Switching Off

Published October 31, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

I need a little vent or something is going to fester and really become a problem for me.  Ok, regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a performer.  Not on a stage, like you would immediately think of a performer plying their art, but in life.  Life is my stage, and the world is my audience.  I’ve not always been like this, in fact it’s only really grown to be who I am over the past few years.

My performance of course is being a visible, nay, outlandish fat woman.  It’s being colourful, wearing over the top clothes and accessories, my bright pink hair, my visible tattoos, my outgoing personality.  I love that part of my personality and a lot of the time, that’s who I am and it’s where I am usually most comfortable.

But I am finding the pressure to perform that is coming from others is actually detracting from my love of performance for myself.  While the world is my audience, it’s not for them that I do it.  I am finding that people are coming to expect me to be “on” all the time, which is simply not possible, and it leaves me feeling a sense of obligation to be something, which is not what I believe anyone should have to carry.

On Friday, I wore an outfit to work (pic here) that was a brown top, camel coloured skirt with a few leopard print accessories.  I loved it, but got very tired of people saying to me that I looked “Boring today.” or “This isn’t how you dress.”  It IS how I dress, when I feel like dressing that way, and I dress how I choose for me, not to amuse others, so if someone finds it boring, they need to go amuse themselves elsewhere.

It’s the same as my personality.  Most of the time I’m loud, raucous, full of laughter and goofiness.  But occasionally, I need to come back into myself and spend some quiet time just existing, without having to be in performance mode.  However when I do, I’m plagued with people asking me if I’m ok, if something is wrong, or suggesting I’m in a bad mood.

I know it’s because people love the performance side of me, and I’m so blessed to have people in my life who accept me as I am, and allow me to be the performer that I am.  But it becomes a vicious circle that the more others expect me to be “on”, the more I feel the need to retreat, and then the more they pressure me to come back to “on”.

The tutu is becoming a bit of a problem.  I love it.  My friends love it.  So they want me to rock it all the time, every time I mention I’m considering what to wear, the response is “The tutu!!  Wear the tutu!!”  Which makes me feel my dressing is not for me, but to entertain others.  It can’t be like that, it has to be 100% for me, or it doesn’t work.  I am not a performing monkey, dancing for applause.  I perform because it is who I am, not because it makes other people happy.  If it does make other people happy, then that’s an awesome bonus, but ultimately it has to be for me.

So here’s what I, and probably a lot of other natural performers, need from the people in their lives.  When we say “What will I wear today?” the answer isn’t every outlandish item they own.  The answer is “What do you feel like wearing today?”  9 times out of 10, we will answer with what we’re feeling like wearing, and then feel free to suggest the item from our wardrobe that you know and love that fits that feeling.  But don’t fall into the whole “Dance, monkey!  Dance!” thing that is the default response most people have when they are talking to a loved one who is a performer.

I love you friends, just as you are, whether that’s the outlandish, loud, extroverted ones, or the ones who are contained and introverted, or any of you that sit somewhere in between.  I love that you accept the part of me that many people reject or ridicule.  Even those of you that I make nervous with my extroversion accept that side of me.   But I need you to love me as I am, whether that be the performer or the contained.

6 comments on “Switching Off

  • Hi Kath,

    I love the outfit you posted the picture of and I love all the outfits you wear. I too wear clothes that make me feel good and I dress in accordance with MY style. No matter how “outrageous” or “bland/boring” it is. Some days I dress “classy” other days I dress tomboy.

  • This post made me feel very… uncomfortable. You are no-one’s dancing monkey and you shouldn’t feel the need to act against a certain way if you don’t want to.

    On the other hand, it’s great that you have a job where you can dress however you like!

    • Gina I can mostly dress however I like. I do tone it down considerably a lot of the time. Sometimes I would love to crack out the hot pink and black striped thigh-highs, the tutu and a tank top but I know it’s not appropriate for work. However, I do believe that people need to measure my merit in the workplace on my productivity, capability and willing to get things done, not my appearance.

  • Ah yes, I deal with this occasionally, too. I think what it boils down to for is the simple fact that we are all multi-faceted and unique individuals. When we’re seen in a single dimension in someone’s eyes, say, like a cartoon character, they cannot handle the reality that we are individuals with unique and varying needs and desires. Heaven forbid one try to be more than one thing! But yes, it’s sadly how much of the world is. I try to stay true to who I am and what I want and take suggestions into consideration. Ultimately? It is me (or in this case you) who has to wear whatever it is and until they walk around in your tutu, they just won’t understand what that’s like. =0)
    Great post, Kath!

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