Thursday, February 9, 2012

Different Perspective

I don't think I'm extraordinary. I think every word I have ever and will ever write have already been written, and most likely by more skilled authors, poets and lyricists. I think I'm average and un-intimidating, but a conversation with my mother has shifted that train.

For as long as I remember, Mommy has always gotten me Valentines Day gifts. In my early teen years I always neglected them, wishing they came from some know no good boy, but now that I'm older I really appreciate the effort (and the jammies). This year I got her a teddy bear, some of our favorite candy, and Adele's "21" album (because seriously, Adele has to be one of the coolest artists out) and she got me a really good dinner at Red Lobster, which is a treat for me because I eat fast food and "freezer to microwave" meals more than anything.

We talked about how life was going, and I sort of lamented the fact that I don't feel much noticed in the world and my lack of conviction about being different. And my Mommy looked me dead in the eye and said, verbatim, you are somebody, and somebody really dope. She says my hair, my demeanor, the calmness that lies below my surface can intimidate people, especially guys my age, and make me seem unapproachable. My wit and intelligence are easily observed and that, she said, can be scary; how do you approach someone who knows the game and it's pitfalls?

I'd never considered my outward appearance to be daunting. I'm five fee tall. Natural hair. Kinda large in the chest, spreading in the hips, with a bit of a tummy. I don't necessarily think I stand out because I look at myself every morning, but I'd be blind to not notice the sea of weaves and perms, made-up faces and starved stomachs that surround me. I'm not afraid to wear my glasses. Not afraid to buy bigger sizes and accessorize in an understated way. I don't speak too loudly in public, most times I have earbuds in low enough to hear my surroundings and keep focused (I take them out when people are talking) and pretty much keep to myself and keep it moving.

Flipping the script, if I were someone different, and I saw me, I'd think I was really cool looking. My hair isn't the stereotypical natural of afros and braids, rather it's two strand twisted out, kinks and curls, varying in size and standing at odd angles. I walk and read, headphones on, which amazes people as I've learned, because I manage to avoid bumping into anyone and actually turn pages. I would guess, if I were to see myself outside of myself, I wouldn't look twice, but that first look would leave enough of an impression to make me look over my shoulder.

I don't surprise easily. I notice a lot of folks when they meet me try to gauge if I'm prudish or wild, steady or reactionary; they never really figure me out. I like that about myself. I like to help people, open doors for elders and say thank you when someone does something courteous for me. I'm always carrying something in my hands to occupy myself, i.e coloring books, actual books, tarot cards, diaries. Yeah, I'd say I'm a unique person.

I've been told for the last few years of my life that I am the exception and not the rule. Most girls do this, but Tes doesn't - she's the exception and not the rule. That being the case, as much as people say they are Billy Badasses, the rules are rules for reasons, and none too many question them. So more often than not, I'll be the odd woman out. And I'm learning to be completely okay with that; someday, somebody's going to be looking for a short, natural haired, brainy exception, and I'll be in there like swimwear.

I guess I forget that perception is so much of who we are. Because I live in myself I don't see what others see in me. When, through my eyes, it seems as if people don't bother, in their eyes they may just not know where to start. In my eyes, where I see flaws and things that make me less than, someone else's eyes are admiring those imperfections as the perfect make up of me. Perceptions change over time, and of that I'm glad. Maybe it's time I start perceiving myself a little outside of myself, not enough to get a big head mind you, but enough to maybe edge out my own shyness and muster up the courage/strength/chutzpah to continue to be unique, despite a sea of sameness.

So I guess that's the thing to take away from this one today ya'll: Dare to be different. Be that one red-head in a sea of blondes. Be that one natural girl in the sea of weaves. Be the reader in the room of tweeters. Be whoever you are, and realize that doing that makes you more amazing than you realize.

No comments: