Standing Out – #ShePersisted No. 63

#ShePersisted #63 – They said, you need to be more like us to fit in. She said, why would I want to fit in when I stand out just the way I am?

It is one of life’s challenges. To be our authentic selves in a world that wants us to fit in.

Finding a balance between satisfying the inherent human need for belonging and our individual desire to be unique is not easy. It is, however, imperative. To not be authentic drains you of lifeforce. It puts a ‘cramp on your style’ and can leave you feeling dissatisfied, disappointed and disillusioned.

Years ago, when I became a stockbroker, (I know. Unbelievable right?) I thought I had to dress the part. Conservative blue suit. White blouse. You know. Transform myself into the image of what I thought a female broker should look like, á la Anne Hathaway’s character Andy in The Devil Wears Prada who dresses up fashionista style only to get all the attention she wanted while losing her self-respect.

Fortunately, I figured out tailored suits are not my style and left the sector. Ok. There was more to why I left the sector but I like the poetic imperative of that statement so I’m sticking with it!

Eventually, by the time I started working at an adult homeless shelter, I had become comfortable with being me. I dressed to suit me. Listened to my heart and not everyone else’s opinions. Except, at the shelter, I worried that ‘all of me’ might be hard on those I deemed to have nothing and thought I should ‘tone-down my sunshiney ways and dress-down to fit in’. (I know. Can you spell ‘condescending’?) I quickly realized that being true to myself was more honest and authentic than fitting into what I thought other’s needed me to be, especially when in a place as dark and heavy as a homeless shelter, light and sunshiney ways are vital! As are honesty and authenticity.

Yet still, that little voice in my head (you know, ‘the critter’) sometimes like to sneak in and whisper not-so-sweet-nothings about how I need to tone myself down, or not be so… me. Sometimes, I think the critter is only happy when I do my best to be invisible!

No. 63 of my #ShePersisted Series says, No Way. Uh uh. Not happening.

Because, seriously? Why contort and distort who you are to fit into some uncomfortable-to-you measurement of what works for others when you are born to stand out in whatever way works for you?

14 thoughts on “Standing Out – #ShePersisted No. 63

  1. OMG – Louise, I’ve neglected Wpress for a few days and THIS is what I have come back to! I’m blown away and I immediately ‘stole’ your magnificent artwork to print it out somewhere with a GOOD PRINTER (like making a photo or so) so that I can put that quote on a wall nearby. This is one of the life lessons I learned too – although I hadn’t been a stockbroker (truly unbelievable, indeed!)! I once left an international company with tons of big shots because they got merged with a tabacco producer and I took my letter of resignation to the HR responsible with the reason that I can no longer work for a company where I have to hand over my soul at reception… which sollicited an incredible lifting of heavy eyebrows and the comment: But dear Kiki, you are SO appreciated here; do you know that once you leave us we will never take you back in our employ??? It was as if I hadn’t said anything – why would I leave my dream job of many years if I had no urgent reason to do so? Why on earth would I ever want to go back, working for them again?
    In one moment, it made clicking my mind to the important fact that I am who I am – and that I’m perfectly good enough as the one I am. The same experience I made also with my choice of clothing. Nowadays nobody would want to employ me, already for age reasons – but I dress as I feel on any old day, sometimes I put on lipstick AT HOME (I tried it once with a mask and very quickly my face looked like a battlefield – not lastly because my lipstick is VERY red!), some days I put on a hairband and don’t care if it matches my clothes, I just don’t want them all the time flying in my face.
    You know what you should do? Create postcards of all your wonderful work – I know I couldn’t buy them, because their posting costs far too much to Europe – but I’m sure there is a market!
    Anyway, this is PURE MAGIC – love you to bits for creating such beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Kiki! You are soooo awesome! I love that you quit your job for the reason you did! Well done — and silly them. Losing their souls to profit on people’s ill health and addiction.
      I love your description of lipstick behind your mask — I forget some days — and the one thing I go out with is lipstick on my face and though I don’t wear bright red it still ends up all over my face!
      And thank you. your joy and enthusiasm light up this very (like -18C) chilly day! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • -18°C???? Really???? That’s hard to accept – I think you should invest in a really warm coat for Beau! And a hat with ear-flaps for you – and a mask with a triple layer of soft but breathable material for your precious face.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your artwork and your shepersisted series!! Wonderful and empowering.
    This is such a valuable topic for all of us to continue to explore and talk about. Raising two boys gave me an opportunity to explore what this means for males as well. How do we present ourselves to others and why? This is a question that I can see answered differently in different settings based on how I can be true to myself and not create barriers for others that are unnecessary. For example, I like to express myself by wearing colorful sleeveless dresses but when I am traveling in another country or visiting a place of worship I alter what I wear to be respectful of the cultural values. As the world continues to connect. I think more and more about how we can express ourselves as individuals and be curious about others instead of judging them. Wow, I usually don’t write this much.
    Thank you for sharing your message to persist in being true to yourself. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love your ‘I don’t usually write this much’ response Ali! And – I agree, being sensitive to cultural norms is an imperative — my expression of myself must not denigrate nor harm.
      For me, the most powerful way of self-expression is through my art and words — and it is there I sometimes find myself self-censoring. It is a habit I am undoing through the gentle expansion of my self-talk.
      And raising two boys would be an interesting expansion of your views! Ultimately, I think what you wrote about barriers is so true — we cannot, must not, create barriers to connection – and as long as we stay true to our hearts, which includes the principle of ‘do no harm’, than we have greater opportunity to create connection.
      Hmmm…. and there I go… responding long! 🙂 Thanks my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I appreciate you sharing about self-censoring while creating artwork. I am very interested in the creative process and how we can use that to see ourselves, as well as, explore who we can be. I hear you gaining so much from your artwork AND you end up with such lovely pieces. I have fun playing in paint but the product is not one to put on my blog. For me, I use poetry as my tool more than any other medium.
        You kept me going in thought and reflection. I really appreciate the conversation. I hope some of your other readers will share their thoughts too.
        Take care.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Michelle. Thank you. To be a light for others is the deepest yearning of my heart. When my light connects with yours, we create an even brighter light for all the world to see in the dark.

    here’s to unpeeling layers to reveal the magnificence of who we are born to be. ❤

    Like

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