Have you ever wondered much about how others see you? I don't mean the "what do they think of me? do I look silly? am I liked? do I fit in?" anxiety that all of us women go through. Our struggles to be liked, loved, and accepted are pervasive and nearly universal. But that's not what I am asking about today. What I am talking about is a little different. Do you ever hear your voice recorded and then think, "that's not how I sound, is it?" Or seen yourself on video and remembered the situations and conversations just a little differently than how the tape portrays? I have had these "huh" moments many times in my life, and usually I let them go very quickly. My mind gets absorbed in the everyday goings on and worries that are never in short supply. The idea that I "sound funny" when recorded is simply brushed aside as a common experience with the rest of humanity. We all sound a little different inside our own heads, right?
But for some reason, this time..... this time it stuck. Last week, I watched a short video of me shaving my husband's head for charity. (Hooray for St. Baldrick's!) and realized how different I seemed that what my experience had been. And it got me thinking. Maybe the thinking came from the fact that the next day I got to go for an 8 hour drive to Kansas for a funeral and then present myself to people that I hardly knew. Maybe my mind is just finally ready to start dealing with this part of me. I don't really know.
I asked Corey the other night what 3 words other people would probably use to describe me. His answer was: Outgoing, Intelligent, and Warm Hearted. We also talked about how I have a rather "dusky" voice and tone that give off the vibe of confidence. But I am, in fact, not very confident at all. Outgoing? yes. Friendly? you bet. Assured? ha! I actually find myself straining at the seams of my own insecurities and vulnerability. So often I am so unsure of my own ability to express myself and be known. Self-doubt becomes a tendency to repeat myself, to clarify, and to seek out external validation. I know all of that is going on inside of me now. That's huge for me. And it has taken a long time to get me to even this point.
Then I start to wonder about what happens when all of these things collide. What happens when the confidence I unwittingly give off gets mixed in with the compensation for my self-doubt? Pushy, overbearing, manipulative, know-it-all, demanding. Ick. Ick. Ick. Certainly this is not how I seem to all people at all times. I get that. The pessimism is not so bad as to think that I am that pervasively unattractive. But knowing this clears up some confusion in my life. I know that people have felt at times (my husband included) that they are being subjected to these things from me. But I was always exceedingly confused by the idea of it. Because none of these things come from the vulnerable side that I walk with every moment of every day. The "me" I know is different..
So, what does it all mean? I am not really sure yet. For now what it means is that I am far more aware that people are likely to perceive me as more confident than I am. That being known is an uphill battle. That maybe my outside and my inside are not as matched as I thought. That maybe I need more grace and patience both with myself and with everyone else.