can you see me?

Thursday, October 5


So I was working with a friend on defining her personal style today. One of the questions I asked her was, "when you get dressed in the morning and leave your house, do you want your clothes to help you blend into the crowd or do you want people to notice you?"
And her answer, although on the apologetic side, was, "Well ... I don't know ... I like to be noticed."
And I thought, yes.
YES!
Courageous honesty. I want to be seen. I want to be recognized. Even in the the seemingly inconsequential: Yes I do want others to see my style and connect with what I'm wearing.

So why is that so scary to admit? Why is it scary for even me to admit?? I mean I have a public blog about wearing clothes for goodness sakes, and it still feels vulnerable for me to say, "yeah girl, I want to be noticed." Why do we, the females of this earth, the predominant players on social media, have the hardest time admitting that we want to be seen. And not in the way that we're used to. Not in the way that involves being desired. But being seen in the way that requires us to own having desire.

It's the game we play amongst ourselves on the internet all day, behind our instagram accounts and our blogs, hoping to be noticed and heard and acknowledged and validated, all the while perpetually down-playing the efforts we make in order to do so. What if we just gave ourselves permission to mutually acknowledge each other's honest human need for significance. Permission for ourselves and for others to say, judgement free, "Here I am. Look at me for a minute. I want to take up space." We post beautiful pictures of our lives, of our families, of our homes, of ourselves, and we shrug it off as frivolous and silly and even disconnective, when truly, the only underlying question beneath all of it is, "can you see me?" But we don't admit that. Because no one wants to look like they're trying to be seen, and yet we're all trying our flipping asses off.

This has been such a part of the blogger/influencer game in particular. When people first started to ask how online platforms could be grown, I feel like everyone was just shrugging and saying, "man I don't even know! It just happened!" No one admitted to wanting it. No one admitted to implementing strategy. Heaven forbid you'd admit to wanting to make a living off of it. The truth is, when I first started writing, way waaay back in the day, I would comment and connect with others who were starting their blogs like it was my job. I wanted my words to be read. My life to be known. And I made the effort to make it happen. And then I remember other bloggers being made fun of and shamed when they referred to what they were doing as their "job", so I quickly learned, "Oh! So that's how we do it here. We don't try. We just happen." And the pretending began. In fact, the appearance of not trying was such a part of my psyche for years, that I held myself back from altering my status quo and going after what I wanted, because it would've meant making a very public effort of trying. And that felt way too risky to admit I wanted something different, and then maybe fail at getting it.

I want to stop those patterns. I want to want. I want to be known - and own that. I want to belong to myself more deeply and take responsibility for being a whole person. I have seen what it looks like when a woman side-steps knowing herself and owning her desires until she literally breaks, and then triggers a ripple effect in those who surround her. Which is why when I heard this thought once, it was like a gong being smashed into my head: "If you don't take the time to know yourself, honor yourself, and express yourself, you require everyone else around you to manage your sense of self. It's selfishness in the name of selflessness."

*can we take a moment of silence*

Our goodness as women, is expressed in many ways, but sacrificing ourselves to the point of self-betrayal is never one of them. Own what you do. Own what you want. Be seen. Be known. And kick some ass.

21 comments:

gabriela kleeman said...

thanks for your honesty. I feel that this is very much a cultural thing. I am Hispanic and feel that women are less apologetic in Latin America when it comes to being sexy and feeling pretty. I wish in the U.S. we would be more comfortable with the idea that we can take care of ourselves and it's ok to want to look good (by no means does it mean that we are less of a mother, businesswoman, etc.) So, as you said in your post, we play this game of seemingly being casual but still looking good...not too over the top.

Victoria B. said...

I have never commented on a stranger's blog before but this was too excellent of a post to ignore (see what I did there) :) I think the quote that resonates with me the most and completely parallels your post is from Mindy Kaling's book: "People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake. I know I sound like some dour older spinster on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man’s touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don’t understand how you could have self-confidence if you don’t do the work.

I work a lot. Like, a lot. I feel like I must have been watching TV as a kid and that cartoon parable about the industrious ants and the lazy grasshopper came on at a vital moment when my soft little brain was hardening, and the moral of it was imprinted on me. The result of which is that I’m usually hyper-prepared for whatever I set my mind to do, which makes me feel deserving of attention and professional success, when that’s what I’m seeking."

kristen said...

boom baby.

Christina Crane said...

I love this!!! Honestly, why do a I feel bad for wanting people to recognize what I have learned and can bring to this earth? Especially if it might resonate with someone else! I love your words and Inlove tour writing and I love your honesty. Preach mama PREACH!

Michelle said...

Yes. And yes!

tracy said...

This is so good. I almost teared up. Thank you for this.

Anonymous said...

You speak a truth I've never been able to put into words. Thank you.

Moddie Blog said...

YES.

Monica Packer said...

This makes me more brave to pursue my goals, and to do so with real, public intention. Thank you, Sydney.

