Excellent question. Perhaps not one I’ll answer in this post (don’t know quite yet), but excellent nonetheless.
Under 30 seconds ago, I hit a select-all-DELETE on the blog post I’d written yesterday. Which means here I am, two lines into a fresh post not really knowing how this is all going to turn out.
I wonder what’s going to happen when I put some words together? LET’S SEE.
Not so long ago, I shared one of my new headshots for acting on my Facebook page. In case you don’t subscribe to that bit of social whimsy, here it is for your consideration:
I’d recently lightened my hair back to its natural color after nearly a decade of it a rather fierce (and I felt awesomely spunky) share of deep red. I’d also been in need of headshots that were less pretty and more gritty, hence, the recent photo shoot.
After posting this, I found this message in my Facebook “other” messages from someone who follows the page:
Wow, your new headshot makes you look a lot older. I liked the other better with the black dress. So much prettier!!! You are prettier then that picture!!
First, I’m sure this person meant well. Secondly, I’m confident that this is an example of the road to hell being paved with good intentions…mixed with shards of glass (for a stronger road, of course) as blood makes an excellent binding agent. I don’t know this for sure, but I can only imagine that some don’t know (myself included) the sharp, unrefined edges of our well-meaning words.
After going through the requisite 18.73 minutes of feeling like shit and wishing someone would photoshop the worst parts of me away and why the fuck did I just bother to lose 10 pounds and on top of that, gee — thanks for making me wish that I’d been impaled by a rhinoceros on the way to my photo shoot because a bloody picture of me in a swank black dress would surely have been better than me with a tad of cosmetics sitting on a stool in a pair of jeans I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO WEAR IN A YEAR….
I realized what I really felt.
It’s not my job to be pretty.
It’s my job to tell the truth.
And this image of me tells nothing but the truth.
I remember exactly what my photographer had said to me before this photo was taken.
I remember exactly how it made me feel — something so visceral that the camera couldn’t NOT capture it.
I remember thinking the first time I saw this photo in my proofs, “Jesus. Oh man. Shit just got real.”
And I also remember thinking, “I don’t look very pretty.”
And that’s the truth.
But 100% of what’s going on in this photo is honest and real.
It’s unphotoshopped and 100% me — something we’re not too used to seeing in this world where photoshop creates more new people than accidental pregnancies.
That’s where I’ve been: doing my job.
Telling the truth. Because that’s my fucking job.
And I have someone whom I don’t even know who sent me a message on Facebook offering a compliment erring on the left-hand side to thank for helping me realize where the fuck I’ve been.
Where have you been?
The truth isn’t always pretty. Oftentimes, it’s the thing we want to hear least from the people we love most. Others, it’s what we say when we’re caught of guard or simply in the act of being ourselves before we have that chance to switch that “censor” switch on for the day to survive the world outside.
And I’ve been so wrapped up in DOING that I’ve neglected to write about doing and thinking and feeling and…well…anything.
I enjoy being unpretty. Messy.
Not having to leave the house with makeup on or have the perfectly constructed blog post filled with all the right keywords to garner a gazillion shares.
I enjoy seeing folks unsubscribe because they realized this community isn’t where they want to be or that maybe I’m a bit too close to raw for their tastes or because they realize I don’t share their same religious or political inclinations (which makes me laugh, as even I can find something of value on FOX News on occasion).
I love the feeling of seeing someone in one of my keynote sessions fidget a bit or avoid eye contact because I’ve said the ONE THING that hits too close to their current MAJOR MALFUNCTION (because it’s probably one of my current or former major malfunctions which is why I’m talking about it in the first place).
I love hearing a client explode with a sigh of relief when we’ve figured out how to STOP wasting their time and money by focusing on shit that is actually honest to where they want to go and the business they want to build and that The Joneses are no one worth keeping up with.
But most importantly, I love waking up each day and telling the truth — with my body, my words, my work.
Because it’s one thing to live a good life.
It’s another adventure entirely to live one doing my job — which is telling the truth.
Welcome back. Leave a comment (or reply to your blog email) with how you’ve been doing and what’s great in your life. And if you dare, tell me ONE THING you’ve realized to be true lately. I might do something with our collective truths. (winky face)