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Guest Post: Being Youer than You

March 4, 2011

This is the last week of Amy’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? series at the Never True Tales. I’ve asked Sean from Average Supermom to join me because as soon as I started following her on Twitter and reading her posts, I was impressed with her honest writing, her open yet commanding voice. Something I’ve learned through blogging is that a person’s writing voice–one they’ve practiced and put effort into–is possibly their most authentic. So I clink my virtual glass of wine to you, Sean!

Enjoy, comment, click back over to read some of the fifteen posts she mentions. They’re good! (Which is why I asked her to be my neighbor, of course.)

Being Youer Than You

by Sean Wilson

When Jana asked me to write a guest post for her blog, I did a double-take. Wait, was she asking me? After I verified that yes, she really was, I spent three weeks stressing about what to write. See, I’m new at this blogging thing. I have 15 posts on my blog and zero subscribers.  I was worried – will people like what I write? Will they accept me? Will her readers throw virtual tomatoes at me?

To soothe my fears I looked around Jana’s blog to see what other guest posters had written. Maybe I could ‘model’ my writing after someone else’s and fit in more easily? And then I thought I could just be myself.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Seuss

Yes, I used a quote. At least it wasn’t a definition – so amateur.  But this quote really means something to me. All my life I’ve worried about what other people think. I was always on the cusp of the cool crowd even as an adult. I never was truly accepted by any clique. My self-doubt led people to view me as stand-offish and arrogant when in reality I just didn’t know how to open myself up to others. I was always so quick to assume that everyone was judging me. When I would meet new people, my head filled with disparaging thoughts: My hair is too stringy. I don’t have the right jeans/purse/shoes. I don’t know all the words to every Rolling Stones song like they do. It was paralyzing.

When I was younger, I would sometimes try to dress like the cool kids or pretend to like the same music they did.  This never worked so I just became a loner in ripped jeans and combat boots. As I got older, it wasn’t much different. I tried to drink as much beer as the cool girls and tried to keep up with their all night partying. All that did was make me sleepy and fat. And we had nothing in common except for drinking and partying.

After seeing my daughter Ava deal with cliques in her pre-school class last year (yes, four year old mean girls really do exist), I decided it was time to lead by example.  It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, but I’ve realized there’s no reason to be so guarded. Life is too short. And opening up to new people has been very liberating. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I could strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. Now, it’s second nature for me. I am now comfortable enough in my own skin to put myself out there and see what happens. I make small talk with the guy at Starbucks. I smile when I walk by someone and they smile back, most of the time. And I listen. A lot.

Don’t get me wrong – I still have times when I think I’m a complete tool and every word coming out of my mouth is the dumbest drivel ever spoken. I sometimes see people look at me funny when I’m talking and immediately clam up. But the kicker is that the old me would never have spoken up in the first place. I want Ava to see that there’s no reason to be afraid of being yourself. I want her to know that following the herd isn’t always what’s best. And being genuine is the biggest gift you can give.


Read more from The Never True Tales series here.

Read more Average Supermom here.

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