How Do You Like Me So Far?

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Bonnie writesDon’t answer that.

For some reason it is painfully important what people think of me. Not only is it important to me but I worry about it. I don’t know why that is, but it is. It always has been. I’m approaching 50 years old and still I worry about what others think of me. When I was young and tried to imagine 50 year-old me, I saw this very confident, savvy, successful grown up person who looked a little like me only more mature and waaaay more sure of herself. Oh, and she had beautiful clothes and drove an immaculate shiny expensive car. I never stopped to imagine how she acquired all the nice clothes and the fancy car which could be the reason behind why they haven’t actually materialized. Boy, did I miss the target. I’m none of those things. Not even the grown up part.

Why do I care so much about what people think of me? I don’t know, but I’ve been giving it some thought lately and after going back, way back, into my rusty memory bank I realize, sadly, that I’ve always been this way. At least, I know for sure I was like this as far back as 5 years old. Maybe, just maybe, I had been a confident self assured 4 year-old, but if so, it was all over by 5.

At 5, in kindergarten, I recall being mortified after being called out for wearing the same dress twice in a row. I abruptly learned that wearing anything two days in a row was not the “normal” thing to do. And by not doing the normal thing I therefore stood out from the crowd. I did NOT want to stand out from the crowd. I preferred to blend in unnoticed so I could quietly observe from the side lines; make up my mind about people and events at my own pace, without anyone watching me. But mostly, I just wanted to be liked. I feel the same way today. Suddenly, I was being judged. At 5. And so it began. To this day I will not wear any item two days in a row, at least not out of the house anyway.

Such insecurity! Even as I write this, I’m typing my shitty first draft (every first draft of anything is shitty – it’s a universal law) on my computer using Word™, and I’m worried my computer doesn’t like me and thinks I’m an idiot. My spelling is routinely underlined with angry red squiggly lines that scream at me “You can’t be serious! Really? You still don’t know how to spell ‘way’? It’s a three letter word for crying out loud!” “I know!” I silently scream back, (don’t want anyone to hear me and think I’m crazy) “I purposely added the extra a’s for dramatic effect!” At which point my computer, lets out a disgusted “Pht! Amateur!”

I long for the freedom to really and truly not give a hoot about what others think of me. I’d probably go without makeup and groan really loudly at the gym. Stare all you want, I don’t care what you think! I’d spontaneously invite people over for dinner without working for hours beforehand cleaning, tidying, planning and prepping for a meal. It’s only a bloody meal! I might go bra-less while wearing that pretty white top with the very thin straps, oh the freedom! I’d sing out loud and well within ear shot of others. And I’d dance all over the dance floor, maybe even beyond, with or without a partner, swinging my arms above my head, wiggling and shaking all my bits to the music. Yes, even to the BeeGees, actually, especially to the BeeGees.

Then I’d write more. I’d write true stories straight from my life and I’d write imagined stories, then I’d blend them both for fun and let the sentences run on and on and on. Next I’d share without having to worry if people liked or disliked what I wrote, or worse yet, didn’t care enough to read any of it. I wouldn’t worry that I might not be educated enough, sophisticated enough, witty or worldly enough to write and therefore I’d be completely free to just do it. And I certainly wouldn’t freak out if someone looked over my shoulder while I wrote my shitty first draft. Who cares? Not me! I’m free!

Recently I very sagely advised someone, a decade or two younger than myself of course, that as you get older you let go of caring so much about what others think of you. Yes, me. I told them that. It’s true. Even scared-n-insecure ol’ me has managed to get better at it, although it is still an issue for me. Something I need to work on. I’m trying. In the mean time, please, whatever you do,  do not look over my shoulder if you catch me writing. Seriously. Don’t.

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Use it or lose it! Your voice that is…

Bonnie and I reconnected in person last week and while we were chilling out together we both mentioned that we didn’t have any topics to write about. For me that is unheard of, not because I love to gas off all day long but because I am always ahead of myself, I like to be prepared! I have plenty of posts in our ‘drafts’ file but I have to be feelin it to post it. Bonnie has always been able to write last minute, she’s great under pressure, me, not so much! Jacquie has also been known to leave her post until an hour before, I envy that!

We wondered if we had both succumbed to bloggers block? I started to surf a few facebook pages to get some ideas and one caught my eye, Billie Mintz. He is the film maker who was behind the video I posted for our Svaha Spirit Series~ Surviving the Treatment: The Return of Myles McLellan. I don’t know him personally and I don’t usually request friendships with anyone I can’t reach out and touch, but I asked him because he not only intrigues me but he really uses his voice to make change and yes, he’s kind of easy on the eyes, but mostly he intrigues me! A comment left on his page inspired me to write about those who are afraid to step up and use their god given voice to make change.”What are you so afraid of?” I think it’s mostly because of fear, fear of being heard and then what? You actually have to back up what you have said and unfortunately, in my humble opinion, those who are afraid in the first place are those who haven’t really formed an opinion to start with, they follow everyone else. They cruise around on the ‘opinion coattails’ of others. 

I’ve also noticed that most people feel more comfortable following the pack, they don’t want to rock the boat! I am starting to get so frustrated with these sort of people that it makes me want to tip the boat over! Make them sink or swim, for crying out loud form an opinion, speak up! I know it’s hard to be different or stand on your own when it comes to opinion but I think sometimes its necessary! Who cares if anyone else agree’s with you, it’s not about that, it’s about being confident and able to express yourself to others regardless of what they think! It just feels good! It’s empowering even!

I get that we need both leaders and followers, the world would be chaotic and have no balance if it were made up of just one or the other! Sometimes people follow simply because they are easy going and really don’t mind having others make decisions for them, but if you follow because of insecurities you need to step out of you comfort zone speak up.

Are you a Leader or a Follower? Do you express yourself honestly even when you can see you are standing alone? Do you do what others suggest even though it’s not what YOU want to do? Or do you opt out because it doesn’t fit into YOUR idea of what’s best for you? If you express yourself with good intention, your opinion will be respected and you will be heard!

Use it or lose it!

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