Hands up, readers dearest, if you truly don’t care what others think of you. Do you drift instinctively, chasing your dreams without any real plan or fear of reproach; or is your existence based upon a tightly woven coil of socially acceptable norms? Be honest now.
On the one hand
If you were to ask me. I would tell you about my suspicions. That most people who shout about the former secretly major in the latter. You only need to take one look at Instagram to find out who the silent screamers of “I just want to be loved” are, living every day like they are on the cover of a magazine. Fearful of bucking the trends.
But where does insecurity begin?
Acceptance or rejection by the neighbourhood kids perhaps? Who themselves are desperately seeking acceptance from peers and seniors. Seeking acceptance by aping ‘celebrities.’ Who desperately seek acceptance from the record and fashion execs. Who are sitting on their piles of treasure. Who are probably getting depressed because there is someone even richer than themselves that they really need to get on with impressing. Who…
…And on it goes. Rosy, eh.
Insecurity sucks, even at the very basic level. For example, I often find myself proclaiming “I couldn’t care less what you/he/she thinks of me!” And then spending hours revisiting conversations, picking away at how adopting a different approach could have made the outcome more favourable for me or paint me in a better light.
But why do I care? Why don’t I just tell them to F off if I feel like it? if only I could see a few more shades of grey in my monochrome approach to diplomatic relations.
A perfect example of my submission happened earlier in the week. I threw in the towel on an issue that I felt right about, purely to avoid the embarrassment of a confrontation. The consequences of such confrontation, in my mind, would have been followed up by opinions, whispers and sideways glances being thrown at my back from the crowd forevermore.
So instead of offloading my true feelings, I let them eat away at me from the inside. And you know what. It’s still my problem. I can’t let it go. Team arse burger wins again. And I ask again, in a world inhabited by seven billion other people, why the hell do I care so much what a handful of them might or might not think of me?
Are any of you with me on this?
*echos for miles*
On the other hand.
In the midst of this torture I was mildly heartened. I was sent this video directly on three occasions by homies from different social circles in my life (aka fellow-repressed-people-turned-haters). On first watch, this guy’s behaviour could be semi-acceptable at a push…if this were a video from 9pm at a Scottish wedding after a good few drams.
But this my friends is: one man, dancing on a catwalk. At a wedding sales exhibition in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Now this is where I suspect my US readers and
repressed terribly reserved Brits will diverge. This video went viral in Aberdeen. Because this guy happens to be a senior exec in the same industry as I used to work in, it popped up on my social media feeds several more times.
“What a twat.” “I can’t see his employers being happy about this.” “What was he thinking?” “How will his poor kids cope?” “How will he be able to look his team in the eye on Monday?” These give a flavour of the comments I saw appearing.
Yes, he doesn’t look like a particularly rhythmic soul but he could be a lot of fun at a party, right?
His response to all this? He was flattered by the interest; amused by the critiques; and maintained composure and grace throughout in the face of some pretty nasty close-to-home criticism.
Not the popular view, but I really admire this guy.
This is how I want to be as a writer.
He inspires me to not to be afraid of the enlightenment and liberation associated with literally dancing like nobody is watching.
Oh, and recognising that there is power in looking silly and not caring that you do.