A Thought about Personal Perception

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Let me first start off by saying that this is a weird post to write. It' strange because even though I don't really filter myself on this blog, I rarely go into topics that are me-centric. Usually, they are overarching topics that involve groups that I am apart of and as a result I have an opinion on them. I am a black woman and  I have opinions on things that involve black women. I am also plus sized and I have an opinion on fashion as it pertains to (and ignores) plus sized women. But aside from my introduction post, most posts I write aren't as me-centric as this one will be.

I've been in a continuous slump of how to present myself both offline and online. And it's been happening for as long as I can remember. At first it was a conflict because I wanted to be so many things and look so many ways. At that time the multiplicity of people just wasn't a thing in my mind and I didn't realize I could be anything and everything I wanted. I wanted to be emo and punk but I also wanted to be as cute as a button and have that sort of feminine dolly look about me. It also became a case of not seeing black women who were into those looks and having a basis to set myself upon, you know?

Now it's different. I've been lucky and blessed really to see the emergence of black women in every look I can imagine and then some. I've also come to realize that I don't have to stick to one look. I can change it up everyday and still feel like I'm being true to myself and the aesthetic of things I like. But I still have an internal conflict going on. Everyday it would get a little worse and it's an overwhelming feeling at times.

It's a pressure to be pretty that no one but myself is inflicting upon me. I don't have to be pretty or choose to present myself in ways that relate to being pretty. I don't even have to present myself in a way that is remotely attractive or is normal or whatever. I don't have to really do anything. And I full well know this but I still can't feel comfortable posting pictures of myself that I feel aren't pretty. There's a pressure to be pretty. I'm not even going to discuss whether or not I think I'm pretty or whatever because that's really not at the heart of the issue. It's the feeling that I should be conforming to some idea of pretty. There are so many versions of pretty and I feel like I have to fit into some box of pretty.

So I kind of did something a little weird. Well not that weird. I deleted Ig and then signed back up for it. I took a week-long break in between it and let me tell you I got a lot of stuff done. I read alot during this time and I came to realize that IG took up a bit of time of my life. There's nothing wrong with that of course but I mean I think I could be using that time to do other things.

Anyway what happened was that I kind of vented all my issues and ideas about this pressure to feel and to present as pretty (to my friend) and came back and did what I wanted to do. Which is to present myself in a way that is very me and isn't necessarily pretty.

And so far? It's working pretty well. I've got my images all set up ready to post and truthfully I like it. Instead of focusing on how pretty or not I look, I just think about whether or not this picture is me and also is it fun? I think that so much of personality is taken up by how dramatic, and silly, and whimsical I am. And I feel like my pictures should reflect that. 

I guess what I want to say is that personal perception of self is hard to define. It's hard to look like you feel and to be content with that. It's even harder when you're not sure exactly how you wish to present yourself in a way that is cohesive to how you feel. As scary and overwhelming and impossibly confusing it is getting there, when you do get to the point where you think your outside matches your inside, it can be a relief and wonderful. Many people don't really understand this or at least acknowledge how great it can feel to in sync.

But I can tell you as someone who is slowly finding out how she wants to be perceived and the ways in which I can do this, it feels really great. It's a challenge some days because I think that the way I want to be perceived and the way I present myself isn't always the best and doesn't look that great to the people around me, and other's perceptions of me is something I struggle with. But it's all a work in progress and everyday I slowly just stop worrying about how others perceive me.
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