When people look at me what do they see? I’ve often wondered what kind of impression I make.
Age is a big factor; I’m in my mid-thirties. A couple of well-meaning friends tell me I look younger, but I think the best I could get away with is early thirties.
Dress sense is another factor. I’ve been told I dress like a student. In the past this has been partly due to a shortness of money; for quite some time I’ve looked out for bargains on eBay or for something funky in charity shops. I don’t really have to do that now, and I admit I do buy a few things from shops too, but I like a bargain, and I love not wearing the same as everyone else.
I like how I dress. I wear things for quirkiness and comfort, and it helps to keep me feeling relaxed.
I have a good job. A job I love, but when people see me walking from the bus stop to work, would they think that? Would they look at my studenty attire and assume something entirely different? To some, I must appear scruffy; to some, I’m sure I look like I don’t have a care in the world.
To people see me and know straight away that I’m a mum to an almost teenager? Can they tell I suffer with depression? Do they know that it would take just a handful of words to make me laugh or make me cry? Or do people see the impression I try to give off; that I’m successful, confident and happy in every aspect of my life?
I guess to some extent we all judge, whether we mean to or not. If I didn’t know who Richard Branson was but saw him in the street, I’d never think he was the most successful entrepreneur of our generation. I’d just think “family man with a dodgy taste in jumpers”.
A man walked into me at the bus stop a couple of weeks ago, reeking of alcohol. It was 7:30am. I’ll admit, my opinion of him was instant: drunken mess of a man. Only now as I write this do I stop to wonder what made him like that. What his story might be. For all I know his life may have fallen apart in a catastrophic event that he couldn’t stop or control. He may have been successful and happy, living a life that was perfect for him. Perhaps, when the hairline cracks became chasms, he was just unable to cling on.
Some people keep going, while for some it just gets too much. So far, I’ve been the former. I just hope people realise what an achievement that is when they look at me.