One of the reasons I like clothes and outfits so much is because they can speak for you. As I shy person, I often look to my clothes to do some of the talking. If I'm feeling down, I'll throw on a cozy sweater and jeans. If I'm excited, I'll wear a new sun dress. If I feel angry, like I want to kick someone, I'll wear some tough boots and my jean jacket. I don't speak up for myself very often, is the point I'm trying to make. With my clothes, at least, I can determine what I want them to say about me. Lately, though, I've been noticing more and more people speaking up for me, and it's honestly been freaking me out. My family has always done it. I'm the "baby" of the family, and have gotten used to the fact that people are going to baby me until I have babies of my own for them to baby. Baby, baby, baby, no. But I've started taking notice of people answering questions for me, making statements on my behalf, before I get a chance to do it myself.
What was worse was when I noticed that people outside of my family were doing it. I was out to dinner with people from my job, all older than me except for one person. One of them said to me, after I had eaten half of my food, "Well, what are you going to do with the rest of that, huh?" To which another person replied, "Oh, she's uncomfortable eating in front of people." Is it true that I'm uncomfortable eating in front of people? Yes. It's an inconvenient fact of my life that I explained to my two bosses the first time we went out together, so as to make the fact that I was obviously uncomfortable less awkward. Throughout the night, I noticed this pattern of people making statements for me: "She has a blog. She read at the open mic. She doesn't like eating in front of people." Now, these are all facts about myself that I have no problem sharing with people. But, just as in choosing my own outfits, I like to choose what I tell people. Having my own words bumbling out of other people's mouths is disconcerting. This has nothing to do with the people I work with, who I like very much, and it has nothing to do with my family, who I love dearly.
It's not something I ever really thought about, but it must have to do with me. It's not because I'm young, or because I'm "the baby." For some reason, I shy away from speaking up for myself. It ranges from all sorts of little insignificant moments, like raising my hand in class to asking a question at work, to bigger things, like upholding my standards for other people because I fear I'm asking too much, that I don't deserve what I want. In response, it seems that people speak for me, and most of the time at least, it's probably to help me. "She's shy, so I'll say what she probably would say in response to this situation." I know it's well-intentioned, but it's something I want to change. I write posts about self-worth all the time, though it's been a while since the last one. And this idea, of appreciating myself, and knowing that what I think and feel is worth shouting about, is something I want to embody, not just keep talking about. I'm not going to set out some plan for myself, like "speak three times in class, then go to an open mic and read for five minutes in front of strangers," but I will set an ultimate goal, which has been and still is to value myself enough to not feel like my words are foolish, to trust myself enough to give a voice to my own ideas, thoughts, and feelings.