Today, I went to the cinema with my family, where I saw someone I knew from high school. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but that person was my nemesis back in high school. How and why? Long story short: she was a friend, and then went behind my back and started making my life hell for a bit. I think what I hated most was how I let her get under my skin.
There she was, dressed like she was about to walk on a run way, and there I was, looking like I was ready for bed. She was decked from head to toe with designer (although, probably fake) and make up. I, on the other hand, had no make up, and with my newly short haircut, resembled a 13 year old boy. A feminine one though, with my pink scarf, might I add. Something that hadn’t been in my system for a long time started creeping back in: insecurity. I hadn’t felt this way in quite a while. It’s what seeing people from high school does to you I guess. But I didn’t like this feeling. In fact, I wanted to run out of the movie theatre there and then, just to get rid of this feeling. But instead, as I waited in the popcorn queue, I started thinking about a few things.
Right, so I probably don’t have much going for me, compared to her. I don’t turn up to normal places looking like a supermodel. I don’t have this winning personality, or the brain of Einstein. I don’t have any extraordinary talents, frankly speaking. But what do I have? And it hit me. There IS something going for me. I found my USP*.
Let me rewind back to when I was describing and contrasting my appearance to the girl from my high school. I realized that what she’s doing is an illusion. The make up. The threads. The excessiveness of it all. Does anyone really know what’s behind all that? A quick (and slightly regrettable) scan through her Facebook went to show that what everyone sees is a grand facade. Granted, maybe there are a few people that see the “real” her. But then I think about me. It’s not just my appearance. But let’s start there for argument’s sake: I have honestly stopped caring too much. Yes, there are days and occasions where I will make the effort to look nice, like a birthday party or date. But the cinema with my family? I’ll stick to my jeggings, Ugg boots and unkempt hair, thank you very much. I want to be comfortable! Then in terms of my attitude, my persona… I like being silly. I like being crazy, and quirky, and I like showing how I feel. I like crying in front of people, because I want people to know exactly how I feel. I don’t want to hide. I want to expose myself, all of me. Because I feel closer to others. I feel like, why hide? What’s the point? It just builds up, and rather than reaching a bursting point, it’s better to slowly let everything out in the process.
Erving Goffman, a fantastic sociologist, puts it very well: social life is like a play. Everybody has their “front stage” which is basically what they let others see of themselves, and their “backstage” to relax and let yourself go. And when it comes to me, well let’s just say, I’m not afraid to dish out VIP passes.
With that in mind, I held my head up high, and walked straight past her.
*USP stands for “Unique Selling Point,” which, in business terms, pretty much means the attribute a product possesses that makes people want to buy it. Being a Marketing major, I couldn’t resist using this term.