I am not what you think I am.
Today I had one of those days where an unusually high number of people were staring at me.
I'm a quirky person so I occasionally get looks when out an about if I am dressed especially flamboyantly. Occasionally people just do a second take at m brightly coloured hair.
Today really got me thinking though about the reactions I've been getting since my early teens.
I've never been a huge fan of convention, I never wanted to look the same as everyone else. I always liked the idea of being an individual.
Recently a friend of mine suggested that I use my quirkiness as a front for who 'I really am' rather than that it is a representation of who I am. That killed me inside. I always wear who I am on my sleeve - I am an upfront person when you speak to me and what you see is what you get. Yes I do dye my hair unusual colours but not because I'm insecure about who I am naturally but because I like how it looks. I feel like it puts the me inside onto the outside.
Unfortunately for me a lot of people see a nose ring or a shaved undercut or blue hair or a hip tattoo and think that they know what it means, what it says about you. Unfortunately a huge generation see it as 'rebellious' they think it means I'm wild r hardcore or rude or even kinky. Others think its 'hipster' try-hard, deliberately quirky, a front to try make myself more 'interesting'. No one just thinks -that's a person.
I guess I make it easier for people to make snap assumptions by being different. I think if i was my natural brunette, simple makeup and jeans and a t-shirt no one one bat an eyelid. No one would think they have a right to stare at me, or nudge the person next to them, look me up and down or make a comment that I can almost hear. People think that if you have a strong look or personality that you are confident - that they can judge you because you've ''put yourself out there to be judged'. I feel self-conscious more than most because I am not entirely confident with my body and I worry about my personality. People mistake my loudness for bolshy-ness and confidence when it's just the result of always wanting to be heard in a biggish family, or in a classroom. I feel like no matter how much I try to put my real self and my real values, opinions and personality out there for people to see people still make assumptions, they still listen to rumours and they still think they know me when they've never taken the time to really see me.
I think the quirky types, and the self conscious types, will always have a more open mind, they will always be more inclined to reserve judgement, because they have always felt judged.The more you want people to understand you and see your character, the more you observe others, and appreciate the nuances of theirs. I just hope the next time someone sees me with stars on my face or stripy knee socks or an over-the-top outfit they just think 'more power to her'. When I see someone, before I think of making any judgement I remind myself that 'that's what makes them happy'. We each have our own quirks, insecurities, passions and journeys, so don't think you know someone until they've told you theirs.