Archive | April, 2012

Putting Yourself Out There

30 Apr

My friend, S, was recently told that she needs to put herself out there.

Now, was this comment offensive or true? Fortunately, S thought the latter.

“He’s right. I’m so not out there,” she told me prosaically.

“What does that even mean?” I asked.

“I don’t quite know.”

This comment launched a very confused conversation. By the end, we had decided that ‘putting yourself out there’ was not merely a phrase used to coax scared singles into coffee dates, but a more general concept relating to the way an individual interacts with the world around him/her.*

Being the egocentric creature I am, this got me thinking about myself. Am I out there?

This question was tested when I found myself alone at church on Easter Sunday. Let me paint the picture. Me, standing alone in church:

Internal monologue: I’m out there. I’m like so out there. Look at me just standing here, open to anyone who may come along. Oh yes. I am out there.

<Interuption to internal monologue>

Bubbly Young Woman: Hi, I’m Claire.

Internal monologue: Ugh. It is too early to be so enthusiastic. I hate it when people are all Suzy Sunshine. Guess what lady, life is not a bowl of cornflakes so why don’t you tone it down?

What I actually said: Hi.

That’s it. I didn’t even say ‘Hi, I’m Verity.’ I gave her nothing. I was socially fatigued after a simple greeting.

She kept talking (as she was wont to do) and I slowly warmed up. I realised her enthusiasm was friendliness and not her naïve view of reality. I was shamed.

And apparently, not at all out there.

I had to re think. Maybe I needed to do something. Maybe I needed a moment. A coming out (there) party.

Little did I know, the moment was to come a week later. Two of my beloved friends were getting married and asked me to read the bible at their wedding. Of course I accepted with pleasure. But when it came time for me to read, the minister announced that Gemma (Spoiler Alert! That’s not my name) would be reading.

I had to think quickly. Do I correct him or say nothing?

Then, in a (“I’ll go home to Tara!”) moment of clarity, I knew exactly what to do. If Nicki Minaj can do it (I am Nicki Minaj, I mack them dudes up, back coupes up and chuck the duece up)** I can do it. I walked up to the microphone and said:

“Hi. I’m Verity Powell.”

And hark! Doves flew into the air carrying little signs which said “She’s out there!” and light shone on my head and…

Ok, maybe it wasn’t this big movie moment that I’m making it out to be, but that’s not the point. The point is that, I think you’ll all agree, I put myself out there.

S and I still discuss this concept and we’ve come up with a few ideas of what it’s like to be out there. We decided that part of being out there is being open to different people and conversations. It’s giving a bit of yourself unapologetically. It’s getting up on the dance floor no matter how terrible your moves are. It’s asking the checkout chick how she is and actually listening. It’s letting people take you for who you are just because they want to.

And sometimes it’s just turning up and saying, I am Verity Powell.***

 

 

 

 

Now it’s your chance to ‘put yourself out there.’ Leave a comment in the comment section below! Because I know you’re there, so you might as well be ‘out there’!

* Ten points for Gryffindor for such an excellent summary!

**What does that mean? On second thought, I don’t want to know.

*** Please insert your own name where applicable. Because honestly, it would be creepy if you said you were Verity Powell. Unless you are of course. In which case, carry on, Verity Powell. Carry on.

4 ½ Dresses

20 Apr

Oh, you guys. It has happened again.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

I’m certainly overly familiar with it.

I’m going to be a bridesmaid. Again.

How many times have you been a bridesmaid, Verity?:

  • 4 ½ (don’t ask).

Congratulations!

  • Why thank you, I am quite chuffed.

Now, while I am honoured to be honoured in such a way, I take this appointment seriously. Maybe too seriously for a volunteer position. It’s like I need to prove that I am the right lady for the job. That the bride is getting her moneys worth.* So when I was asked to be a bridesmaid the other day, I made sure the bride understood my commitment level.

I sent her this text:

“Just checking in on day one of my assignment. It should be noted here that I do not believe in being a lazy bridesmaid and consider my position a working one and not merely figurehead. At your service, Bride-to-Be. Haha.

But actually I am being serious.”

And I was.

But as it happens, the church is booked, the invitations are in the mail, the reception has been lined up, the colour scheme arranged…

and there seems to be nothing left to do.

So maybe I am going to be useless after all. My position will become more of a title than a job. I fear I’m going to turn into one of those lesser royals who is known only for their appalling choice of dress and hat (No offence Princess Beatrice. You seem lovely and we were born in the same year. Solidarity sister).

The other problem of course, is that as a figurehead bridesmaid, I will continue to be subject to many a delightful inquiry** from loving family and friends.

One notable incident occurred a few years ago. My beloved friend, who was 9 years old at the time, wondered:

“Verity?” he asked in that sweet little boy voice.

“Yes, dear?”

“Have you heard of the movie about the lady who was a bridesmaid lots of times?”

“Oh, you mean 27 dresses?”

“Yeah. Well I was just thinking… that’s you. It is! How many dresses have you got now?”

Let’s stop the reminiscing for a second and analyse that.

Firstly, is it terrible that I have somehow led a young boy to believe that my existence may be summed up by a Katherine Heigl movie?

Secondly, 27 Dresses? Really? I would prefer he say,

“Oh Verity, have you heard of the movie True Grit. You’re just like the lead girl. You don’t need no man or pretty dress to headline your own movie. You’d be able to survive in the Wild Wild West.”

Thirdly, now it’s got me thinking: am I a Katherine Heigl or a Mattie Ross? Surely I’d more suited to riding around the desert on a horse than performing predictable meet-cutes involving heels and a NYC manhole.***

Please don’t stick me in a romcom. I beg of you!

Now I’m over thinking it.

Ok, calm down. I am not Katherine Heigl. I only have 4.5 dresses. And anyway I like bridesmaiding. Being a bridesmaid is rewarding, enjoyable and lovely and getting a new dress is never a bad thing….but….

 

 

 

Oh lawsie, I hope I don’t make it to 27.

 

*If you are thinking of going into bridesmaiding for the money, don’t. The pay is terrible. However it looks excellent on one’s resume and you can add Bridesmaid to your official title:

Verity Grace. BA. BM x 4.5

** Sample interaction with relatives Uncle Tim and Aunt Betsy:

“Gee you’re often a bridesmaid aren’t you, Verity? Well you know what they say, don’t you? Don’t you? What do they say?”

“No, I do not know what ‘they say,'” I will reply deadpan.

“Oh, you know what they say. Always a bridesmaid…”

“Always wearing killer heels?”

“Oh you’re no fun, Verity. Maybe that’s why no one’s picked you up yet.” Uncle Tim laughs raucously.

“Oh don’t be cruel, Tim!” Says Aunt Betsy with a smile.

*** Pretty sure I saw that plot in a JLo film not 27 Dresses. You see my point though.