(There is a lot to write on this particular topic, so I am going to be tackling it in a multi part series. In writing about perfection, in particular my own attempts at perfection, It might get a little raw, fine a lot raw. You have been warned)
Part One- The Rise Of The Representative
I have always wanted to be liked.
Since I was a child it has been a driving force behind so many of my actions. I don’t think this makes me any different than the average person, I think we all want that. I don’t know however how many of us go to extremes to be liked, just to be accepted.
Maybe we all do.
In Glennon Doyle’s book “Love Warrior” she lays out a concept that when I first read about it years ago it stabbed me in my heart.
She calls it “The Representative.”
It is the persona that you put on like a suit in order to be acceptable. It is defying your true self in order to “fit in.”
It is the personality we build in order to hide who we truly are, because we fear that who we truly are is not worthy of love.
When I was reading this part of the book I wanted to stop and look around for something to attack me, I felt exposed, like someone had peered into my brain and seen my deepest darkest secret. I truly thought I was amongst a minority of people that had the capacity to bury themselves in a persona that was a total fiction.
And here was a New York Times bestseller laying my secret out for the world to see.
When I was young I got labeled, the exact terms were “socially awkward” but really I was just a smart kid that other kids didn’t know what to do with. And to be fair I didn’t really have a finger on the pulse of how to navigate the social waters of elementary and middle school.
There is a kid inside me that wears thick glasses and loves books and doesn’t make excuses for using words that people don’t know.
But that kid doesn’t belong.
When I was 15 I learned an important lesson. The lesson was wrong, and I am still paying the price for it today, but I learned it nonetheless.
The lesson was “Be yourself, but not too much.”
It’s okay to be smart, but not too smart.
It’s okay to have confidence, but not too much.
It’s okay to speak up, but not too loudly.
Once I learned that I built my own version of “The Representative” and my ability to navigate social situations improved, I learned the tricks, and the things you had to do to “fit in” and it worked.
It worked so well that I decided that was who I was.
And people liked me. Or at least they liked “The Representative.”
My “Representative” would have to be something along the lines of “Mr. Perfect.”
So I presented that to the world.
And the world accepted it.
Even embraced it.
So that is who I became.
More on that tomorrow.