I have been watching a bit of Queer Eye lately. I find it quite inspiring how the “Fab 5” take people who haven’t really thought about taking care of themselves before and inspire them to be better. They explain in the show that the way we choose to present ourselves in the real world (whether by chance or intentional) is a direct expression of how we are feeling on the inside. They also explain that we are all worthy of feeling good about ourselves and therefore should look good too.
As a viewer, you see episode-by-episode how these boys change the lives of so many people simply by improving their wardrobes, grooming practices, and environment to better express who these people are in the inside. You see how these people all of a sudden have a voice again, how they embody themselves again, almost like they have been playing the role that was carved out for them by society and finally realized that they don’t have to live that way. That they can be themselves and still be loved. It is truly beautiful.
And it got me thinking. Why don’t more of us do this? Here is my idea.
When we were kids we were taught to blindly listen and learn from our teachers, to only speak when called upon (and to only answer the answer they want you to say), to line up for lunch, to play only during play time, to colour within the lines, should I go on?
We indoctrinate every child that goes through the school system just how to get stuck in dogma – or to blindly listen to principles laid down by authority as incontrovertibly true.
If you behave the way I want you to behave then you are “good” “special” or “loved”, and if you behave how I do not want you to behave then you are “bad” “wrong” or “in trouble”.
What we forget to teach our kids is to express their true authenticity, to reward them for being themselves, and teach them how to hear that small voice inside them that tells them who they truly are and how to transfer that authentic unique thing about themselves into helping the real world. We forget to teach them how to critically think about the rules being told to them, and to decide for themselves whether they want to follow or ignore the rules laid out for them. We forget to teach them how to express themselves.
This creates adults, like you and me, who get stuck feeling like we don’t belong or are unloved. Why? My guess is because we are also stuck chasing dogma (as we were taught) – hoping that if we follow the rules laid out by our peers, media, society, etc. – that we will finally feel loved and belong.
If I dress, act, or live "this way" then they will "like me", and if I dress, act, or live "this way" then they won't.
I wonder. If everyone lived from a place of true authenticity and love - as in a place that creativity and ideas weren’t smothered from a young age, but a place where people who had the courage to speak their truth were encouraged and rewarded for it - where would this world be?
The “Fab 5” (the 5 boys that transform the lives of the people in Queer Eye) always start the episode asking the person “what do you like?” “what styles do you like?” “what food do you like?" Basically, they are asking “Who are you? And how can I best represent who you are externally so that you have the courage to be that person from the inside-out”
Why don’t more of us ask ourselves these questions? "Who am I? What food do I like? What colours do I like? What environments or experiences do I like? What makes me 'me' and how can I better express that version of myself?"
And the crazy thing is that the more you express your authenticity and uniqueness, the more you feel like you belong and that you are loved. Why? Because you know that the people hanging around you in fact love YOU (not the person you are chasing to be).
Stop chasing dogma, you do not need to be the next big CEO or movie star to be loved. All you need to do is have the courage to be the person you are and to love expressing that version of yourself. If you want to be taken seriously, dress like someone who should be taken seriously. If you want to be filled in a room of love and laughter, dress like someone who attracts that. If you want to be a stellar athlete - dress like one. If you want to be a diva - dress like one. You first act and then you will be.
And although I can't explain why, maybe expressing yourself through your clothes, home decor, hair styles, food, and culture is the way to get there. "Who am I?" might be a daunting question, but "what clothes do I like?" or "what clothes would best represent me?" might be a little bit easier to chew. If you start there, then who you truly are will simply and naturally show up. That is what Queer Eye taught me.
Please comment below with your thoughts <3