Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Empowering Decision to Not Filter Myself (and that one time I made a list of my socially unacceptable traits to prove it)

I'm pretty comfortable with myself, but that's an acquired trait.

I've gradually learned, during the last few years, to not give a rat's apple about what other people think about me or my life choices. And not in the "I don't care what people think so I can be blunt and rude and speak my mind and step on people" way. (I'm much too tender and non-red-personality for that.) I'm more of the "if I want to wear overalls or a Goodwill skirt with cats printed on it and take really long afternoon naps and be a Mormon girl who's not vehemently opposed to gay marriage then I will do what I want and thank you for your opinion of my life but I probably don't care" way. I'm comfortable in my own skin.

As a whole, I think we're too bent on appearing a certain way.

We modify ourselves to fit a mold. We hide our flaws and filter ourselves like fruit cocktail through a sieve. We share the parts of ourselves that seem socially or culturally acceptable and tuck away the parts that don't. But why? WHY do we do that? Especially in the relationships scene, it makes zero sense -- why would I want to impress someone with a MODIFIED version of myself? Because if they like that version and we end up I going to keep pretending forever so they'll keep liking me forever? Gross. Double gross.

And so I've chosen to ditch the filter.

I started compiling a list of my "flaws" as I brainstormed this blog post. The things I'm tempted to hide from people, at least at first. You would think it'd be a depressing list to have on hand, but I actually feel fiercely attached to it in a funny way. I loved seeing it all on paper. I like knowing that I'm unique, individual, different....I'm ME. I'm an original. We're all one-of-a-kind, and why pretend that away?

The list would be much longer if I brainstormed for more than a few days, but here's what we've got so far:
- I hate mornings. I feel like impressive, ambitious people are usually morning people and I am not one of them.
- My car is always messy.
- I almost never make my bed.
- Sometimes I febreze shirts instead of washing them. Or just hang them back up.
- I'm a messy eater.
- I wipe my fingers on my jeans while I eat.
- I'm a cat person.
- I don't like children I'm not related to, with very few exceptions. I don't think they're fun, pleasant, endearing or entertaining. I think they're overwhelming, high maintenance and impossible to reason with. And sticky. I avoid babysitting like some people avoid trips to the dentist.
- I can cook, but I don't do it often. When I do, it's usually healthy and semi-bland.
- I'm a healthy eater, but I have a serious (and often indulged) weakness for french fries, Dr. Pepper and sour jelly beans.
- I always overtip at restaurants, and silently cringe/judge when my dates or friends leave a small tip or criticize the server.
- I automatically like almost all people but have a really hard time biting my tongue around people who are rude or close-minded.
- I'm hypocritical because I'm easily disgusted with people who hate people.
- I space out often and have to be summoned back into conversations.
- I have a pretty healthy body image but I'm self-conscious about my bony feet, knees, hips, ribs and spine. I've been told I have nice legs and it weirds me out because I think they are an uninteresting twin pair of twigs.
- I'm more sensitive to skinny-bashing and "real women have curves" comments than I should be and will vocally/forcefully make that opinion known because I don't believe that being rude about any body type should be culturally acceptable.
- I suspect my armpits are sweatier than other people's.
- I'm impulsive.
- I'm impatient.
- My attention span is dismally short and it's obvious when it's gone because I'll tap my fingers on things, fidget in my chair and/or Instagram my way through the last 10 minutes of church.
- I spend too much time on my iPhone.
- Anxiety is an ongoing part of my life, and I had a short stint with therapy in college for it. I experience it much less now than I used to, and I'm 110% better at knowing when my thoughts are not rational and taking a quiet time-out or nap until I've calmed myself back into a good place.
- I am queen of unfinished projects and short-lived (yet passionate) hobbies.
- Slow walkers and drivers irritate me deeply.
- I hate being told what to do.
- I love getting my nails done and spend too much frivolous money on it. (When I'm employed, that is.)
- I enjoy Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars because I am a 13-year-old girl inside.
- I wear glitter eyeliner every day, because...13-year-old girl.
- I can easily spell most hard words but can't pronounce them nearly as well, meaning I often sound like an idiot around smart people who know the difference.
- I throw tupperware away if I find it in the back of my fridge and don't want to bother opening it and scrubbing it out.
- I eat in my bed. Frequently.
- I'm an embarrassingly bad basketball player, as much as I love watching the sport.

It might be weird advice, but I kind of recommend making this list for yourself. Write out your so-called flaws and things you tend to hide from people. Own it, from the very beginning, when you meet new people. My ability to relate to people and form new friendships quickly has grown exponentially as I've learned to do this, and I think that's because people are more willing to be real around you when you're real with them first. So let's get real, kids.


Kailee said...

I'm definitely going to do this! I admire you so much and think you are SO cool. Personally I love it when people are real, as hard as it often is for me to do. And I do a lot of these things too. Like eating in my bed? Thank goodness I'm not the only one that does that, because I think all my roommates think I'm weird for doing it haha.

Raquel said...

(That is all)

chrissyblake said...

I knew most of that and I like you anyway. Nope, I love you. Sometimes I want to be you. I admire your spirit and new found bravery and think that all of that other stuff makes for a pretty swell girl. :)

Jenna Foote said...

Two things:

1) I almost never wash my shirts. I first inspect for obvious food particles/bodily fluids (of my kids, of course). If I see any, I attempt to spot clean first. Then I smell the shirt. If it smells, it gets washed. If not, it gets hung up.

2) Slow walkers and drivers annoy the crap outta me. My husband is a slow walker. If we're in the mall and I sense people behind us, I feel compelled to drag him along so as not to irritate the people behind us.

Chantel said...

I am adding to the consensus: I LOVE THIS! Seriously. You are so quick-witted and girly and REAL. We are a lot alike and I love that too.

Alicia Snow said...

I'm a little freaked out on how many of those things I agreed with. SAME. FREAKIN. PERSON. I'm going to find some time to write out my own list.

Unknown said...

I only recently discovered that I share your opinion on children, and it's mostly for children whose parents are nowhere in sight -or- the parents are there but they do nothing to reign their kids in. Apparently I'm secretly critical of other people's parenting styles, even though I have no children of my own yet (because, you know, watching several seasons of Supernanny makes me an expert...).

Unknown said...

Once again, Soul sisters :)

Maggie B. said...

This is the best post ever. I totally love embracing the "flaws" that make us unique. Let's see... here's my condensed list:
1) I hate making the bed and only do it when I change the sheets
2)I'll eat anything that doesn't move faster then me, and picky eaters annoy me
3) I agree, children are sticky. I love them, but I prefer the birth to age 3, 5-9 and then 21+ age ranges.
4) I have several crazy compulsions to make lists.
5) I throw tuperware away that's in the fridge too long too
6) In fact, I'll throw most anything away that I deem we haven't used in a long time. This annoys my husband to no end.
7) I am easily distracted by anything pink, shiny and/or sparkly.

Josh said...

I am totally going to do this over on my blog. But, I am with you with children. Sticky children should exist. Period.

Annie W said...

ah, what a great list! I love this idea.

Myke said...

I'm with you on the throwing away Tupperware thing.

Jael said...

I love this. I think you HAVE inspired me to make my own list.

Rebecca said...

So, I just read this post and am reminded why we were perfect roommates for each other. Tupperware. Messy car. Short lived, passionate hobbies and lots of unfinished projects. Yup.