Under the Layers

I know your insides are feeling so hollow
And it’s a hard pill for you to swallow, yeah
But if I fall for you, I’ll never recover

I don’t know where to start, I’m just a little lost
I wanna feel like we’re never gonna ever stop
I don’t know what to do, I’m right in front of you
Asking you to stay…

Every time I hear this song, I have to stop and if convenient, jump on to YouTube to watch the video. Not only is it incredibly sensual, but it speaks to me on another level: the fear of revealing yourself. The fear of hurt or not living up to expectations or achieving this or that. The fear of standing up for something you believe, even when you may be alone, or it may cost you much. The fear…that always resides just below the surface.

How many ways do we cover up, or hide away, or maybe just runaway? I think about opportunities presented to me that didn’t pan out as I expected. I think about relationships and how we might be afraid to show who we are because of the fear of acceptance or unconditional love. However, it’s through those cracks, those imperfections, that the light comes through and our perfect imperfections, or our humanness, shines though. I think of the ways that we try to mask pain by covering it up with food, shopping, alcohol, drugs or other compulsive and risky behaviors. Sometimes we make ourselves purposely forget, or change our lives completely, because we think that will help us to forget the hurt brought on to us or the hurt we’ve brought on to others.

The question has been, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” But I think the question should be, “Would you still do it even if you knew you might fail?”

Recently, I had a conversation with my friend, Erica. Again, another voice was telling me I need to write a book, but with Erica there is always a concrete timeline because she knows I only work with deadlines. She’s really good at keeping me accountable. But for now, it’s so going in my blog.

She even started a title, “Fashioning Life After Failure”. Knowing it was a working title, I liked the beginning but had such a hard time with the word “failure”. I think everyone knows that I’ve had a number of “;’s” or pivots along my life’s path, and I used to really be more vocal about my failure or my “lack of success”. Yet, it got me thinking, “have my experiences been a lack of success”? …Monetarily? Some of them would be a definite, “YES”. Understanding about business, human nature and what’s important to me? That would be a BIG fat “NO”. I think I have been more successful in my attempts to define what’s truly important to me, the type of people I want to have in my life, the way I want to live my life, and how to fund it. The question has been, “What  would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” But it really should be, “Would you still do it even if you knew you might fail?” And my answer is a resounding “HELL, YES”!

Recently, this was told quite well by Nike. They took a social stand in running two ad campaigns, the first with Kolin Kaepernik. No matter what you think about professional athletes taking a stand (or actually taking a knee) for what they believe in, the ad team did a phenomenal job at putting together a story about living your best YOU and it is SO on point. People will always knock what they don’t understand or can’t fit in a light blue box wrapped with a bow…don’t let that stop you. As so beautifully stated, “Because what non-believers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult; it’s a complement.” Nike has had it’s on issues over the years from sweat shops to gender inequity in it’s ranks, but it continually works to improve itself as we all should. If we’ve taken accountability for things done in our past, learned from what we may not have known, changed and grown, then we evolve to our higher selves. We haven’t failed, we’ve learned what was important and built from that. Can using Mr. Kaepernik hurt the organization? Possibly. Could they sacrifice everything for believing in something? I don’t believe that to be true. Days following the ads, I read about the stock dropping by 3.2% (via CNBC on 9/4/18) while sales increased by 31%, according to NBC News. #NikeBoycott started trending with people destroying their Nike shoes and apparel and others asking people to donate them to the homeless and others who could use them. If you don’t stand for anything, you’ll fall for anything. I don’t believe Nike will be sacrificing much and will have much to gain from a generation that appreciates authentic voice and social impact.

Before my failed experience, I was a consensus builder (okay who am I kidding, I was very much a people-pleaser). I covered myself in layers to keep others away. I figured if I constantly took care of others, then I wouldn’t care if they didn’t do it in return. I was once so consumed with fear and doubt, afraid that I wouldn’t live up to others’ expectations. It was a heavy cross to bear. I’ve always been secure in who I am and what I can give, but insecure in how others will receive it. It wasn’t until I let it go, that I realized the people who really want me in their lives, and not just want something from me. Again, in Nike’s advertising brilliance they took the spotlight and shown it on Caster Semnya. Ms. Caster is an athlete from South Africa who has dealt with immense scrutiny and adversity because of her speed and build, which lent to comments that she was a man because she was too fast and too masculine by western definitions. If she were to listen to others, who would she be? Don’t apologize for who you are.

I guess I love these ads because they are stories unwrapped to get to the heart of the matter: what makes us unique, and that SHOULD be for the world to see! However, until we are completely comfortable with ourselves we cover up.

I really do love this song and video….the beat, the sensuality, the visualization of the power of touch, the dance, the imagery…it’s so flippin’ HOT! I suggest only covering yourself up for a music video or a photo shoot, or maybe for a cold winter’s night, but not for anything more. Try and maybe you’ll fail. Dream, but not the easy road. Dream scary, exciting dreams. Love, but not on a surface level, love with all you have. Find the heart of you under all those layers. And most importantly, stop mud slinging yourself because I want to see you shine.

Playing with Color – Model: Heather Hutzell; Photographer: Erin Killion Photography; Stylist: Moi

If I fall for you, I’ll never recover. If I fall for you, I’ve never be the same (damn straight and neither will you?–love me some Maroon 5)

With light and love,

Dara Sophia

1 thought on “Under the Layers”

  1. Brilliant insight Dara! I LOVE your blogs. In them, you tell the world the things we all yearn to say or do or be. You help us to see ourselves in a positive way. Thank you!!!

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