This is going to be a bit of a stream-of-consciousness post, but something I need to get down on paper. (Or would that be “down on computer?”)
I’ve had something on my mind a lot lately. It is the fact that I am “too much” for some people.
Do you ever feel that way? Do you know what I’m even talking about?
Sometimes, in certain situations, it becomes glaringly obvious that I do not fit in. Well, make that more than sometimes. It’s true. I’m not mainstream nor do I want to be.
Couple my not-fitting-in with a fiery passion for what makes my soul sing and you’ve got a psychedelic peacock flashing her glittery feathers at the world.
(Photo credit: louisdyer.com)
Not everyone likes that.
For a long time, this bothered me. In the 80s, I was me. Big hair, goth music and heavy black eyeliner defined who I was on the inside. I reveled in the 80s. The fashion and the makeup of the times spoke to my soul.
It was the first time in my young adult life that I felt real.
Later in life I felt like I needed to fit in, so throughout the 90s I did everything I could to conceal my inner sparkle. The job I held at the time required a certain look, you know, business suits and panty hose. No fun can ever be had wearing that kind of outfit.
When we were allowed to have casual Friday, I started wearing blue lipstick to the office.
Imagine walking into the Commissioner’s office of a State agency and encountering a secretary in blue lipstick. Yeah, that didn’t last very long…
Fast forward to now.
When I turned 50 a few years ago, something inside of me flipped. I had recently dropped a significant amount of weight and was about two sizes away from where I was in my 20s. This sparked a real change in my attitude about myself. I was entering the second half (or last third, who really knows) of my life…and I was smaller and feeling like a new person…so guess what?
I decided it was time to let myself shine.
Something about hitting 50 made me realize that I am okay just the way I am, right now, especially since I took the initiative to change my lifestyle and make self-care a priority.
What you see is what you get.
Though I had already been inching toward full self-expression, it took turning 50 to make me see that life is short and I have got to be, do, see, and experience everything right now. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow…and this becomes glaringly obvious once you hit the mid-century mark.
This particular morning I woke up thinking about how I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. This used to bother me tremendously, but now I don’t care.
So what if someone thinks my long, black hair is too much for a woman my age? I like it. I’m going to keep it, thank you.
So what if I decide to wear dark green lipstick out on the town and someone smirks at me? I don’t care. I like the lipstick and it looks good on me.
So what if society tells me I should be demure, cut my hair, wear pink, and do my best to fit in with what’s expected? I have a few choice words I could say here, but to keep this family friendly I’d like to say to those people: “Buzz off, mainstream drones, and buzz your opinions while you’re at it.”
Being too much for some people is something I’m learning to accept about myself. Day by day, it gets easier to embrace my eccentricities. After all, I’m an artist, a writer, a sometime ukulele player, and the publisher of a zine. I’m not, by nature, someone who chooses to shrink into the wallpaper at a function.
And, I treat my face like the canvas it is. You never know what I’m going to look like when we meet. That’s the beauty and power of makeup, and God alone knows how much I have in my possession.
Lipstick is a weapon, and I have an arsenal.
When you’re five feet nine inches tall, curvy, have hair that cascades down your back, and have an unusual face, you can’t fade. I tried years ago. It doesn’t work.
I’m fierce and I’m frightening, and I am okay with it. If someone doesn’t like me, they can keep walking. I don’t need anyone’s approval.
So, today and every day I wake up and decide just how I want to present myself to the world. And each day, I find great joy in being me and pushing the envelope just a little bit more.
While I don’t wear blue lipstick to work, I’m not afraid of purple.
And so it goes.
My hope for those reading this, those who feel the critical eye of the world upon them, is that you, too, will begin to feel freer to express who and what you are regardless of what society thinks.
We are living in a very good time, in one sense. We live in a world that is becoming more and more open to things that were once considered taboo, weird and unacceptable.
Because of this, take a moment to evaluate where you are in your life. Are you happy with the way you express yourself? Do you long for a chance to cut your hair, wear an entirely different wardrobe or take up the artistic endeavor that your heart has desired for years?
What’s stopping you? Do it. No matter what it is, do it. Do it now. Plan it out and go for it.
As you know, we aren’t promised tomorrow. That said, we can promise ourselves that no matter what may happen tomorrow, or even the next moment, we can be the authentic, colorful and fearless selves that we were born to be.
Who knows? If more of us did this very thing what kind of changes would we see in the world around us? Let’s work together to bring much needed color and love into the world.
Let’s show others that it’s our birthright to be unique. Let’s encourage each other to be our fully authentic selves.
Claim your birthright now, and let that freak flag fly.