When Alexandra Burke took part in Strictly Come Dancing last year she got a lot of grief on social media. She was slammed for being ‘too confident’, for wanting to win ‘too much’. Many people didn’t warm to her, thinking she had FAR too much self-belief.
She spoke out a few days ago saying that the British public in general seems to have an issue with confident women. It was featured here in The Guardian, agreeing with her and highlighting what we all know — i.e. that everyone loves an underdog and that there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
I watched Strictly; I didn’t think she came across like that at all. I saw the stuff written about her on Twitter and I found it mean. At the time of her being in the show I actually read a few articles about her, I can’t find the exact one now (the problem with consuming SO much content these days) but essentially it took this very point and discussed that we all tend to favour women in the public eye who are nice, self-deprecating and super happy.
The reason I’m opening with this information (I’m going to make a point now, honestly) is because this is something I have thought about on & off my whole life. Because I never felt as though I fitted into that ‘popular, sweet, happy girl’ camp and I hadn’t always felt cool with how I came across to people.
I’m not talking about my looks, or clothes, or my dress size or how my face looks (for once) but I’m talking about my character and personality.
Throughout the years — especially when I was at school — I struggled. Not feeling 100% happy with the ‘way I am’.
And yet now I feel incredibly comfortable and am even embracing what defines me!
Maybe it’s because nowadays I’m much older, wiser, and confident! I’m almost forty, and a Mum of two…I therefore don’t GIVE A DAMN anymore. I know I won’t change now (I’ve tried changing over the years, but it’s draining) and I’m enjoying what makes me, me.
I’m also confident that the people around me these days love me for me.
Saying this, I am a nice person though. I’m kind, generous and friendly. I’m the first to organise coffee dates, I’m good at keeping plans and I remember people’s birthdays. But always happy, sweet & smiley and full of the joys of spring, I am not.
I have a dry sense of humour. I am also incredibly sarcastic. I like dark humour and very silly humour too (my Sister, Cousin and I quote Monty Python sketches to each other via text). I’m not a laugh-out-loud funny kind of person, but I like to be witty, (especially in the written form). I love a funny quote or GIF and I really enjoy a bit of banter with friends.
Dave and I can be very sarcastic and jokey to each other too — he’s actually much worse than me!
I’m also prone to being grumpy, especially when I haven’t had a lot of sleep. I like my own company a lot, and am terrible (I get anxiety) at really stepping out of my comfort zone. I like doing things my own way (control freak!) and I also can’t sit still for long; I’m quite highly strung.
I’m also like Alexandra too i.e. I’m competitive at times. Because if I was going to do something like Strictly, (i.e. if I was entering a dance competition as high profile as that) well, I would want to win too! Not in a bitchy ‘I’d tread all over anyone to get there‘ kind of way, but in a ‘I’m going to try really hard to win this‘ way.
I probably wouldn’t come across as humble or sweet on TV either.
I was studious at school (I worked hard) and then at work I tried climbing high up the career ladder. Some other colleagues around me where the same, and yet equally there were many others who weren’t. I liked managing people and was good at taking on responsibility.
In the early days of parent blogging and social media it was apparent that people behaved a certain way. Lots of people followed one path and we were all quite similar. There were many of us saying and doing the same kind of things and that’s how it was. However, now, (thanks to Instagram Stories I believe) it’s totally more than OK to 100% be yourself and not be like the masses.
No matter what you’re like/no matter how funny, silly, moany, sarcastic, normal or bonkers you are, people are lapping up true honesty within social media more than ever.
Some days I’m bouncy & happy and incredibly high on life, but I can also be grumpy if the twins / Hubby / snow / other drivers annoy me. Other days I am in a daft mood and find humour in everything. I’m definitely more aware of who I am now and am therefore so much happier in my own skin because of this.
I’ve also got myself to a point within blogging and influencing where I too am sharing my full personality and going with it, rather than trying to hide the bits of me that I don’t think people want to see, or because I am ‘creating a brand’ that actually isn’t 100% me. I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work.
I’m not knocking anyone who’s always happy IRL in this post though, please don’t get me wrong, I have many friends who are like this and I adore them. I’m merely pointing out that everyone is different, which is very cool, but that it has taken me a really long time to figure this out. I’m actually saying that being yourself is what makes you unique and wonderful.
Whatever you’re like, be that. Do you and go with it. Embrace it.
Obviously if you’re feeling unhappy or not fulfilled right now, then you need to do something about it, but don’t try to be someone you’re not. Definitely DON’T try to be like someone else. And if people don’t like you for you, then that’s OK…we don’t all have to be best friends.
The most attractive and appealing quality in anyone though is being genuine — and that’s an incredible character to have. We all truly admire people like that.
Love, Jess x
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