People just don’t know what I’m about
They haven’t seen what’s there behind my smile
There’s so much more of me I’m showing now
These are the pieces of me
—Ledisi, “Pieces of Me”
On more than one occasion, I’ve been called a mystery. I thought it was some sort of corny pick-up line men used to flatter me or make me feel more interesting, until I heard it from family and even close friends. Yes I can be rather private and introverted, but I was baffled as to how I could be taken as mysterious by those I had known for years.
Initially I became concerned about small things, like if I was running late for lunch, would my friend know what to order for me? Then it grew to the larger matter at hand: Is there anyone who truly knows me?
This led me to realize that perhaps I’m more of a misconception than a mystery. This was all based on a faulty understanding of who I was. I couldn’t blame them entirely as I’ve struggled in the past with being open and honest about my true self.
As I’ve detailed on my blog, I used to think vulnerability was a sign of weakness. But as I matured I began to see it as the opposite, which is why it was difficult for me. It’s taking a brave leap of faith in revealing your all to someone and believing that they will still love you in spite of the unkept parts.
Unfortunately, I saw that while I mustered up the courage to share more of myself, people had already come to their own assumptions about me. I understand that I’m a bit difficult to read at times but there is no way that I am the title character of Gabrielle Union’s film Deliver Us From Eva.
One night while watching the movie with my family I jokingly asked who I would be among Eva and her sisters. They unanimously picked me to be the bossy, uptight, and seemingly man-hating Eva.
But it didn’t stop there. I have also been chosen to be the single workaholic aunt, with no children, who comes through mainly during the holidays to stunt and make it rain presents.
Oh, even lovelier.
The misconceptions about me grew more interesting in regards tomy “eclectic” appearance. Strangers are often surprised to find out that the chick with the shaved sides and Dr. Marten combat boots is a preacher’s kid studying pastoral counseling.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely upset about the awfully amiss impressions about me. It’s part of human nature to judge someone by their cover despite elementary school lessons encouraging us to do the opposite. But it’s also frustrating when people miss the mark by a long shot and refuse to take you out of the box they have placed you in.
My exterior may exude toughness, but at times I can be soft as butter. I tend to see things from a more practical point of view now, but that does not negate my emotions. During hard goodbyes I may refuse to shed a tear out of pride, but watch me write a personal message to a loved one in a Hallmark card and I ugly cry like Kim Kardashian.
And I may have goals at stake, but this determined go-getter actually does want the husband followed by 2.5 kids, and maybe a dog. Don’t tell anyone but Say Yes to the Dress is a guilty pleasure of mine on Friday nights.
My independence does not make me void of desiring true love. In fact, I’ve discovered that there are limits to my independent spirit. God placed a void in my heart only to be filled by Him and the company of divine relationships.
As I write this I’m pondering on the word mystery and maybe it isn’t entirely horrible to be deemed one. With social media, everyone tends to overshare the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. Which isn’t to say we should depict our lives as perfect. However nothing is sacred and nothing is secret, especially to those unworthy of such intimate details of our lives.
As a child I was always shy, too afraid to speak my mind. No need to cue the sad violins, but with it being so difficult to meet friends, I was often alone with my thoughts. The primary outlet I did have for my streams of consciousness was my notebook.
Chrisette Michele expressed my sentiments exactly, “Only my notebook knows how I feel, my heart is on every page.”
I suppose this was the harbinger of the alleged brainteaser or mystery that I am. I was so used to being alone and in my head, that when people were finally eager to know what was inside I wasn’t quite prepared.
Aside from math equations and Jeopardy clues, I’m never quite stumped until I’m spontaneously asked “What are you thinking?”
Especially now as a 20-something my thoughts are meteoric, my dreams are ever-evolving, and my values are shifting. And that can be difficult to vocalize for a girl whose voice was first found in a pen.
So maybe I am quite the mystery, as it seems I’m still unraveling the mystery that I am to myself.