Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘non-conformist’

Finding a Tribe That Suits Our Personality

Your Tribe Reflects the Comfort Level You Exude

There are people who seem to get along with everyone. They ruffle no feathers, make no one feel uncomfortable. In short, they blend in. They’re not exactly chameleons because they don’t change their behavior to suit the people they’re with. Instead, they’re like comfort food. Simple, pleasant, familiar.

I am not one of those people. I go through periods where every word out of my mouth, every action I take is guaranteed to piss someone off. There’s really nothing I can do about it except walk away. When I find myself in the midst of people who turn their nose up at my escargot and pate de foie gras personality, the more I try to smooth things over, the worse things tend to get. I’m still learning this.

Recognize When You’re in the Wrong Crowd

When you’re pissing people off for no apparent reason, it’s often best to stop thinking about it and walk away.  Someone else’s reaction isn’t your responsibility. They have their own stuff and it’s not up to us to fix it. Yet all too often, we let ourselves take responsibility for those reactions. We blame ourselves for saying something that offended when in truth, it probably didn’t matter what we said or how we said it. They were already uncomfortable with us and looking for an excuse to react.

There comes a time when we need to stop analyzing who we’re affecting, stop trying to fix what isn’t even broken, and just be in the moment. We need to accept that we are not everyone’s comfort food. Most of all, we are wonderful, interesting, and utterly delightful in our crazy, non-conforming, eclectic way, and we just need to find the tribe that not only appreciates our eccentricities, but expands them with their own unique and mind-bending qualities.

My Seat-of-the Pants Lifestyle

When I made the decision to launch my latest adventure, I did so without a plan. I know that sounds crazy to those who need a lot of structure in their lives. But for those who enjoy change and even a few surprises, leaving things to chance is essential to our mental health and growth. Yet, it isn’t truly leaving things to chance. It’s more a matter of focusing on the broad strokes; setting an intention about where you want to head next without mapping out the hows. Then, you just heighten your awareness of signs and opportunities along the way, knowing they’re the baby steps you need to achieve the grand design which launched the adventure. To the outside world, it may appear you’re living in the moment, and to a large degree you are. What’s more important is letting others worry about their own stuff while living in your own moment.

As I live in my moments, I am learning that some things have to manifest before others. The order, however, is not engraved in stone. Right now, I see the steps to my path as:

  1. Building my writing and accounting business.
  2. Paying off bills.
  3. Getting the repairs and maintenance on my house finished before other dreams begin to manifest.

Beyond that, I don’t need to know. This is more than enough to keep me busy watching for opportunities and acting on them. Once I’ve completed what I see as phases, the next ones will become clear. Linda Clay of Capture Your Passion talks about creating a treasure map with the big, red X being your goal. A lot of the space between where you are now and that red X will be uncharted territory, as it should be. Along the way, there will be wrong turns and some backtracking. There will be steps which move you ahead quickly and some rocky roads which take more time and ingenuity to navigate. The key, for us non-conforming bohemians is to allow each new step to unfold. We must also accept that not everyone can function without a plan and withhold our judgement and the sharing of our opinion on the matter.

Creating Your Own Treasure Map

I have friends who need every detail mapped out ahead of time, whether it’s a vacation or a life. I don’t understand how they can live such predictable lives, but then, they don’t understand how I can fly by the seat of my pants. The important thing is understanding each of us has our place in this giant scheme called humanity.

Just as there are plotters and pantsers in the writing world, the same types exist in the real world too. (If you haven’t figured it out already, I am definitely a pantser).

What does your treasure map look like? Do you have all of the details filled in ahead of time or is it more of a rough draft, waiting for the Universe to expose the next surprise in your journey? How does that make you feel? Comfortable? Complacent? Excited? Anxious? There are no wrong answers. Your journey has to feel right to you, but it still has to stretch that comfort zone, or it’s simply a rut.

Embracing the Unknown: It’s Not for Everyone.

My pot of gold is an estate overlooking the beach with fruit trees, no neighbors, and cabins for artists’ retreats. There’s a lot of unknown terrain between here and there. I could be scared to death of the unknown, and at times, I do feel a little shaky. But for the most part, I’m excited to see how the next chapter of my life will unfold. I just need to remember to stay out of my own way, and getting out of my own way means not being bogged down by other people’s stuff.

