persona

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.

2 comments:

Evangeline Denmark said...

This is such a good post, Daph. And I agree with Corey's description of you, especially the intelligent part. It's funny that you've linked the "Who am I really" question with the casual "Do I really sound like that" observation. Both jar us out of our every day lives and present an alternate but no less real reality for us to ponder.

Daphne said...

Thanks, Miss E. I think that many of us who have spent so much time "within" ourselves (even us outgoing ones) have considered personas to be a superficial thing that shallow people fixate on and try to change. But we all have something that we project to the world. And I think we can understand other people better when we have some idea of what they see when they see us.