“It’s a paradox. You don’t want people to look at you or approach you, and yet, you present yourself in a way that calls attention. I’ve never mentioned it before, but I’ve been seeing you for 4 months and you are always dressed in all black. And your hair is, what color would you say that is?”
“Magenta. Okay. You wear all black and have magenta hair. You understand this is a kind of counterculture look that will draw attention to yourself.”
“I guess. But I like it for me.”
“What would it be like if you were just yourself, unabashedly? Without worrying who was looking?”
My assumption is that it would be negative. For example, if the people who read and like this blog ever met me in person, the image of me that they’ve constructed would be ruined by the reality of me – chubby, socially awkward, 40-something dork, who is terrible at conversation. Letdown-city! It feels safer to me to write and let everyone else fill in the gaps with good things.
The funny thing to me about the conversation with my therapist this week is that it echoed something a friend said to me about two weeks ago. He took a lock of my hair in his fingers, twirled it and said something to the effect of, you don’t want people looking at you but you do this.
Before that moment, I suppose I hadn’t really considered what attention my appearance invites because I always see myself as kind of moving around on the periphery. I feel apart from or outside of. I’m never one of the cool kids or one of the girls.
Traveling on a motorcycle is a clear signal for people to stop and talk to me. Though popular media often portrays the rider as a badass or a tough person, my experiences tell me that people don’t see me that way on the bike. I’ve often considered that maybe when I’m riding, my guard is down. The wall I usually have up which tells everyone to keep away isn’t there when I’ve got my helmet on. Maybe that’s when I am my unfiltered self?
Do I even know the person who hides within? Not so sure I do.