Turning Off The Pressure To Always Be On
Apr 23, 2021
Everything is foggy, so I don’t know if it was pre-pregnancy or post-pregnancy; but I knew I looked raggedy and I didn’t care.
I was shopping for some items one day and ran into a friend of a friend who, before even greeting me, commented on my appearance, saying something to the effect of, “Oh wow, I never thought I’d see you not dressed up.”
It was one of those things where you don’t remember what they say, but you remember how it made you felt. I remember saying to myself, “How insensitive! I’m pregnant/just had a baby and I just need all the love right now.”
After giving birth, I was out again; this time, on a Saturday grabbing food and sweets from a pop-up event. Dressed in “mommy is taking a break” attire (jeans, sandals and a plain black T-shirt) I sauntered towards the event when I saw a former co-worker. The first thing out of her mouth was, “Is that you? I’m used to seeing you all dolled up and dressed.” Little did she know, after escaping my cranky, teething baby who’d just drooled and cried all over me, this was all the “dressing up” I had energy for.
A few weeks ago, I was chatting with someone when another person we mutually know passed by. I hadn’t seen her in forever, so we talked for a bit. When she left, the person I was initially talking to scoffed, “Boy has she changed, she used to be so sophisticated and always dressed nicely.”
At that point, I’d had it.
I quickly barked back telling this person, ” Leave her alone, she’s newly married with a young baby, you have no idea what that does to a woman mentally and physically. The early mornings, late nights, no time for yourself anymore, I could assure you she’s doing her best. And actually, she looks great!”
It wasn’t even my own insults that caused me to snap, but hearing one woman judge another woman based on what her preconceived, unrealistic expectations of her were, really ticked me off.
As a TV personality, a social media creator, I get it; my photos are always glossy, they always showing me in the best light and yes, I’m always dressed up. But let me announce…
I actually embrace my humanness, and love going out barefaced, dressed down and just being off. I actually do it way more than you’d even imagine.
There’s this belief that once we have an image, an idea of someone in our heads, that they must live up to our expectations of them. From the way they dress, to their personality, to their actions and reactions; and if they don’t, we’re disappointed. As humans, I guess it’s just a natural thing to do. But it’s when we voice those expectations that we begin to impose on people’s lives in ways that could make them feel uncomfortable and is downright insulting.
Imagine someone literally voicing their disappointment that you’re not dressed up when they run into you. Well muddasick!
Personally, I give of myself in so many ways in my social media and TV work. I’ve built bonds and connections with my tribe that make me feel like it should be ok to run into one of you with no makeup, in my yard clothes and just relaxed. I figured through our digital and even in-person bonding you’ve accepted me, my hyperpigmentation and all my humanness.
This plays itself out in so many other ways when people expect you to;
always be happy and cheerful because it makes them comfortable.
always give freely, because it’s what they expect of you.
always smile because, it’s socially acceptable.
Thankfully, I’ve never been one to live up to the unrealistic expectations others have of me, though is it disheartening to hear people make these kinds of remarks. But I get it, it’s how the cookie crumbles and people want YOU to live up to the you they have in their heads.
The trick here is to turn off the pressure to always be on, because, honestly, where’s the real in that?