She said to a room full of people, “What do you see when you look at me?” Worried what would come next she continued on in a strong voice, “yes, be comfortable and tell the truth.” She wondered:
- What if they say you are fat?
- What if they say you are ugly?
- What if they just stare because why would they tell you what they truly think.
- Yes it is that BAD.
Never did it cross her mind that the words that followed would ignite her soul. She had an image of who she thought she was and what she puts out there. But she knows all too well that perceptions are realities, so what if they saw that one time she snapped across the room cause she just couldn’t take more. Or what if they noticed she didn’t smile back and wave.
There is a risk to living out loud. I am turning 40 in two months and it has taken me this long to know I love people who live out loud. The ones who say what they are thinking and apologize to no one for being authentically themselves. The courage it takes to be who you are in a world that tells you constantly who to be is a beautiful thing full of grace for me.
It isn’t that I don’t appreciate others that don’t live out loud. It is just I put myself out there consistently and I am not fake about who I am. Rarely do others not know where they stand in my eyes. It is something I value in myself and others.
So as I asked the question, “What do you see when you look at me?” and my nerves tried to get the better of me with all the “what if’s” but then I began to wonder what if it just didn’t matter. Can I change if they think I am fat and ugly? Nope. And do I care if they just stare because they can’t truly say what they think because it is that BAD. Again nope.
And it isn’t that I don’t care. I do. I care what others think, but not to the extent that I stop being me. I live out loud every single day. I honor myself. I honor who I am and who I have fought to be. That was not an easy battle and I am not even sure when I won. But I did win.
The world is a hard, cruel beast of a place and living an authentic life is a beautiful thing. So when she did ask she was proud of whom she had become because they said, “She is herself proudly and doesn’t care what others think.” And she knew she won.
Literally Living Out Loud, -MR