These photos were taken on the 23rd May, at a FaB Intervention in Bath. I blogged about it at the time here. That was the ‘what’, I have recently been thinking about the ‘why’. Here are some rambling thoughts by way of conclusion.
So, why? Why put on a blue wig and hand out free sweets and compliments?
The handing out compliments bit is easy. Firstly, I like the idea of randomly brightening a person’s day. Secondly, it is a nice play on words; writing a compliment on a compliments slip and handing it out with a complimentary sweet.
So, why the blue wig then? Well, there is something appealing about not entirely being myself. Of going into a place where I am not known, covering up one of my key features (my hair is long and unruly, with curls bordering on frizz) and acting out of character. Deliberately drawing attention to myself in a public place; inviting reaction, possible rejection and even perhaps mockery.
For all that I appear confident, I care a great deal about how others percieve me, and I know I am not alone in this. A good friend of mine has been giving herself a hard time recently over the same sort of thing. I can give her the usual advice, along the lines of the Dr Seuss quote: “Those who mind don’t matter, those that matter don’t mind”, but I still find it hard to really believe.
I am aware that I tend to stand out. I am sometimes clumsy in speech and action, and I know I don’t blend in easily. I often wish I did. I would like to move with anonymity through life, for the most part, but am generally not permitted that luxury. So, for that day, I decided to embrace that, enhance it, and go with it.
The blue wig was therefore a way of deliberately standing out on my terms.
The most surprising result of this whole experience is that I learned something. Something about myself and something about others. It is this: The way in which people reacted when I approached them in a blue wig, offering free sweets and complimentary compliments was mostly to do with them and very little to do with me. That may not seem too earth-shatteringly revelatory to most of you, but it was a worthwhile lesson for me.
I actually found it hard to comprehend those who rejected me that day. Beyond necessary reasons such as needing to be in work, I couldn’t understand why someone would turn down a free sweet and some kind words. Initially, I’ll admit to actually being a little affronted by this. I was able to shake it off pretty rapidly, though, concluding that is was really ‘their loss’. By the time I reached the woman who asked me incredulously, “Why would I want that?” I was not ruffled. I found myself thinking, as I walked away, “Well, why wouldn’t you?”
I met some incredibly sweet, kind and generous people that day. People who weren’t afraid to engage with the oddball in the blue wig, and who got something out of the experience. I went with the intention of raising a smile, of blessing people and – yes – of getting out of my comfort zone. I achieved all of these things, and my day was also brightened as a consequence.
I think I am going to be Blue Morpho again. Maybe many times. Perhaps, eventually, I will feel comfortable enough to do it without the ‘disguise’. I hope so, for it will mean that I am finally at home in my own skin.