Saturday, October 13, 2012

Being a Fake vs. Being Your Best Self

My last post made me think about the reasons why people change, whether those changes will last, and whether people are being fakes or their best selves. One of the quotes I posted stood out for me, "Some people change when they see the light, others when they feel the heat". I believe that the changes I have made are self-improvements, I had some negative and misguided behaviours in the past, but now I am being my best and true self. I do not see myself as being a fake. In the past I think my best self was hidden due to stress, not caring enough about my self presentation, listening to the wrong people, lack of knowledge including self knowledge, not realizing my worth, and lack of self-discipline. My better self was suppressed by all of those issues, but now that I have dealt with them my true, best, and most feminine self has finally broken through and blossomed. I am not pretending to be someone I am not, I am being the woman I would have ideally been had I not struggled with those issues. It reminds me of those movies where a nerdy, dateless girl just removes her glasses, lets down her hair, and puts on a dress and suddenly everyone (including her) realizes how great she is and wonders why she was hiding herself before! I was doing that.

I do not think I was that bad but I am a high quality woman and my behaviour and appearance were not consistent with that they are. I also thought that many Black women were not carrying themselves like high quality women, maybe for similar reasons, and it bothered me to see them that way (because I do care). Some of my thoughts have also become more conservative with age, but conservative in the sense I can ignore the pressure to do things that more liberal people do that I think would be harmful to me (e.g., too much casual sex, drugs, too much drinking, not caring about my appearance, dressing too provocatively, not showing self-restraint, not planning for the future, wasting money on fashion trends, adopting new slang etc.). So basically I am able to say "NO" to the cool kids and I don't care if they call me a nerd, boring, or old fashioned for doing so. I think that not getting involved in such things makes my life easier. In my opinion liberal-minded pressure is just as strong as conservative-minded pressure, neither one is better or worse, and liberal thinking and conservative thinking both have their usefulness.

Below I have identified some of my current thoughts (A) and the thoughts of someone who is being a fake with regards to their femininity journey (B). If you have a lot of B thoughts don't feel bad. It just means you are not yet convinced (as I am ) that being more feminine is the best option for you, it will bring you benefits you are lacking, or it will bring out your true and best self. You may require more evidence from feminine role models, women who have uncovered their femininity, research evidence, and advice from experts (e.g., marriage counselors and match makers). Only after reading and seeing this evidence will you be convinced that your past behaviour was not beneficial to you and that allowing yourself to be more feminine would be an improvement. Once you think this way then enhancing your femininity will not be "acting fake" it will just be putting your best self forward to shine :) Some of this may also come with time, age, changes in preferences, and associating with different people because people do change throughout life. So take a look at the thoughts below and consider if you a an A thinker or a B thinker when it comes to enhancing your femininity:

A) I am so much better now, I was so misguided and lost before but I have finally seen the light. The real and best me has finally come out.
B) I was being myself before but now I'm being a fake. I'm doing this because people did not accept the real me and I don't know what else to do.

A) I was so mixed up before, what was I thinking? I hope I never slip back into being that person again. I have to make sure to stay away from people who want me to behave badly or settle for less the way I did in the past. I need to surround myself with people who appreciate the new me.
B) I was really great the way I was. I can't wait until I can be that person again. I will be myself with people I trust and only be my fake self in public or with people I don't know well.

A) I wish that women and men would be a bit more old fashioned. I admire the femininity of women and chivalry of men from the past.
B) I wish that women and men would be less old fashioned. The past should be forgotten because back then women were extremely oppressed and were forced to behave in traditionally feminine ways. I wasn't natural. Chivalry was oppressive and insulting to women.

A) I wish that more people would act like me because then the world would be a better place. I like me, women who are like me, and men who prefer women like me.
B) I wish that there wasn't so much pressure to act this way. If society would change and stop being so sexist, misogynist, racist, old fashioned, oppressive etc. then people like me could stop doing these useless things and just be ourselves.

A) If I knew then what I know now I would have lived my life differently. If only I could turn back time.
B) I have no regrets about my past conduct. I'm only doing this now because I think I have to. I wouldn't change if I didn't have to.

