Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf published in the Albert Lea Tribune March 3, 2014
Recently I was browsing on the Internet and I came across an article on one of the Hollywood celebrity pages. The article had pictures of celebrities, women celebrities without their makeup. Next to their unmade-up faces were their public faces all glammed up.
The thought crossed my mind that it is no wonder we women and young girls have image problems, though I think that changes as women get older and feel more comfortable about knowing who they are. I wouldn’t recognize Sofia Vergara from “Modern Family” or Nicollette Sheridan from “Desperate Housewives” and “Knots Landing” fame without their makeup. Not that there is anything wrong with the way the celebrities look without their makeup, but the makeup does hide those age spots and wrinkles for some older celebrities that us older women seem to moan and groan about.
The article actually had a picture of Barbie from Barbie Doll fame without makeup. It made me wonder why they don’t have a Barbie without makeup. Would it not sell? There has been much hype about Barbie’s skinny figure and the thought that it give girls the wrong idea about what they should look like. I played with Barbie’s and I never once thought that I should have a figure like Barbie and I didn’t.
The article made me think back through my life and what influenced me when I was younger and trying to find out how to fit into my skin and the society I lived in. I wasn’t influenced by the movie stars or the dolls I played with. As I got older and lived in our society I was influenced by the people around me and their thoughts about the way things should be.
I am going to share a little about that today because I have to think there are more people that felt like I did. Possibly some of the younger adults feel out of place in their role in society now. I have found sharing our experiences may help someone else. I am not whining. I made the choices I did and let those opinions influence me. I wasn’t yet comfortable in my skin.
I love to paint. I like to do watercolor. I like to use acrylics. I like to paint birdhouses or anything I can get my hands on. I am not a conventional painter. I don’t do straight lines. I don’t paint beautiful scenery. If I did, it wouldn’t look like the work of Thomas Kinkaid and other beautiful artists. Many years ago there was a project to make lighthouses and sell them in church. It was a painting party.
Most of the people there painted these beautiful perfect lighthouses. I didn’t. I got creative with my painting, and I loved it, but I could tell by the comments that my lighthouse was not up to snuff. They didn’t outright tell me that they didn’t like it; it was the looks and the subtle comments. I bought my own lighthouses because I knew they didn’t live up to the expectations of others. I didn’t want to be crushed when no one bought them. After that experience, I quit painting for a long while because I felt less than adequate at the task.
The same could be said for my singing. In grade school it depended on what teacher I had as to what grade I got in singing. One year I actually got an A. The rest of the years I got a C. I started singing more as the years went on. I didn’t know whether I was an alto or a soprano. I found out I was an alto. I didn’t know how to find my notes. I was lucky enough at one point that the choir director in a choir helped me along and accepted me good or bad into choir. Because you see, one of the reasons I was shy about singing was because around that same time someone else told me I couldn’t be in their group because I wasn’t good enough. I hadn’t asked to be in that group. They assumed because my friends were in it that I wanted to be there. I didn’t, but that didn’t matter when I was made to feel that I didn’t measure up. It was like they were heading me off at the pass so I wouldn’t ask to join their group.
It wasn’t until one day a friend and I were out and about and having fun and we started singing for fun. This friend said to me, “You have a good voice.”
It was then I realized that it didn’t matter that I couldn’t join the group; I could still sing and feel good about it. I almost quit the other larger group I was in at that time because of one opinion.
I didn’t have enough faith in myself to not let these experiences bother me. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to belong. I wanted to be liked. I did it at the expense of stifling the talents I did have because they were different from those that society expected.
If you have a talent, if it is a crazy talent, if you see colors where others see black and white, embrace it. We need those talents too. And if you want to try something new and enjoy it, go for it. We don’t have to be good at everything. As long as we enjoy what we are creating, cute or ugly, it is creativity.
Recently my world has expanded to new friends in new places that embrace their talents. They, too, in their lives felt at times like they didn’t belong in their world. It was those same talents that others didn’t understand that led them to those that did understand. These artists kept on going until they found their niche.
Don’t give up. Years back, those that I spoke about earlier weren’t trying to be mean. They felt comfortable in their world and they didn’t understand mine. We can only feel accepted if we accept ourselves.