from a book I recently read. I laid, motionless, on my back, and focused on isolating every part of my body at a time, from my toes to my legs, from my legs to my stomach, from my stomach to my arms, from my arms to my face, and all in between. Nails. Ears. Lungs. Hips. Ankle. Chest. At one point, when reflecting on the arch of my calf muscle, I remembered how, during one particular Shakespeare class in my senior year of college, a boy who I thought attractive had commented that he ‘liked’ my flip-flops, so in other words he found my legs appealing.
Minutes later, upon mulling over my facial features, I realized, despite it being slightly large, bumped, and freckled, I prized my nose for those very reasons, but I didn’t when I considered other people wouldn’t prize it…for those very reasons.
Next, I pondered about my clothes, how they weighed on me, if I believed they appropriately represented me…and yet, my musings kept returning to whether others would view them positively–if they would agree with my mix-matched shirt and sweater, if my golden chain necklace conflicted with my cocktail ring.
…You know where I’m going with this ramble. I was perceiving myself too much by the romanticized perceptions of a hypothetical audience, twisting my own self-acceptance to the judgment of others.
Well…that’s boring. Be who you want to be! Don’t be ashamed to be a math teacher, to uphold either pro-life or pro-choice values, to wear those high heels in a B&N cafe, to stay in on a Friday night instead of socializing downtown, to listen to oldies or pop, to be you. People will judge you no matter what. You aren’t defined by what they think, their standards, many of which they’ve adapted to, and they merely don’t want the dynamic of their perception of you to chance, because it’s not something they can control.
Don’t be ashamed, afraid, or not accepting of yourself. You have a body, a voice, dreams, desires, hobbies, values, lifestyles, looks, choices, and they’re all your own–that’s the best thing about it!
And, if there’s an aspect of you you’re not too impressed with…Check out Nugget #3 🙂