Imagine finding yourself three feet high on a granite island countertop, in a handstand, in a sundress, wearing a thong. Well that was me on my last beach vacation. I know, there is so much to unpack in that sentence. So much wrong with it. So much right with it.
Here is me just moments after:
Why was I up on an island? Booze and a great song.
Why was I practicing a handstand on it? Because I can.
Why was I in a sundress? Because they are comfy while still looking cute, duh.
Let’s all agree to leave the thong part alone.
Why did I combine all four? I was very fortunate to have had the chance to cohabitate with 35 fun loving people, ranging from age 15-55, in a beach house. We settled in for a week of chaos and shenanigans: partying, food prep and meals, beach time, scavenger hunts, beach olympics, and lots of laughing and singing and dancing. And handstands. Some may call it a shit show; we call it vacation.
What brought me down from the handstand? A little voice inside of my head whispering “Get down. Being bare naked just isn’t your jam. You didn’t think this through. Get down, just do it.” I used to hush this voice. I used to plow through the advice like a teenager running late for curfew. I used to consider that voice wimpy. I used to belligerently reply, Who cares if you are uncomfortable? But then awake the next day asking myself, “Why do you do such dumb things? Things that don’t feel right to you?”
Now I am working on honoring that courageous voice. I now call her Nike, after the Greek goddess of strength and victory. Natasha Scripture got it right in Manfast: A Memoir when she realized she “had to let go of what [she] didn’t need and what [she] was not; it was a real disrobing.” Bare [it] naked ladies [and gentlemen]. Are you ready? Just do it.
Am I more sensitive now or am I now confident enough to be sensitive? Confident enough to risk sharing my feelings and making myself vulnerable? Confident enough to call people out on my perception of their rudeness? Give them a chance to explain and for us to make it right.
We live in a day and age when sensitivity is a hotly debated topic. Are we becoming weak by vocalizing our pain? Or are we becoming brave enough to ask for empathy?
So I dug deep. I pondered the reason for this shift and reflected upon how I am often the butt of people’s jokes:
I am made fun of for my driving. You are f’in welcome for the ride.
I am made fun of for my lack of rhythm. I see anybody out on the dance floor enjoying myself as an awesome dance, why doesn’t everybody else?
I am made fun of for my bad singing. As for the singing, I have to agree there.
I am made fun of for not brushing or coloring or styling my hair. When I do fix my hair, people notice:).
As a child, I acquired the nicknames “spiller” and “Do-do” because of my klutziness. I reflected upon how I have always laughed it off, laughing “with them.” The comments in italics–I kept them to myself. They are examples of my wimpy inner voice. Now I listen. Now I speak up.
Here is what my reflections have revealed. Sensitive Dorothy has always been there. I am just recently realizing that her voice deserves to be heard, and not just by me. I am recently learning to risk being a vulnerable burden to others. If they can’t take it, then they weren’t worth it.
So if I call you out on something (hopefully I have done it with kindness and respect), that means I do not want to harbor resentments toward our relationship because I care about you and I care about me and I care about us. I have learned to proudly show bare naked my feelings.
I then wondered if women my age felt this same shift. For too many years, I confidently ignored my inner voice, displaying feigned confidence, but really I was insecure about baring my emotions. Now I am wide open with my hopes, dreams, desires, feelings, etc. My blog is a testament to that!
Last year, most of my blog posts chronicled dates. This year, I have been exploring a vetting process and outlining how deal breakers may help us all avoid a bad date. Now I am asking other women to look inward at what they care to bare to others. I asked Charlotte what she was willing to bare, and she chose to explain her process of creating her online dating profile:
“When starting the process of on-line dating, you have to create a profile. This is not easy for me. I’m not a writer nor someone who reveals a bunch about myself. So I started answering the questions thinking what I put down that makes me sound good.”
This is how I imagine her first drafted:
I absolutely love to be by your side while you fish. AND/OR I absolutely want to be by your side when you put your pedal to the metal of your fast car. AND/OR I want to ride bitch with you on your motorcycle. I can learn to love whatever you love. I truly hope that I have hyperbolized here, but it doesn’t matter because her inner voice interfered:
“Then it hit me….don’t I want someone who likes me for me? Do I want to lure someone in based on some ‘cool’ profile only to find we have nothing in common? So I went back and answered honestly, wrote a description that was as honest has I could be and posted pics that were flattering but real. My fiancé has often said I looked better in person than on my profile and I feel like that’s a win.”
She listened to her woman warrior whispering voice. I wonder what she named hers?
Bare [it] naked, ladies [and gentlemen]. Just do it, says Nike.