There’s voices in my head. From what I hear, they’re in other people’s heads, too.
(I’m not crazy, I swear.)
The voice is kinda mean to me, kinda disheartening. It tells me how I should cut my hair, how I should laugh, how much pudge I should allow to collect around my thighs and belly. It’s my own voice, but it’s not always my words.
It’s the voice that reminds me constantly that I won’t get a husband with that hairstyle,
if I keep acting like that,
if I keep talking about that.
It causes insecurity: What if I’m not actually as normal and cool as I think I am? and fear: what if I have to settle? What if I never get anyone?
Strange, how in a culture that values individuality and “being yourself,” people still uses the phrase “guys don’t like girls who ______.” If strong, independent women are in fashion, then why does someone with an independent streak a mile wide still drive home at night wondering if anyone will ever date her if they know she reads fanfiction. Wonders if when she gets engaged her fiance will ask her to grow her hair longer and fears that. Remembers the way she called someone “dude” yesterday and laughed too loudly and decides that must ruin her chances with him.
Silly things to be worried about. Sillier still that they revolve around one main problem: am I the kind of girl that guys like? Which is an even sillier question, because how on earth can there be one kind of girl that all kinds of guys like? But that’s the belief, isn’t it?
I admit I pride myself on not really worrying about whether or not I’ll get married. My view of it is basically: if it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t; it would be great, but I think can live a great life without it, too. I’ve reached a point where I don’t really care one way or the other. So it weirds me out a little when I find myself staring at pictures of celebrities and getting this clenching feeling in my chest because if only I could look/be like her, I’d end up with a hot husband like her, too.
Because The Voice isn’t about self-image or self-confidence. It’s about whether or not my self-confidence will hold up in the face of that cute barista down the street. I dress the way I want to, look the way I want to, hold myself confidently and make friends with girls and guys alike – but as soon as my thoughts enter romance-territory, there’s that Voice again, reminding me of what guys do and don’t like. It’s just what I’ve always been told. What could possibly be so very different about being friends with the guys I know and dating the guys I know that makes me freeze up and lose confidence?
I’m not here to blame anyone for what they say; but I will say that it does matter. If I’m told, directly and indirectly, that certain things I do are either attractive or unattractive to men, then what am I to believe except that my entire reason for doing anything is to be attractive to men while doing it?
The Voices were trying to be helpful. They really were. They were looking out for my future and my happiness. But in the end, you know, they’ve caused more stress than they intended. Here’s the problem with the Voices: they perpetuate not only the idea that everything I do is intended for an audience of prospective suitors, but also that I must perform for that audience.
And that’s, quite frankly, stupid.
Sure, sure, talk about private faces vs. public faces, respecting yourself, all the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. I get that. We’re all living one big improv class. But I’m still wanting to figure out why my character is the way she is, and not so much whether or not the next move I make will affect whether or not whats-his-face wants to kiss me.
I’m going to be an incredibly cliche single girl here and say that I don’t know what it’s like to be that girl that everyone has a crush on. You know the people I’m talking about: everyone likes so-and-so, everyone knows everyone likes so-and-so, and you know what sucks? So-and-so is exactly what The Voice has always told me, and I’m not like her.
So I’m not saying I want guys falling all over me – good lord, no. But I am wondering what it would be like to live without that Voice. Wondering how I could get rid of it.
Sometimes what the Voices tell me isn’t even anything anyone’s ever said. No one has ever told me, for example, that guys don’t like girls who eat as many hamburgers as I do – but it’s still there, you know, niggling at the back of my mind while I finish off that double-double and sweet potato fries. And I’m not crying out for help, here. I don’t need some guy to be a Big Damn Hero and assure me that no, no, I like it that way, the way they feel the need to do whenever a girl complains about being too curvy. Living without the Voice doesn’t mean knowing I’m dateable. It means knowing that I am whole, healthy, good, and most importantly, happy, for myself and for no one else.
See, here’s another funny thing: the only Guy who really matters – you know, the big guy upstairs, the one who died for me 2000 years ago – he doesn’t care if I cook or use slang. So why should I worry?
My purpose in life is not to be the kind of girl a guy will like. My purpose in life is not to get a guy. My purpose in life is not to be attractive.
My purpose in life is to be the kind of person I want to be, and do the things I want to do, and leave the world a better place for it.
Do you hear me, Voice? I AM HERE TO BE ME.
I am here to be me, and whether or not that group of collective humanity known as guys likes it, that is what I will be.