“I want to get to know the real you” it’s a pretty big statement often rolled up into a romantic, caring gesture. However even the most self-aware of us will struggle to sum up what the ‘real’ version of themselves looks like...
Have you ever been in a social situation where you suddenly think about your own behaviour and wonder why you’re acting the way you are? I was exhibiting at an event for work recently when a man came up and interrupted my conversation with a customer to comment on my appearance.
At the time I went quiet, smiled awkwardly and cut back to my original conversation, but afterwards when I got a moment alone with my colleague I felt…angry. Outside of work, had I been in the same situation, I would have told the man to leave me alone and called him out on his behaviour.
I’m not a quiet or shy person and I don’t agree with women feeling like they can’t wear a dress, or straighten their hair without someone sexualising them for their appearance. It left me feeling like I wasn’t acting like myself whilst I worked the event…but that isn’t true.
We all have different versions of ourselves, which we fall into depending on the social situation we’re in at the time. Think of them as chapters of a book that you move between. On that occasion I was in my ‘work chapter’ - professional and focused on the task at hand.
And that’s ok.
Having more than one chapter doesn’t mean we’re not showing the real version of ourselves, it means we have a complex social network. The more chapters we have, the more relationships we’ve cultivated.
You may switch between these chapters multiple times a day - and some you’ll read more than others. Your parent, relationship and sibling chapters may crop up more than your ‘meeting new people’ chapter or your drama club chapter. The more activities you do and relationships you create, the more chapters appear in your book. Together they make up the real you; and alone they're just parts of your story.