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The Day I Decided To Just Be Myself

There's really no point to this blog post other than to share a single thought that seems important to me.


Ever since I was a little girl I always got the message that I was a fairly repulsive person to be around unless I was a) smiling b) performing and c) cute.


It's not like anyone ever said those things to me, but certainly I could see which behaviors got me attention of the positive kind and which behaviors didn't.


I learned that when I was angry, nobody wanted to talk to me.


When I was depressed, I was like a cancer that others didn't want to catch.


But when I was up there on stage -- and I do mean literally, on stage, playing piano or performing in a play or even giving a speech at the tender age of 10 to a national audience -- well for those occasions I was well worth paying attention to.


I learned that when I posed for photographs, I was immediately transformed into an interesting person.


I dreamed of being a fashion model, which I'm sure comes as no surprise to those of you who know me and my preoccupation with image. The only problem was that I was too short, and too fat, and one of my feet is actually longer than the other. (Scoliosis.)


My scoliosis is not a subject people like to discuss.


I lost my baby teeth and for some reason they came in crooked, and a bit yellow.


At some point they said I needed glasses.


And my hair got cut relatively short, if stylishly, in a Dorothy-Hamill type style. (If you were around in the '70s you remember her, she was a skater.)


All of the messages I got. They told me not to sit there with a RBF ("resting b**** face").


Instead they wanted me to smile.


I smiled and smiled and smiled some more.


All my life I smiled, even when I didn't have a single smile in me.


I remember many times crying my head off, but only when I was driving and the music was on. I remember putting on concealer so that nobody would know I had been crying.


Nobody wants to be around a sad, intense person.


Was it this year that I decided to just be myself?


Certainly online there is no chance of getting anyone to read your stuff if it's presented in a brown manila wrapper of misery.


But in person, and at work, and yes, even online, something has broken in me.


And though you might say I'm not as composed as I've tried to be in the past, I think I like myself a lot better.


I laugh more and when I do it's in a real way. It's actually really, really loud.


I don't feel compelled to smile when I'm not smiling, although yes I do still put on the concealer and some makeup. Because let's face it, we can't just let go of everything...can we?


Someone said to me today that I should "smile" and it felt like an accusation. "Smile, you aren't smiling" and I guess I felt like I didn't have very much to smile about today.


It's OK.


I'm getting older, and the things that matter are less and less what other people think, and more and more whether I can look myself in the mirror.


___________________


All opinions my own.







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