That thing I said I was gonna do? I did it.
I came out. On Facebook. And as if that weren’t enough, I followed it up by fully coming out at work today. Like, I showed up at the office in a wig (complete with kick-ass fuchsia highlights) and makeup.
The great FB experiment was fucking epic. People were WAY more accepting and supportive than I expected them to be. Affirming, even. People I haven’t had a proper conversation with since high school came out of the woodworks and told me they were proud of me and that what I was doing was brave.
I don’t think it could have gone any better.
Work today was good, too, though not as over-the-top. No one was mean or unaccepting, but I didn’t get the overload of supportive, affirming communication that Facebook (fucking Facebook, y’all!) served up.
I got nervous about stupid shit, like going to the bathroom, and I thought too much about how quiet people were around me before one friend told me I was over-thinking it (I was) and another told me I was absolutely not allowed to slink back into the shadows.
I’m out. You don’t go back. You don’t embrace courage and then hide.
Get scared? Sure. You can get scared. But you don’t give up ground you’ve won. You stand tall and proud and lean into being yourself.
And then I got home, feeling exhausted but grounded, and I ate dinner and I thought about the day. And . . . oh, lookie. There it was. My old frenemy—shame. I felt ashamed that I’d done something brave and then, the gremlin in my head insisted, fucked it all up by over-thinking some details and feeling scared.
No, no, no. OMFG, NO.
I had to set myself straight. “Look, Ashley,” I said. “This is dumb. You did a brave thing. Who cares if you didn’t do it perfectly? That’s not even the point. Just be proud that you did a brave thing and don’t you dare put yourself down for not doing it perfectly.”
Because that’s the shitty thing I sometimes do. I tear down my victories by analyzing the shit out of them (yes, it’s messy) and making myself feel bad for any teeny, tiny little flaw. STU-PID.
Stupid because “perfect execution” isn’t even a thing. No one does that. It’s not possible. And stupid because your entire reality is defined by what you choose to pay attention to.
I know. It sounds like I’m trying to pitch you on the Matrix. One, I’m not. Two, if I were, you’d buy it. Three, who wouldn’t take the blue pill?! Seriously. And four, even if this all sounds a little philosophical, you can only pay attention to so many things. The things you pay attention to? That’s your reality.
You don’t have to like it, but that’s how it is.
So honing in on the flaws? Dumb. Don’t do it. That’s what I told myself and that’s what you should tell you, too.
So I laid off, accepted that I dipped into insecurity a bit . . . but recovered, damn it! And then I let it all go. Or, as a friend said, “It’s buried.”
Which I like. It implies death, which is appropriate.
So . . . yeah, I’m not sure how to wrap this mess up. I’ve kinda strayed all over the place. But the point is that I did a thing. It was a scary thing. At one point, late in the thing, fear crept in on me and I handled it a little less than gracefully, but that’s okay.
And that’s what you should take from this. Hell, that’s what you should do. THE THING. The thing you need to do that you’re scared to do. And even if something minor goes off the rails while you do the thing, that’s okay. Don’t despair. Just keep on moving and give yourself a break.
I mean, you did THE THING. That shit takes courage. Also, I did the thing, too. I’m out.
That’s kinda cool, huh?