I'm awesome! Just ask anyone. People tell me all the time how awesome I am. And I've got a good gig going on here in my awesome little world. I've got good friends, a happy little house and I keep myself busy with all kinds of work and personal projects. But sometimes, being awesome sucks!
Being awesome doesn't just happen. It takes a lot of work. You have to own who you are and not be afraid to show it off. You have to figure out what drives you. You've got to be at peace with your insecurities and work to overcome them. You've got to know what scares you and do that thing anyway. You've got to get past all of the stigmas and expectations that society places on us and feel comfortable to walk around this world just as you are.
Awesome people don't walk around trying to pretend that they or that anything is ever going to be perfect. Awesome people walk around with their scars hanging out right in the open. They will show them to you and talk to you about them if you ask. And they desperately want to know about yours too. Awesome people understand that part of true beauty comes from those parts of us that are the ugliest, darkest and most flawed.
I recently did a photo shoot for an awesome single person I know, Amy Speace. Part of the whole concept for the shoot was owning her in inner strength and her inner awesome. One of the vignettes that I found was an old dresser that had the word 'FLAWED" spray-painted huge across the front of it. I sat her up there and had her straddle that word wearing almost nothing. She owned it! She understood what we were doing and what we were saying. She wasn't afraid to tell everyone how perfectly, beautifully, spectacularly flawed she is.
Amy Speace - Photo Credit: Stacie Huckeba
Awesome people tend to have lots of people who want to hang out with them. They come to them for advice, support and comfort. They like hanging out with them because they aren't afraid to show the ugly parts of themselves. They aren't scared of making mistakes or falling on their face or looking like an asshole. And people want that. It makes them laugh. They love the freedom of being around people who are that open. And secretly, they like being able to show their scars too. They can't do that with everyone.
I know a lot of awesome people and the one thing that most of us have in common besides being awesome is that we are single. We have this conversation over and over again. We have plenty of friends, we make some deep connections, but we can't find love. Real love.
Why is the idea of love so damn scary for people? Clearly that is what we are all looking for. If we weren't, we wouldn't be obsessed with trying to present such a perfect package to the world. We filter and smooth and post duck faced selfies of ourselves at all of the coolest parties and with all the coolest people, all in the hopes that other people will think we are perfect and will love us.
And I'm not throwing any stones. I'm just as guilty as the next person. I used to think that I was single because I was overweight. But as it turns out, that is not the case. The weight is gone but I'm still a super single with a side of single gal fries. And lots of those other awesome single people I know are stereotypically handsome and pretty. Just look at Amy, she's stunning. It's not my body or my face that keeps me single. It's my awesomeness. It's my ability to be emotionally naked with people and my desire to know other people in that same way. That shit is real.
People walk around saying that they are looking for something real but when they actually find it, it scares the shit out of them and they run right back out in search of someone easy that they can hook up with for a month or a week or most often just a night. It feeds the ego and makes them feel connected, but it's false intimacy. And false intimacy is much safer than really getting in there and going deep with someone.
I recently took a trip with a male friend. At the beginning of the trip, he left his phone on the shuttle. We got it back, but he lamented over the fact that it's not something he would typically do. He lamented so much so that he was still talking about it once we got home. Over the past year or so, he's become a close friend. I know that he is a very spiritual person. He believes in divine inspiration. He believes in signs.
This particular trip didn't just take us out of town for a few days. This trip took us on a crazy adventure. There were all kinds of bizarre circumstances and some of them took us to another place within our relationship. We had some very deep and honest conversations. We opened up about things and shared some of our most guarded secrets and stories. We had some earth shattering moments of clarity and in the meantime had a shit load of fun.
In the midst of all of that goodness, he popped on his phone every few minutes to check out his Tinder app. Swipe, swipe. Flirt, flirt. We spend time together, but he isn't my boyfriend and I know he's out there mingling, but there was something about the whole thing that didn't sit well with me.
Here I was fully engaged. I was in awe of having these eye-opening moments of awareness with him. I was laughing my ass off and looking over my shoulder for the next thing that was going to get thrown at us and I was learning to genuinely care about him. Looking for someone else to be engaged with in those moments was the last thing on my mind.
But as engaged as we were, as spiritual as he is, as deep as we got, and as many adventures that came our way, there he was; Swipe, swipe. Flirt, flirt. He was sitting right beside me, but all the while, searching for the next thing, the better thing. And even though I understood it, I couldn't help but let it hurt my feelings a little.
I don't mean to single him out or pick on him. This isn't a singular instance. We have all been locked in a conversation with someone interesting and in the thick of it they pick up their phone to check their social media. Hell, I've done it myself. This isn't an anomaly; it seems to be the norm lately. And that fucking sucks.
I thought a lot about his phone too. I thought that if there really is divine inspiration and he really was looking for those kinds of signs, maybe it was his higher consciousness telling him to put down the phone and pay attention to what was happening right in front of him. The whole trip felt like some kind of cosmic wake up call and it all started with leaving that phone behind.
In some ways, I am part of the problem. I work in an image dominated field. We are inundated with the idea that if we can just walk around looking perfect with perfect looking lives, having sex with other people who look perfect that everything will work out. But that is not reality.
I know for a fact that if it were up to apps like Tinder, I would have never been in any of the relationships that I have been throughout my life. Either I would have swiped "no" or they would have. If in the beginning, all we had to base off of each other were a photo on our phones, we would have missed each other completely. That's fucking scary. And guess what? That collective consciousness is working. Everyone is hooking up but no one is falling in love.
I say it's time we stop whipping out our phones and start whipping out our scars for one another. It's time as a society that we realize that those internal scars and flaws and imperfections are what make us beautiful. Those are the things that prove our strength and power. Those are the things that define who we are and tell the world that we are worthy of love. You can't show that stuff to people in a profile photo, you can't share that with someone via a status update or in your Match.com profile. You have to sit down beside someone and open yourself up to that. And you have to look inside the person next to you too.
I know for myself, that finally not giving a shit what other people think and just being myself is where I found my awesome. And I'm hopeful that one day, some other awesome person will show up and we will have a real moment. And when we do, they won't be reaching for their phone wondering what's next or who's better. We will be in the moment, laughing our asses off, fully aware of what is happening right in front of us and it will be fucking awesome!
Epiblog: A place for paying it forward and supporting artists, entrepreneurs and people who inspire me. I hope you find some inspiration here too.
This weeks epiblog goes out to one of the most awesome fucking people on the planet, Sarah Potenza. I've never know anyone who owns and wears her awesome quite so loud and proud. She inspires me everyday to be a better version of myself. Oh, and the bitch can write and sing her ass off! She's not single, but she is on tour right now, so catch her if you can! http://sarahpotenza.net