I didn't have many pictures to choose from this week but this one right here stood out and made me think. I didn't have a title for this pic 3 days ago but when I looked at it today and saw the advertisement behind him I knew. Do we dress to feel secure? Does dressing warm make us happy? and the obvious, he's painting himself to be someone else 'a statue' something that will make people stop and wonder if he's real or not. And sometimes real doesn't matter, perception is much more important to some.
Do we paint ourselves someone else?
There are many reasons why we might have or are still painting ourselves someone else; and not all of them are bad. The goal is to work towards our true and better selves and for some its to be a 'true someone else', a copycat which is dangerous mostly for that person because it forces others to keep a safe distance or it may put you in a bad situation. See below I was 14 years old and as you can see had my own style, I never cared what everyone else thought. I made my own clothes, I painted my Pumas a different color every month to match my skinny leather tie. I was in love with Emanuel all the way to the far left of me, 2 years before coming out of the closet as a lesbian. Life was simple back then.
As I grew up I never had a problem working, I started when I was 16 and quickly learned I was a critical thinker, a skill that allowed me to build a career as a manager in a high volume, fast paced environment like UPS for 13 years. I was a problem solver/MacGyver and this worked well at work but my personal life could not get the same skill set. See at work I was confident that I could learn and get better, I could make decisions on the spot that would make or break my operation. I didn't go home until the job was done, I managed my time, I completed reports, I rallied my team. Outside of my job, I didn't really know who I was, I guess I now understand why I wore my work paint for 12-14 hours a day, I knew who I was there. I was the critical thinker that followed the UPS manual.
Now this picture above was my war paint, I was in a battle with my sanity, addictions and I had to strip myself of the person I painted myself to be. I had to show people around me that I was not strong at the moment, I needed support and everyday was a struggle. I painted myself 100 days sober in memory of a friend who took her life, also another person who painted herself happy everyday to everybody because thats how she minimized her suffering. RIP Heather McTiernan
We may paint ourselves to survive a situation or maybe we just don't think were interesting or special enough, or we are ashamed of our past. Im no expert but I wonder sometimes what I would've done if I were in peoples situation as they are sharing their stories with me. We can always give advice and be sincere but can we live it and take that advice. If it were that easy we wouldn't have any struggles.
Here are just a few past stories I have heard or seen, most of them in the LGBTQ community. people that wear paint to be someone else or remove it to be their true selves:
- The cross dressing businessman who volunteers at the LGBTQ center and does it in heels and lipstick because he feels free and safe.
- the boy who runs away to be gay in a city that accepts him because his hometown won't.
- the girl who can't say she's Bi because the lesbian community won't accept.
- Getting tattoos because you are finally you; removing tattoos because your hiding your past
- Cutting your hair to fit in or be free
- Avoiding relationships because of trauma or trust and vulnerability, but painting yourself busy or too good for anyone.
- Not coming out of the closet as LGBTQ because of career ambitions or family judgement
- The butch girl that doesn't like the stereotype of liking only fems but will never go after her true love who happens to also be butch.
- The faithful who find it hard to have faith that things will change.
The fact is, is we do paint ourselves someone else all the time and our reasons are our own and shouldn't be judged by anyone. But they are, and will continue to be and I have faith we will find our way, together. When we share our stories or talk to strangers, when we explore life and share our experiences, when we learn to embrace our vulnerability with others and begin to feel safe, we begin to strip that layer of paint that gets us one step closer to our true selves.
I am one step closer everytime I write my blog and share my story, I'm one step closer when I wake in the morning and am happy to have have another day, I am one step closer when I can work just as hard for someone even if I'm not getting paid, I am one step closer when I can get on my knees and say thank you.
The average moderately active person take around 7,500 step/day. If you maintain that daily average and live until 80 years of age, you'll have walked about 216,262,500 steps in your lifetime. Doing the math, the average person with the average stride living until 80 will walk a distance of around 110,000 miles.
So Today instead of taking the train or bus all the way to your stop, get off early and walk; add to those steps that will get you closer to your true self.
I look forward to the millions of steps I will take to learn more and share more about the true me.
Love & Serenity, Jamie