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.


5 Responses to “Putting Yourself Out There”

  1. Jordan April 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Wow great post- I can actually really relate to this.
    I find it really difficult to be “out there”, but I guess I hide behind the old line of- “I don’t want to be’.

    Thought provoking stuff.


  2. Svetlana April 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    if i wanna scream im verity powell from the mountain tops, ill be darned if u try to stop me! perhaps talking shit is unapologetically who i am 😀 xo no but yeah but seriously i liked ur post 🙂

  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella April 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Putting yourself out there can be scary indeed! Good for you 🙂

  4. chefbill May 1, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    I agree that when you spoke up you where ‘putting yourself out there’. I guess, being a guy, we have a somewhat different expression… ‘getting in the game’. Standing on the sidelines is ok.. you’re still ‘on the team’ even when you are just standing on the sideline, but you don’t make much of an impact unless you’re ‘in the game’.

  5. paulavouris May 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    An alternative to “being out there” is “put your light on” – no I’m not talking about the light within that God shines through you (though always a good idea). The light like a taxi light taxi drivers need to let people know they are looking for a fare. This isn’t as bad as it might sound… I just mean smile whenever you’re dancing your bad dance moves on the dance floor. People want to know and be around happy people. Like a moth to a flame! Let the inner & outer lights shine simultaneously – now that’s “out there”.

    I’m Paula Vouris (former taxi driver)

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