I’ll go ahead and admit one of my major flaws before you read any further.
I have this terrible, terrible tendency to let people f*ck with my head. (Sorry for the language but that’s how I’d say it in real life. The Lord ain’t through with me yet.)
But seriously though, I do. I guess I don’t know how to turn my PR mind off as and when I’m not working but I’m always thinking about my image and how others perceive me. I’m being a little dramatic right now because I don’t care half as much as I used to…but still…I have my moments and they make me feel like I’m a fraud, even though I know I’m not.
That doesn’t make any sense does it? I’ll explain.
Since I moved back to my hometown people have been receiving and interacting with me in a weird way. I’m not saying that they’re weird…the feeling that they leave me with is weird. And the weirdest thing about it is that everyone (literally) treats me the same. *blank stare* I don’t know what happened in the year that I was gone, but it’s like people look at me like I’m a local celebrity (I cringed when I typed that) and like I’ve got it all together. They all say the same things…
“You inspire me. You’re where I want to be in the next five years.”
“Everyone in the State of Mississippi has heard of you. You’re doing big things.”
“Ya’ll make the perfect couple.”
“You’re killing the blogging game!!!”
I should be flattered (and I am) but at the same time, I don’t always see myself the way others do. And when they give me these amazing compliments, I get really awkward and I always tell them to chill out LOL. I love that people view me in a such a way and that’s how I want them to view me…but it’s hard to feel comfortable when you don’t view yourself the same. You feel like you don’t deserve the compliments because they only see a small part of you – the part that is a product of great PR.
Knowing something and feeling it are two different things.
Let me give you an example. I earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in six years and was accepted into a PhD program on the first try after submitting my application the day of the deadline. Clearly I know that I’m smart. But when I make dumb ass decisions about men and fail to learn from my past mistakes, I don’t feel smart at all. I actually feel embarrassingly dumb. And exposed. And like there must be some deep seated childhood issue I haven’t dealt with to cause me to make such bad decisions.
I hosted a free blogging webinar last week and had over 40 bloggers to sign up. As I was writing my outline I kept thinking about how early I am in my own journey and whether or not I had the authority or expertise to advise someone on how to go through theirs.
Recently I was recruited to be part of the launch team for a new church here in Jackson. The pastors think very highly of me (clearly…they want me to be part of their church family) and it freaks me out more than anything. I feel like the biggest fraud and like I don’t even deserve their admiration or consideration. Me? I still curse! I have premarital bad word! I still struggle with fear and trusting God. There’s no way that I, Jessica LaShay Simien, am ready to be a leader in a church. No way. Not only that, I’m terrified of so many expectations and responsibilities that comes with that.
I shared my feelings and fears with one of the pastors and she talked to me about grace. She helped me realize that not only should I give others grace, I need to give myself grace as well.
I didn’t think that at 28-years-old I’d be still figuring myself out but I am and I understand more and more that learning yourself is a never-ending process that we should all embrace. I’ve met some pretty dope people in the last year and they’ve all helped me get more in tune with myself. One person in particular brought out all the parts of me that I was afraid to show. He helped me take my mask off and maybe that’s what my deal is.
I’m afraid that people forget I’m human, imperfect and struggling in similar areas as they are or that I have to live up to expectations that don’t fit who I am. I don’t want to be boxed in.
I just want to be me, unapologetically. Imperfections and all.