I’ve been called this many times throughout my life.
As a kid, I was encouraged to stand up in front of family & friends and demonstrate my dancing skill. I loved the attention. I loved it so much that I started to get up and “show-off” without being asked.
But as I reached adulthood, I realized how childish that need for attention was. I found a way to change my “showing off” into something much more fulfilling: helping others.
This is why what happened yesterday is still haunting me.
I was in yoga class. And in case you don’t know how yoga classes work, the idea is to “be in your practice.” Meaning, don’t compare yourself to others who can do more or less than you can in the poses (and in life).
As far as basic yoga skills go, I’m average. What’s not average about me is my natural flexibility.
I can do the splits.
Yesterday’s class had some positions where my flexibility shined. The teacher made encouraging comments like “very nice Jill” once or twice during the class. I felt good that my strength and balance are improving so much.
After class, my back started to tighten up. So I spent some extra time stretching to ease my discomfort.
Then, this guy who was also in this class walked by said under his breath “Show off.”
WHAT!? Did I really just hear that? Did a total stranger just call me a “Show-off?” Or was it my mind playing tricks on me?
Next thing I know, all of my insecurities came flooding in. “Was I really showing off?” “Did I do something to upset this guy?” “OMG people are looking at me!” I felt ashamed of my body and insecure about how I was showing up to others.
What I’m saying here is how men don’t understand how a simple comment (especially from a man to a woman) affects a woman. Yes, they guy obviously has issues, we all do. But comments like this are a part of shaming culture. And most of the time, you don’t even know you’re shaming someone, but you are.
Yesterday’s experience reminded me of what it’s like to start talking about my art publicly. To go out and <<stretch>> (oh yes I just said that!) myself by exposing my insecurities and talking about my shame.
Now, I’d love to hear from you.
Have you ever had a stranger make a comment to you that made you think you did something wrong when you know you didn’t? Give me a heart or like if you have!