I do not send out friend requests often. But there is this particular person who caught my eye and I clicked on the rectangular green button on his Facebook profile. Now, for me to do that meant that this person was really impressive; it was not a cute profile picture or popularity. Still, when he immediately accepted and messaged me, I became all pretentious, almost rude.
“Do you always message people who send you friend requests to say ‘thank you’? I asked with a sassy smiley. “No, I just wanted to start the conversation with you. Do we know each other?” he asked. “[…] Idk. Am I the one who added you?” I retorted. Now, I’ve always had a little of attitude, I have never been into sugar-coating things but this sassiness of mine hid some kind of insecurity. I did not want to tell him straightaway that he’d impressed me. I was afraid to be truthful. To be… vulnerable.
And this is so weird, I thought to myself. Lately, I’ve been working on putting my shield down. To just be out there. To be who I am. And I found that it was okay. It was okay to be interviewed for the post of a web content writer and journalist and to say that I have social anxiety, that I sometimes find it hard to interact with people. That wasn’t what google had taught me about job interviews. Google had asked me to look confident, to only focus on my strengths. I did not. And it was okay. It was okay when, after I got that job, I sometimes had moments of panic, moments during which I would get into my shell. Yes my boss saw my hand shaking when I interviewed a person for the first time and it was okay. The other day a client we write advertorials for mentioned being a little more careful when talking to me because she knows I might get anxious. She did not mean it in a bad way; she knows how I am, she gets it, it’s no big deal (as long as I write good articles for them) and she tries to help. What a relief!
What a relief to be out there and letting people see me. And the thing with anxiety is that once you just act and let go of the ‘what if’, it becomes so much easier. We’re all fighting little battles every day, why make our burdens even heavier with pretension? If you put down the armor, if you do not even fight who will defeat you? I learnt to strip away my pretension. Are you nervous? “Yes”, I reply. ‘Fake it till you make it’ might work for others, not for me. I opt for truthfulness. With myself. With others. It is hard to put away the armor, to strip away the pretense. It is hard to be naked. They see it all. They see the beautiful skin but they also see the bruises. But that is you. It is not about valuing the flaws, about complaining about them or be a victim because of them. But it isn’t about hating them either. They are your flaws; you are imperfect; it is okay.
If I can do it in a job interview and in my everyday life why can I tell a guy that he impressed me? It is trivial but it matters. Go out there, be yourself. Get naked, show your flaws, show your bruises. Free; you’ll feel free. And fearless. Do it for the big things, do it for the trivial things. Let go of the politically correct. Do not waste time to think of something impressive to say. Just say the truth. Just say what you feel. Don’t put an armor around yourself, don’t put an armor around your feelings. Undo the corset of pretense. Breathe. Don’t seek to impress. Just be real. And you might be surprised. Others might strip too and you will see that they are as bruised, as flawed as you. Naked, flawed and beautiful. Now will you please excuse me, I need to go message a guy and tell him that yes, I did send him a friend request, that I do admire the way he stands up for causes and strives for his passion.
Written by Luckshmee Jeawon 🙂