Conformists like being around people who fit a set of comfortable rules and parameters. They aren’t comfortable with the rule-breakers and the ground-shakers. That’s not to say they’re boring. Many have their crazy, silly side or even a creative bent or two. Yet they still color within the lines at the end of the day.

Non-conformists are a more eclectic group who find too much sameness smothering. They accept people because of their eccentricities. The rules are meant to be broken, challenged, and pushed. They themselves, however, may not be. Don’t try pushing a nonconformist into a strict box where rules are meant to be honored and behavior follows unwritten guidelines. It may not be a recipe for disaster, but you could get an interesting fireworks show when they burst free of your artificially created enclosure and show off their true rainbow of colors.

The Oil and Water of Personalities

I’m learning people who like living in a structured environment are uncomfortable to me, and vice versa. We’re oil and water to each other. They’re also the ones who will most likely take what I say or do as offensive at some point. Part of my journey is learning to navigate past those people without creating much of a ripple. Avoiding them really isn’t an option as they’re intricately woven into the fabric of my world. Besides, everyone who touches my life brings me something of value, whether we’re similar or different. Sometimes the different ones offer something unexpected and surprisingly useful.

Likes attract likes, even when those likes are people who thrive on diversity and change. But change means different things to different people. Some like moving every few years, others love to travel. Still others find change in things other than their physical location. We all need a point of stability though. My stability happens to be in relatively few location changes.

Finding the Tribe That Accepts You, Warts and All

In the end, we have to find the tribe which loves us as a complete packages, supports our path, and shakes us up every now and then. Like everything else in life, it may require we try a lot of people on, discarding some and keeping others. I love the statement that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime because the path we follow is, whether we like it or not, affected to some degree by the people in our lives. Very few of them will stick with us through all of our changes and evolutions. Most will show up, help us make some necessary changes, and move on. In the process, we change their lives a little too.

Expressing Gratitude, No Matter What Our Journey

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my ever-evolving tribe.
  2. I am grateful for the people who teach me lessons even when those lessons are painful ones.
  3. I am grateful for the opportunities which are coming my way. They advance me along the path towards my big, red X.
  4. I am grateful for my increasing work load and look forward to the day I can say my schedule is full.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, tribes, lessons, challenges, gems, rough stones, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


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Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Undermining Self-Esteem for Profit

Knowing when something needs to be said

I’ve been mulling over posting about this for a couple of weeks, but after careful consideration, believe it needs to be said.

A couple of weeks ago, a member of the dance community decided I needed some beauty advice and proceeded to offer it, though I’d never asked for it, nor realized I needed her help.

But a little background, first. When I go dancing, I wear shorts for a couple of reasons. Aside from the obvious fact that it’s cooler, I’ve yet to feel comfortable or attractive in my extensive collection of skirts as the weight I’ve lost so far has yet to retreat from my midsection. Thus, a skirt tends to make me look like a barrel. I just don’t feel the shape is flattering or attractive.

Beware the well-meaning who offer unasked for advice

All women have areas of their body they like and some they don’t. Even the ones we look at and find beautiful. Trust me on this. There’s something about themselves they’d like to change. But at the same time, we all have something we just know in our hearts is fine or even perfect the way it is. It might be eyes, or hair, length of our torso or our profile. For me, thanks to having danced most of my life, it’s my legs. Even when I was carrying enough weight to be considered obese, my legs weren’t half bad.

Unfortunately for the self-professed beauty consultant, that’s the area she chose as needing improvement, or, in her opinion covering up. Her first attempt was to encase them in a pair of baggy black pants. She even added a wide belt to my afore-mentioned broad mid-section; a real fashion faux pas on one as short-waisted as I.

It wasn’t enough that I told her the pants and belt were a bad idea. She had to approach me a few days later to tell me how much better I’d look in a pair of cheap tights like the ones she was wearing. I tried to tell her, somewhat politely that I wasn’t interested in her help. She demanded an explanation to which I replied “all you need to know is that I’m not interested.” But she was as persistent as a fly at a picnic.

