Last week I posted the picture above on social media as a gag, but what started out as light hearted attempt at humor, turned into what I think was a poorly worded, confusing message. So what do you do when an ambiguous statement needs clarification? Why, you write about it in your blog of course. Now this may not fit the format of my blog, since it isn’t about health or fitness, but it’s my blog and I’m throwing it out there anyway. You can do that when your a blogger.
It all started when I was getting ready for work one morning and I noticed that I bore a striking resemblance to the character Julian on the Netflix series “Trailer Park Boys”. In all honesty, I’ve been told this a lot any time I grow my goatee and my hair gets longer, but for some reason it really jumped out at me that morning. So I threw on a black t-shirt, snapped a picture on my porch and posted it on Instagram to see how many wise cracks I could accumulate in the comment section. The experiment was a success and I am still getting comments on it as I write this now.
I also serve in the United States Army Reserve, as a Chief Warrant Officer and a platoon leader. One of my soldiers saw my picture and made a comment about it that was ridiculously funny, so I got the idea to do a before and after picture to show him I was still the Chief. I had actually just came home from duty that same weekend I saw his comment, and being in uniform I struck the same pose on the porch. I replaced Julian’s famous rum and Coke glass with a coffee cup, since Warrant Officers are notorious for drinking coffee, and stood in the same spot. I did all I could to replicate the picture from before and the results were pretty good, so I posted the picture in the comments section and asked if this looked better to him, his response was equally hilarious and I figured that was the end of it. However I was not prepared for the effects the two pictures had on me when I placed them side by side.
As I looked at them, I couldn’t get over how different they looked, even though they were both pictures of me. If I were good at Photoshop, I could have blended them together and you’d think they were two separate people. It occured to me that I could easily alter my appearance and doing so could change my own self perception, how I felt people saw me and how I interacted with others.
You see, the guy on the left is an officer in the US Army. Not just any officer either, but a Warrant Officer, a position that is highly regarded in the military. They are considered to be subject matter experts in their field due to their years of training and experience. Soldiers, both officers and enlisted alike, will spot me in that uniform, see the bar on my chest, and immediately treat me with the utmost respect, and for good reason. I have accumulated about thirty years of service in the military and I’m very good at what I do. Civilians, because of their appreciation for America’s military, are always very kind and respectful as well, for the most part. Because of all this, I find that when I wear this uniform my pride and confidence are raised to their highest levels.
The guy on the right works at a shipyard. He’s not a big deal and no one really is very impressed by him, at least he doesn’t think so. He goes to his warehouse, moves boxes and paperwork around, punches data into a spreadsheet and feels like he gets shit on, just like so many other people do who are out there working for a living. And while he may look a little tough in this shot, believe me, most of that is the camera angle and an outstanding effort at keeping his gut sucked in until the flash went off. He’s really just an old guy who suffers from banged up knees and chronic fatigue from working at a job he hates. He feels like he is the world’s doormat and every day is just one big shit sandwich that we are all required to take a bite out of.
Now my question is, why?
That’s the same guy in those pictures. He has the same amount of money and the same degree of health. The same number of people love him and he has the same problems. How is it that his appearance could cause such a difference in his attitude and self esteem?
It shouldn’t. The only difference is the way I feel about myself when I am wearing them. I am the same man, regardless of what I have on. I am the sum of all the years of experience I’ve had and the average of all the people I associate with. I feel different because I am telling myself I’m different, and the only reason people treat me differently is because of my self image and how I project it.
As I was hit with this epiphany I posted this picture in a moment of inspiration with the caption :
“… You are who you are no matter what you look like. It’s what’s in the shirt that counts, not what’s on it”.
I had hoped folks would understand where I was going with it, but instead I think it came across more as a “Check out how cool I look.”, kind of post. which really wasn’t where I was going with it at all, ( although I got to admit, I do look kind of cool ).
My message was simply this:
Know your worth,
Confidence and pride come from within.
Be proud always.
It’s what’s in the shirt that counts, not what’s on it.
… Get it?