It’s way less rude than you first thought, so ahem a big clickbaity soz from me for that. The F word I’m talking about here is fear. And more specifically the fear of being judged. See, the F phrase doesn’t have quite the same ring to it but I’m happy if you want to call it hashtag FOBJ or something. Confession: I’ve never taken criticism well. Even when I was ten years old, I would show my mum a piece of homework – some totally elaborate short story about a flower helping her flower sister to marry the resident garden gnome probably. The second she spotted a spelling mistake, my whole world would fall apart and I’d sob all the way back up to my room where I would sit for another 4564685638 hours rewriting it. BY HAND. There were no iPads in schools back then kids, we had black and yellow pencils or Berol handwriting pens and we had the blisters to show for it.
Then there was my 2 year violin phase. And not just any old violin, oh no, this was a bright red violin. At Christmas when everyone wanted me to play, I would insist on playing behind closed doors only. Literally. Just so I could avoid meeting judgey eyeballs. Note to self: This is the girl that forced her parents into buying a RED violin and now she chooses to be shy? Ok Reesie, ok. I mean it was my own family! Even if I did sound like a fornicating fox (I really, really did), they would have told me I sounded like a Renaissance cherub playing that thing.
In that sense, not much has changed in the last 15 years because I still struggle with judgement and criticism. And while I might not snot all over myself and my Beanie Babies anymore, there are still plenty of occasions when I’ve had to replace a defensive ‘f*ck you’ with a passive aggressive ‘cheers hun’. There it is again, being a real life adult.
I would love nothing more than to say I didn’t give a tiny rat’s arse about what people thought about me because somehow that seems more reckless and admirable, but I do care. I deeply care. Now I don’t mean I care if they think my jumpsuit is unforgiving or if they think my lips look like Kylie Jenner’s before she had filler (I can see it), I mean to say I care about the person I am, or at least, the person they think I am.
I need to remind myself that whatever you do in life, you’ll be judged for it anyway. Nobody has ever gone through life being loved by everyone, not EVEN Adele. There’s officially no hope for the rest of us.
What does that say about humankind? Interesting concept isn’t it, Human-Kind. We aren’t very kind to each other at all. We’re quick to judge, we’re dismissive, we obsess over external perfection, we’re envious, we’re stubborn and all this, they say, is a a reflection of ourselves; nothing to do with the other person.
There’s a quote (oh here she goessss) in Mel Wells’s book, The Goddess Revolution that really hit home recently:
What really matters is how you think of yourself […] When you stop judging yourself, you rise above any judgement from others.
And that’s just one of the corkers. Honestly, I’m going to have to write a review of that book because it’s basically a paperback life coach. Waffle done and here’s my point: Nothing you do escapes judgement. People will disagree and take a completely irrational disliking to you regardless. Dyed your hair blonde? Some people will think that balayage you is a way better you. Others will say, what the hell was she thinking? You might have started a blog… Some people *ahem VOGUE* will think you’re a pathetic, desperate, embarrassing freebie-chasing tw*t. Others, however, will think you’re owning it. And don’t think because you’re a nice person you’ll dodge the pitfalls. Hell, people will hate you and mistrust you even more because you smile too much and it unnerves them OK! That’s just how humans work. So maybe we should call it human-never-gonna-please-you instead.
They say having confidence is not about whether someone likes you, it’s about being ok if they don’t. Admittedly, I’m not quite there yet, I’m a people pleaser to my core. But I am trying. If a girl can rip her dress up her arse crack live on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side and still laugh about it, I sure can learn to feel the fear and do it anyway, and so can you!