Being disliked, judged, shunned can be a sign you’re living true to you
I’m inspired to write today because I just read this article by Jessica Valenti titled She Who Dies With the Most “Likes” Wins?
After finishing that read, I wanted to jump out of my seat and high five someone close by but unfortunately it was only me and my laptop in the room.
Why the enthusiasm?
It felt so damn good to hear Jessica paint the picture of my experience as an opinionated, outspoken woman…
someone who has often been disliked rather than liked when standing firm in who I am and for what I believe.
I feel vulnerable sharing this, but I have to open up.
I’ve been disliked, judged, and rejected plenty for being how I am.
When I was in junior high, my best friend and I had what seemed two classes of girls hating on us. “Why did they even hate us?” I asked this same girlfriend a few years ago and she said, “… because we knew what we wanted and we were willing to say it.”
I’ve been made to feel like I don’t belong, like I’m not welcome, like I’m too much, or a pain in the ass because I’m willing to say what I like and don’t like, but as many negative experiences as I’ve had, guess what?
It doesn’t change me.
Sure, I adjust my behavior and learn from my mistakes; I definitely practice more tact and patience before speaking up, but I’m still me.
The thing to remember is we are multi-faceted human beings. Expressing every aspect of yourself is what makes you unforgettably you.
I thought about this as I dressed for dinner last night. I sported a skull t-shirt that said ‘Rebel Free Heart’ and made sure to dab a smidgen of Coco Chanel No. 5 on the back of my neck before walking out the door. If that’s not a potentially walking contradiction, I don’t know what is.
One day I can be little red riding hood when I visit grandma’s house, the next day it’s the big bad wolf if you do my mama wrong or mess with my family’s money. Ying yang, folks.
We have the best of both emotional worlds within us and should exercise (and give one another) the freedom to be human and express each side as needed.
New Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence plays Tiffany, the very kind of woman I speak of in the new film Silver Lining Playbook and is my new girl crush for that reason.
In the film, she meets up with Pat, played by Bradley Cooper; he walks her home and she proposes that he ravage her body. He declines because he wants to believe there is still a chance for him and his estranged wife to get back together. Tiffany calls him out on his disillusionment (read: B.S.) and says, “I saw how you looked at me. Come on…we don’t lie like the others do.”
When she said that, I thought, My gosh, yes! Tell the truth!
I’m too direct. So I’ve been told (scolded).
At age 13, I complimented a random boy on his eyes in front of my aunt and she told me, “Cheryl, boys don’t like forward girls.”
I remember staring at her in bewilderment and laughed at her assessment of my demeanor. Here’s what I’ve learned since that day…when it comes to guys, my directness has proven to be a turn on; for certain women and insecure men, a threat.
I have had very special people in my life call me bossy, demanding, controlling, and even treat me as if I am undeserving of love, because of how honest I can be.
It’s hurt me and has caused me to hide who I am at times because I wanted to be ‘liked’. The thought of continuing to behave that way makes me want to gag.
That’s sorry sorry living, people.
It’s not a convivial feeling when you choose to shrink to accommodate other people’s desire for comfort.
I’m learning more and more who accepts me and who loves me and that company gets the best of me. The rest drop off as needed.
By being yourself fully, you make room for the people who want to share the space with you, who really can and do appreciate you for who you are.
It always comes back to putting yourself first.
When you do that, everyone around you reaps the benefits of your authenticity. The ones who don’t appreciate it don’t stick around. So let them move on.
Being who I am – overly thorough and direct – has served me well in managing my life and maneuvering my way in male-female relationships, but has surely brought on fallouts with people I care for only because they were not able to appreciate my strengths, weren’t willing to evolve or adjust their own habits and behavior, and instead worked to make me feel insecure about my approach as if it were a weakness.
Life is too short to live someone else’s idea of life.
When walking unconventional paths, making less than popular decisions, or living true to you…
The point of it all is to experience the freedom to be who you are and to do what you want.
If you’re a woman, I’m sure you know very well that sometimes that’s a lot to ask of the world.
Do your thing, anyway.
Thank you Jessica Valenti for your bold writing. Courage can have a domino effect.
Your turn. How has your bold, honest, direct behavior served you? Go on…represent your outspoken, opinionated self by leaving me a piece of your beautiful mind in the comments below.