We all go through life looking for acceptance, looking for approval, for praise, for validation, but for what? In the age of social media, everybody is putting themselves out there on a second by second basis but are you really putting yourself out there? We embody this persona that makes people believe we're confident, that we're living life to the fullest, that we're being our true selves, but take a step back and question that. Are you genuinely expressing yourself in a way that represents your soul? Or are you modifying it so that the masses will "like" it. Sure, when you're constantly exposing your life on Instagram, for example, there's always going to be glimmers of your authentic self, but are you holding back out of fear of looking stupid. Did you delete that Insta story because you acted without any inhibitions but didn't want others to think you were "too weird"? Did you edit your photo to make yourself seem more attractive? Are you curating your feed to make it seem like you're living a dream life? If you didn't answer 'yes' to at least one of those questions, much respect to you, but individuals like that are far and few between.
I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you about my personal struggle with "looking stupid". As a pre-teen, teenager, and young adult, I was extremely shy. I was always the "sweet, quiet girl" even to my close friends, but deep down that wasn't really me. I held my quirky side back out of fear of making a fool of myself. In middle school and high school, I was so scared of being "weird" or "different". I wanted so desperately to try different things because I was so curious about life but I didn't because I was terrified of, I'll say it again, "looking stupid". But what does that really mean? Who decided that certain acts portray you a certain way? Why was I hesitant to say things or act "out of character"? Just for the comfort of other people!?
As I've grown into a woman in her twenties, I've torn down quite a bit of those walls. I don't always hold my tongue when I want to speak; I'll embarrass myself in front of complete strangers. I've finally gotten to a point were I don't care what John and Sally are thinking about me. But that little monster that says "don't do that, those people over there aren't going to like it" still likes to join the conversation. I still find myself questioning myself when I'm about to do, or say, or post something that people don't expect of me and only very recently have I finally made the realization that I'm tired of living like that. I want to be stupid. I want to invite that scary feeling of not knowing what the outcome will be. I want people to tell me that they don't like what I'm putting out there because that's what helps you grown. As a person, as an artist, as anything; when you're not receiving criticism it's a sign that you're not trying hard enough.
I work in the fashion/blogger/boutique world and I love it but it has it's down sides. I've always loved it because there is always a sense of wonder and a strong drive of creativity in that world but sometimes it comes with a price. I've noticed that many times everybody starts shaping into the same cookie cutter. All the content being distributed is a regurgitation. I myself have fallen into the trap of creating "cute" content because that's what sells or that's what's popular but it's not me. I crave edginess. I crave images that are thought provoking. Just yesterday I watched a documentary about a very successful photographer that spoke about doing this to the extreme. Creating images that really get people riled up. While watching, I had a surge of inspriration. It's like something clicked in my head. I need to be producing things that are more than just "pretty". It might make me look stupid, but, hell, who else is going to do it if not me? Why should I hold back these ideas circling through my mind? They may be unconventional, they may be inappropriate, they may be lots of things but why should I keep them locked up? I've endured a great deal of depression and anxiety from holding myself back. I've always endured those same feelings from putting myself out there. But I've noticed that although it might be frightening to experience those emotions the result of releasing whatever it is you're holding back is much more gratifying than keeping it locked away only to creat more turmoil with yourself.
Now that I've spiraled in too many different directions, I'll bring it all back in with this statement: Stop being fearful! Don't let that fear control you. Use it. Channel it. Let it take you to places you'd never thought you'd go. Take that fear by the horns and enjoy the wild ride it takes you on!