I want to be ok with who I am.
People like me, we don’t have role models. There’s no icon for the middle-aged, average looking, oddly shaped, socially awkward, deep thinking, anxiety driven woman. There’s no magazine cover that features anyone like us. There’s no tv show where the main character is someone we can look at and say “That was written for us!”
I don’t even know how many of us are there. I just know there’s me and it makes me feel uncomfortable sometimes and lonely other times to know I have no identity in mainstream culture. I never see me personified. I never see me represented.
But how many thousands of other people feel the same way? We are so complex, so made of hundreds of different attributes that it’s nearly impossible to have all of us represented somewhere, whether it be in ads for clothing stores or movies or any other place where you see the idealization of human beings. Yet most of all of us want to be recognized as having a place in the world, as being a part of a larger whole. We want to look up from a book in which the protagonist reminds us of ourselves to see someone just like us on the television; someone well-liked and approved of by the masses. Because if the public approves of some famous middle-aged, average looking, oddly shaped, socially awkward, deep thinking, anxiety driven woman then they likely approve of me, right?
And then I think, why do I want approval for being me? Why do I need anyone but myself to accept who and what I am and what I look like and how I behave and how all those things together make up my entire being? Why do I need to know there are others just like me?
Because it makes me feel less alone? Maybe.
Some people spend their whole lives looking for acceptance. Parents, teachers, bosses, friends, the lady at the perfume counter in Macy’s. Looking for acceptance everywhere from everyone, even from the people - especially from the people - who seem to have an abhorrence for their certain type of persona. So if there’s someone like us out there, some kind of unofficial spokesperson who looks and talks and acts like we do but happens to be in the public eye and is liked and even loved, we can point at them and say, “See, you like me. You like ME.”
So if you happen to find your kind on a magazine cover or at a podium accepting an award it becomes a breakthrough of sorts. And if you never find that, you walk around wondering, where are my people? Where are all the others who are like me? Or am I alone? And why can’t I be ok with that if I am?
There are small, isolated moment when I think it’s great being me. But those moments are fleeting. Because if it’s so great being me, why aren’t there thousands of middle-aged, average looking, oddly shaped, socially awkward, deep thinking, anxiety driven women walking around with their heads held high, being lauded by the masses just for being who we are?
We want to identify with something more than ourselves. We want to be able to look at someone and say “You get it. You get me.” And if that person is a public icon, then we can step back and say “Everyone gets it. Everyone gets me.”
In a life that is little more than a search for acceptance, that’s all one wants.
And maybe the search has to be not for someone like ourselves, but for the reason we need that acceptance at all.