“What do you see when you look in the mirror?”
“A very exciting female.”
Robert is a man who’s into “masking” or “rubber dolling.” When he has time, he slips on costly femskins — elaborate rubber suits modeled on the female body — then women’s clothes, wigs, and masks featuring drag queen makeup.
I saw this clip from a new UK doc called “Secrets Of The Living Dolls” that aired on BBC’s Channel 4 last night, and found it oddly affecting.
For some time, I’ve been sifting through responses to a mirroring exercise I did in April of last year.
I was challenged by Jennifer Lee in her Right-Brainers Creative Business Plan forum, to ask friends what three words they’d use to describe us. She dared us to post this on Facebook. So I did. The idea was this would help us entrepreneurs get more clear on how others saw us, so we could see ourselves more clearly.
This is what I posted:
Would you share three words that come to mind about me? If you have a sec. If you are so inspired…I’d be so grateful…
What I received was an embarrassment of responses — over 100. Even when I said, “Please be honest. Don’t pander,” the posts kept appearing, and the positive words people chose made me blush. Or turn away.
At the time, I gathered the words. Grouped them. Counted up those with the highest scores. I remember being shy, and also pleased, that people had chosen “inspiring” as the most frequent. Close behind were “passionate” and “generous.”
I thought these were signs I should step into a bigger role. Serve people on a larger scale. If I did have the gift of inspiring others, then it was time for me to learn how to use technology so I could teach and reach more people. I posted on Facebook that I would compose a blog post using the words and exploring the experience.
Then I let the project lie fallow.
Until now. Now, I am immersed in Alice in Wonderland, and Alice Through the Looking Glass in preparation for my first ever webinar happening next week. I am thinking about mirrors. What we see, who we are, and how sometimes our distortions or resistances get in the way of what we are here to do.
I knew it was time to revisit the exercise.
Who knew other words would rise to the top when I revisited the posts. I found I missed words that meant the same thing, that added up to bigger scores than the first set of words. The new ones: Sexy, smart, vivacious.
How can there be such a disconnect? Why the psychic slippage? Who am I?
The truth is, I am uncomfortable with claiming all my qualities and gifts. Some are okay. Others are stretches. On some deep level, is it possible I still think I’m not worthy?
I may not powder and pull on a rubber femskin to alter my gender and age like Robert. But maybe I pull on an invisible skin that makes me uglier, lesser. Or I shrink, like Alice — devouring those Eat Me cakes — so I can hide. These are ancient habits.
Publicly, I declare I’ll do what it takes to get past this egotistical shrinking. If I have gifts, a purpose, more than I’ve yet realized, then let me get out of the way. And share.
Those gifts are not about me. They are meant to come through me.
Step by step, action by action, I am moving closer.
Sometimes we hide in the plain sight.
Who do you see in the mirror?
I challenge each of you to try out this three-word exercise. On Facebook, in an email, however you like. Let yourself be open to the experiment. And to the love. Let us all expand together, into this brave, new year.
For bonus points, put on a rubber doll suit and send pics. And don’t forget to join us for our first ever webinar this coming Tuesday. January 14th. 1pm-2:30pm PST/4-5:30pm EST.
Yrs in truth,
This post made me so uncomfortable. SO uncomfortable. I want to be able to do it, but I think “this one will just be sucking up, that one will try to be funny” or even worse “the exercise is skewed toward the good. let me ask my nonfriends.” I’m not sure what’s wrong with being skewed toward the good. For the love of Gordon, we live in a world structurally prioritizng the bad, in many ways. I’m signed up for your webinar, and I can’t wait. I need to sit with this post for a while before I’m able to do it. I want to be able to do it. Thank you, dammit. xx Angela
Oooh … THIS. This right here stuck with me… “But maybe I pull on an invisible skin that makes me uglier, lesser. Or I shrink, like Alice — devouring those Eat Me cakes — so I can hide. ”
I often do the same, shying away from owning my own talents and gifts, thinking, “no, no, that’s not me.” It’s that question you have to answer, “Why can’t you see and admit how great you are, when everyone else can.”
Not sure the answer, but it definitely requires some extra thought.
OMGosh Rachel leave it to your incredible genius to somehow relate geriatric cross dressing men to how you see your Self as an entrepreneur!!! I bow before you and your secret sauce.
Three words from me about Rachel:
Genius. Creativeawesometastic. Fantastmagorical!
I am soooo doing this three word thing. Right now!
May we all say together: “Publicly, I declare I’ll do what it takes to get past this egotistical shrinking. If I have gifts, a purpose, more than I’ve yet realized, then let me get out of the way. And share.”
What a brave thing to do. And what an insight, “sometimes we hide in plain sight”. Do you think the cross-dressing men are also doing that? Trust you to come up with that analogy. I’ve always told people about you, and please take this positively, that to take up all the space in the room when you walk into it.
And, if you don’t mind, I’d like to do it too.
I have a rubber doll suit. She is utmost professional, powerful, confident and does not reveal her captivating feminine side to keep people, mostly clients, at a distance. I am very expressive and demonstrative, but not in my doll suit. That part of me is kept hidden from having been bitten many times and called a flirt, a slut and blond bombshell with obviously no brains or business in the board room.
I am aware of this suit, and this year specifically working to be more vulnerable, and remember there is still appropriate points of expression. I will not own the crap of those who choose to misinterpret me.