A) I wish that society was less tolerant of poor manners, swearing, and bad behaviour. It's just so gross and ugly.
B) I wish that society would stop making such a big deal about manners, swearing, and not conforming to arbitrary rules. People are too sensitive.

A) I love this dress! I will look beautiful in it and men will find me attractive.
B) This dress is okay, but I'm wearing it because no one will accept the real me so I will grudgingly put on this costume. I could care less what men think.

A) I hope one day to find someone who really appreciates and prefers the new me because that would make me feel great about myself. When people compliment my appearance and feminine behaviour I feel proud and confident that I am a great woman.
B) I hope to one day find someone who likes/loves the real me so I can stop pretending. That would make me feel great about myself. When people compliment my appearance and feminine behaviour I feel dread and shame because I will have to keep up this charade and they will never like the real me.

A) People who don't act like me have a lack of restraint and poor judgement. They cave to societal pressures to degrade themselves and settle for less. They cave to pressure to act like loose women that will hurt them in the long run.
B) People who don't act like me are brainwashed and oppressed. They cave to societal pressures to stay in line, all be the same, and not take advantage of their freedom. They should stop slut shaming and reclaim that title.

A) Women who dress too provocatively and women who are promiscuous have been brainwashed into thinking that these things are beneficial, empowering, and normal. They are degrading themselves because they have been duped by those who only want to use them. They believed the lies saying sex is no big deal and it is so great even when there is no relationship.
B) Women who dress conservatively and limit how much/the type of sex they have are oppressed and think that that this avoidance is beneficial, empowering, and normal. They are caving to the oppressive patriarchy and misogynists who want women to be ashamed of their bodies and their natural sexual urges. Men enjoy casual sex and women should too instead of attaching so much emotion to it.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Elegance,

    This blog post describes how I have been feeling about what I would term "reclaiming my femininity" these past few months. I feel that by embracing my femininity, I am getting to where I have wanted to be. Growing up, I felt pressure to hide certain traits associated with femininity, such as dressing girlishly, playing with dolls, crying (lol), or feeling generally emotional. At a couple of points in my life, I even questioned the status quo and wondered why feminine-associated traits were considered by and large inferior to masculine-associated traits, but I never really addressed that issue.

    I never felt pretty, lovable, or affectionate, and I wished for this prettiness while feeling resigned to the fact that I would always be smart, and a hard worker instead of pretty and feminine like the "girly" girls. Eventually, in college, I got sick of it when I discovered that the pretty girls still got attention, just as in high school (somehow, I had been convinced that people were more likely to "judge the insides" in university, and see me for the wonderful person I am inside). You know what I did when I felt inadequate? I looked to my friends, most of whom were pretty or beautiful or gorgeous, and copied their styles, their mannerisms, their ways of flirting, etc.

    It didn't work, because I think guys could sense that I was not being sincere. I was "pretty" out of pressure to conform, desperation, and fear. My friends continued to be approached and date...while I just sat around and wondered what I was doing wrong. Was it really as my parents and best friend were telling me, that men were only interested in sex and they were not ready for a "wife material" young woman like myself?

    It was after graduation and away from my old friends that I did some serious self-reflection and research, and came to the conclusion that I had to reclaim the femininity that I threw away as a child. And it was not just about wearing certain clothes, as I had when I was trying to be like my friends, but becoming my best self as you mentioned. Wearing feminine clothes that reflected me --these happened to be a bit more modest than what my friends in university generally wore. Taking care of my body--exercising, homemade facials, manicures/pedicures. Allowing myself to express my emotions in a ladylike manner. It's not as though I started screaming and yelling in public or anything, but that I admitted to close friends and family when I was feeling insecure, happy, wistful, regretful, excited, etc. Before then, I would just pretend that I was neutral and rational at all times because my family never encouraged any form of emotional expression or affection. I allowed myself to laugh more. To hug and receive hugs. I started reading up on etiquette, manners, marrying well, and ladylike carriage. I started learning to cook. And so many more things that I can just see are making me a more well-rounded person.

    Anyway, I didn't mean for this comment to be so long. If you read nothing else, just know this: blogs like yours have been key to discovering a part of me that I feel has been dormant for so long. My life is seriously transforming before my eyes, and I feel more empowered than I ever have. Thanks for your posts!