Monday, September 26, 2016

BEING MYSELF/YOURSELF/OURSELVES

"A selfie" by Patty Barrett

For a very long time, I’ve been afraid to be myself.  Which sucks because I love myself!  I love who I am, I love what I’ve accomplished, I love where I am in life, I love the people in my life.  But yet, I constantly make decisions based on what other people think.  I’m afraid to be honest because I’m afraid of how I’ll come off, or I’m afraid of what people are going to say.  

I remember a few years ago, Instagram was gaining popularity and I started to post selfies.  I saw other people doing it, and quite frankly - I liked the attention one specific person gave me for them - so I kept doing it.  Then a friend of mine felt the need to tell me that everyone in our group of friends made fun of me for it.  I cried for a very long time. 

I think it’s funny now because who cares? We all have different things that make us happy and that we feel the need to post about, and for me it is MY FACE. (Just kidding. Kind of.) But I remember being SO upset and imagining my friends all sitting together and shitting on me just made me cry endlessly. I still think of that every time I post one, but I care a little less. Just a little. 

The truth is, I can’t control anyone else’s thoughts or feelings. There are certain posts I see on social media that I don’t necessarily care for (like recently hunted bears bleeding out in someone’s trunk or posts about fall in New England when I'm suffering through a heat wave in Los Angeles ), but I choose not to look at it or “like” it. That’s my chosen view on things, but I can’t be mad at anyone else for choosing to think differently or having their opinions and expressing them to others.  It’s none of my business what people say about me, after all. 

But it becomes a problem when I actually let it affect my life. It’s a problem when I don’t do things because I’m afraid of what people are going to say, think or feel about it.  It’s a problem when I give people that power.  It’s not fair to me. And I've come to the realization that I want to be true to myself - and actually be okay with myself - way more than I want everyone to think positively of me at all times.

So, my goal for… I don’t know, The REST OF MY LIFE is to make decisions without fearing what other people think. I’m the only person affected by my decisions, so I should be the only one weighing in on them.  I’m not going to make the best decisions 60+ percent of the time, but IT’S MY LIFE AND IT’S NOW OR NEVER. I ain’t gonna live forever. (Bon Jovi seemed appropriate in this moment.)

So if I want to post selfies, I’m going to post some selfies. 

If I want to move (or decide not to move) wherever I want to move (or not move), I’m going to do that. 

If I choose tap dancing as my main source of exercise and being a sex phone operator as my main source of income, so be it. 

If I want to order a $25 burger by myself on a Saturday night after drinking just ONE sip of wine, undoing all the hard work I’d done all day exercising and eating well, I’m going to do that. 

It’s important to me that I take my own advice that I dish out to other people.  I prefer to not judge other people for the choices they make. I’ve done that in the past, I’ve weighed in FAR too much on other people’s lives behind their backs, and it always made me feel grimey.  So, it’s time to cut the shit. 

Recently, a coworker who isn’t very close to me said “Please don’t ever stop being you, Patty” and it made me very happy (and not only because I thought he didn't like me very much because he shows up everyday TO WORK and I show up to play with dogs and make jokes). But, how many times had I heard that from close friends? A bunch. How many times did I believe them? Less than a bunch. It took an almost stranger to make me feel proud of my personality and realize maybe I'm not half bad… 

I’M ALL BAD.

Okay well, that’s my time (and a stolen Muppet joke), so thanks for stopping by.  You can find me every day... being myself... at my desk in Playa Vista... taking selfies and eating diet popcorn for lunch.

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