When I continued to refuse her an explanation, she stomped off in disgust, hurling back in a voice loud enough to drown out the music, “if you realized how awful your legs look! I’m a beauty consultant!”

Women supporting women; more important now than ever

Which leads me to the reason I feel the need to write this post. Many people and companies have been working overtime to help women feel better about themselves and to celebrate our differences rather than trying to force us all into impossible molds of preconceived beauty. The cause is facing an uphill battle against powerful foes including the weight loss industry and those who seek to help us reach perfection with a few nips and tucks. Sadly, these industries and people like the woman who approached me believe they have the right to bully others.

My question is, why would women continue to use such underhanded tactics to bring business to themselves? Why would they think it’s OK to attack another woman’s self-esteem for their own personal gain?

Isn’t it the job of a beauty consultant to emphasize a woman’s attributes and minimize her flaws through simple techniques like clothing choices and natural looking makeup techniques?

Turning a mis-fired shot into a campaign to help others

Though in this case, the ostensible consultant chose her target and the presumed flaw very badly indeed. In the first place, I’ve put a lot of effort into learning to love and accept myself, warts and all. And my legs are and always have been my favorite feature. Even my hyper-critical mother could find no fault there! The only people who have ever taken issue with my legs have been those who believe a woman should keep that appendage covered no matter what. I have also taken it upon myself to set those who believe it’s acceptable to bully others straight.

In this world where tearing down and demeaning women is becoming more and more accepted after years of effort to encourage fair treatment, it is imperative that every industry where woman have influence be conscious of treating women, not like objects which are simply on earth to please the male of the species, but as individuals with their own wants and needs, qualities and flaws. It is up to us to build each other up, not tear each other down.

Turning our backs on conformity

One way to do that is to discourage those who use such underhanded techniques to fill their bank account. We must turn our backs on them and their business practices which profit from women’s insecurities.

By the same token, we must support those businesses which seek to celebrate women and their differences. Celebrate the women who don’t need perfect bodies to celebrate their femininity. Who don’t need the approval of others to wear what makes them feel good. And we must help other women appreciate their own qualities and accept the flaws as part of what makes them unique.

And please, can’t we convince all of the women who parade around looking like plain vanilla, demure Barbie Dolls that they’re not doing anyone any favors? You with your figures starved to unnatural slimness, your beige, gray, and black clothing, your air of conventionality and conservatism. We know that once you’ve snagged your man, the real you comes out. So why play the game? It’s only going to attract the type who thinks they want that blandness, which forces you to at least try to fit a mold which really isn’t you.

Let your hair blow wild and crazy once in awhile. Stop covering up those falsely perceived flaws with makeup. Celebrate your individuality instead of stuffing it down so far, even its screams for mercy are stifled.

Setting strong examples

I’ve always been drawn to women like Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand who used what some might call flaws to stand out from the crowd. So what if your hips are wider than what society tells you is perfection? So what if your nose isn’t in perfect proportion to your face? Or if your hair blows in wild disarray around your face instead of hanging in a polite, straight stream unlike any waterfall I’ve ever seen.

Above all, revel in all that makes you unique. Yes, there are women who will dislike you on sight, not because you’re different, but because you’re brave enough to be while they live in a bubble of their own making. They don’t envy your looks or your confidence. They envy your ability to ignore all of the overt and subliminal messages filling our lives, encouraging us to be something we’re not; something we were never meant to be.

Even more, find something in every woman you meet to compliment. We truly can help each other, one compliment at a time.

Otherwise, we’ll all eventually just be a society of Stepford Wives.

Our strongest weapon is gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful I learned to revel in my uniqueness.
  2. I’m grateful I need validation from no one to accept and love myself.
  3. I’m grateful I can be a voice for other women who can be blind-sided by “well-meaning” people who offer their assistance at the expense of someone else’s self-esteem.
  4. I’m grateful for friends who are as unique and self-confident as I’ve always striven to be.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance: self-confidence, integrity, beauty of all sizes, shapes and colors, health, joy, happiness, friendship, love (of self too!), peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Photo courtesy of J. Lightning via Flickr

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