Finding the Unfiltered Self – Letting Go of the Paradox

Finding the Unfiltered Self – Letting Go of the Paradox

“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 comfort zone

What indeed?

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?

My vulnerable self

Do I even know the person who hides within? Not so sure I do.



13 Replies to “Finding the Unfiltered Self – Letting Go of the Paradox”

  1. Are any of us so self-absorbed that we think our appearance is appealing to everyone we meet? Even the ‘it’ kids in high school I am sure had their share of insecurities. I struggled with doing YouTube videos. It makes you feel so self-conscious. I struggled with many earlier discomforts in my life. First day in a new school, first attempt at public speaking, first formal work meetings, first time hearing my recorded voice, the list is long. That is ‘normal’ for most of us. Rachael you are in that respect very normal.

    I love meeting people I ‘know’ like fellow bloggers. There are alway surprises. Often the voice isn’t what we imagined. Or you have a telephone relationship with someone and you meet and the person you imagined is not like the real person.

    The cool thing is that the ‘real’ three or four or five-dimensional person is always more satisfying than the glimpse we get from the voice, the photo, the blog, or even the YouTube video.

    I’ll bet 99% of your readers would accept you just as you are. The other 1%… shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

  2. “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!”

    You’re kidding right?
    I realize that everyone sees themselves differently than others see them but as far as how I see you, you’re way off the mark.
    I look forward to our get togethers in December (can’t let our tradition out of the bag) and miss not seeing you as much as we used to.
    I always admire your sharp with and your thought process.
    I can’t imagine you walking into a room of people you’ve met even once and them being anything but completely jazzed to see you.
    First drink is on me this December.

  3. I spent 30 years using alcohol and drugs to try to feel completely un-self conscious and at ease with myself. And I only quit because I started having seizures. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, I’ll let you figure it out.

  4. You’re too hard on yourself. I liked you even more after I met you in person, you’re so much more than what you portray on your blog.
    I think sometimes people want to come into your world but you choose not to let them in. Human interaction can be scary, I totally get it. It’s safer dealing with them from a distance and behind a screen but then you become more disconnected. I’m writing this with myself in mind as well, sometimes it helps to be around other people to remind you of the good stuff you don’t see in yourself.
    “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
    -Joseph Campbell

  5. In the 170 episodes to date of my podcast, I’ve interviewed just over 80 people. Half of them have had the misconception when I ask for an interview that I am looking to dive into their personal lives and learn about them. They soon learn that I am more interested in their motorcycle story and the interview is about their motorcycle story and stories. The truth Rachael is that people that you might meet, will meet and are going to meet are likely more interested in those stories. The porch of your house if you will. Sit on the porch with them and talk about that thing you have in common with thousands of other people, the motorcycle. Ultimately, it is entirely up to you if you want to invite them inside for a cup of coffee. If not, trust me. The porch is just fine.
    And by the way, you’re quite pretty.

    Thinking about doing something funky to my hair too. Shake things up a bit.

  6. The only time I’m completely comfortable with myself when I’m riding. I don’t wear a helmet (unless required by law – no hate, please) so, I don’t have that apparatus to hide behind.
    I’m also “socially awkward” and introverted – but when I’m riding I’m the most sociable person ever! There isn’t anyone I won’t approach or talk to when I’m on a road trip. I can’t figure out why that’s true and at this point I’ve stopped wondering! I have lots more confidence and could care less about my looks while I’m on the road. At home, I’m very aware of how the world perceives me and my looks. Weird, right? Don’t be so hard on yourself, Fuzzy… you are one of a kind.

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