Rachel Jones said...

This quote at the end got me. Because a lot of times I don’t claim the greatness that I have and so if I don’t it leave it up to people to decide whatever the wind may throw at them. "If you don't take the time to know yourself, honor yourself, and express yourself, you require everyone else around you to manage your sense of self. It's selfishness in the name of selflessness." I am going to be creating. A video next week about what I offer and I have been frozen because I feel like if I come off as I think I’m awesome people will judge that. I am so worried about what others think I don’t speak and I don’t feel like what I speak is worth speaking I guess. I will ponder those words more and hope to be able to share authentically how I can help others discover their truth. Thanks Syd! So glad we met a couple months back! You really are darling! Thanks for owning you!

Rachel Jones

Molly Garvin said...

HELL yes girl, hell yes!!

Anonymous said...

Girl, you can WRITE. I have always loved your writing and have been following your recent evolution. You are inspiring! We see you! Keep preaching sister; there's a huge sisterhood out here listening. ❤️ -Makaila

Kait said...

Yes!!! Thank you for these words. I definitely feel the same way.

Lacey said...

Yes! Yes. So refreshing.

Anonymous said...

I am a man. When I read this post, I couldn’t help but think of how the world hurts women and overshadows your true desires and expression with false pressures to conform to “perceived” social norms. This serves no one and hurts many.
There is a false idea that if you are confident and act like it you are being prideful. And if you are self-deprecating or silent you are humble. This is a lie and needs to be corrected. Real humility brings confidence and being self-deprecating is prideful and selfishness.

Women, as a husband my confidence and happiness is directly tied to “how I perceive” my wife’s state of mind. When I feel that she is unhappy, stressed or not satisfied I become those same feelings because I want her to be happy and satisfied. Nothing would make me more hurt or feel more ashamed in myself than if I found out she was bottling up/hiding parts of her true self to not disappoint me or in fear of judgment from me. I love, value and cherish the opinions of my wife especially when they disagree with my own (as most of the time they do) or they are not what I expect her the display.

It takes too much energy trying to hide your true self and to constantly remember all the aspects of yourself that you are “not allowed” to display.

Please share your full self with us. Let us know your hopes and dream. Let us know what you need and what you want and what you think would be nice to have. Let us know how we can help. You are all amazing please help us know the real you.

Kortnee McCarthy said...

Tears. Here they are, welling up despite my desire for them to just vanish. WOW, Sydney. You've put into words what I have been mulling over. "Shouldn't I be content with my quiet little life? it's so sweet, regardless of who sees it." But here it is... that desire. That normal, innate, and TOTALLY FINE desire to be seen. I have some homework to do. This completely caught me off guard, and yet here I am with new truth, and we both need some time together.

Thank you.

Kelly Herzberg said...

OH. MY. GOD. I rarely write/say "God" because it seems like "goodness" is more acceptable. But it seems applicable here. Because I AM SO OVERWHELMED AND TAKEN BY THIS POST. I AM SPIRITUALLY TINGLING! There seem to be no words! I'm speechless. Wordless. But I am not feeling-less. I have so many feelings buzzing around in me: Holy sh*t! This is me! I'm not a blogger. And I want to be KNOWN. SEEN. LOVED BECAUSE OF MY SEEN-NESS AND MY KNOWN-NESS. And I want people to KNOW that I want to be known! Like: YES. We all want to be known! Just as you said it in your super articulate post. You have a beautiful gift.

Just think about how our cultural standards have dictated this for us. One small example: The French woman ideal that is sold to us in the US -- be pretty, but not TOO pretty and DON'T LET ANYONE KNOW YOU ARE TRYING. Because sexiness lies in not trying too hard. This idea has run rampant and it's so embedded in my psyche that I didn't even realize it was there until you wrote this beautiful post. Oh thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I have some homework to do, too. Like Kortnee. And like Makaila, I'm watching and listening and following and inspired, too. And like the husband who wrote above, I think the world is and will be a better, more beautiful, more inclusive, more loving space when all women (all people really, but ESPECIALLY us women) share themselves truly, authentically, openly, unapologetically.

<3

Mariah Robinson said...

Oh. My. gosh. Sydney just.. this! I have followed you from the beginning, back in your byui days. You are actually one of the few accounts I still follow because you have always been so refreshingly honest, whitty, and real. But this might be my favorite post of all time. Your honesty and vulnerability is so incredibly refreshing, I just want to hug you! You get it girl! The world needs more of you!

Mariah Robinson said...

Oh. My. gosh. Sydney just.. this! I have followed you from the beginning, back in your byui days. You are actually one of the few accounts I still follow because you have always been so refreshingly honest, whitty, and real. But this might be my favorite post of all time. Your honesty and vulnerability is so incredibly refreshing, I just want to hug you! You get it girl! The world needs more of you!

Who is G? said...

preach it sistah!

Hannah Lundy said...

I'm going to be re-reading this for a while. Thank you for your words and empowerment!!

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