[DAY TWO] The fear of being seen and not heard

You probably won’t see this – but maybe you’ll hear it?

This is a bit of a weird thing to wrap my head around because in the digital space, you’re supposed to be leveraging the potential of hundreds of thousands of people ‘seeing you’ and yet my conditioning is such that I want to speak to only one person at a time. 

Speak to. Not stand before.

This whole idea of being seen is also weird. 

I mean what does that even mean? 

I talk to my clients all the time about ‘being seen’ and in most cases, it means putting yourself out there. 

And with that comes, of course, this crippling fear of judgement and failure. 

But I think subservient to that is this fear that no one is actually going to give a f**k and that we’ll all just end up invisible and unheard. 

Oh. There’s that word again. Unheard. 

It’s always there. Right after unseen.

I think we are more afraid of not being listened to than we are of being seen. 

I mean, I was on television, for crying out loud, and I never felt SEEN. 

I felt like every day I went to work, I put on a mask and smile and sometimes high heels and acted a part. 

But no one saw ME. No one knew ME. 

If I had shown the real me on television, they would have shown me the door. 

Because the real me is the one who is imperfect and passionate. 

Who makes extremely human mistakes and has a host of human emotions. 

The real me is the one who loves to wear sweat suits and overalls and have messy hair. The real me being seen is a hell of a lot different than that polished me being seen. 

But I sound the same. Sweat suits or stilettos – I sound the same.

The real me is the one who wants to be heard more than she needs to be seen. 

I once had a professor in University tell me that I could never report on politics because I was too pretty. I’d be distracting to male viewers and they’d only look and not listen. 

(And that was more of a disservice to men than to me? I digress. One of these days, I’ll rage against the patriarchy. But right now it’s early and I’m tired). 

I had a news director tell me my hair had to be shorter than my chin because – you guessed it – it would be distracting to male viewers as I was talking about important things. 

Which at the time and, to this day, enrages me, and yet now in hindsight I see that this TEEVEE man was valuing being heard over being seen. 

It was crucial that my appearance not distract from my message. 

Ah. Breathing space. 

This is where I can be. 

This is where you can be. 

Can we drop the dog and pony show about being seen? The one that has us frantically scrolling Instagram and developing severe comparisonitis and forcing ourselves to write the way everyone else writes? 

And can we instead just speak loudly enough to be heard? 

When I was floating the idea of Story Studio Network by some close friends, about half of them asked why I wasn’t going to offer video as a package add-on in the beginning. (And we may do that in the future, just not now)… 

And my straight up answer was that being SEEN often complicates things for the person being seen and the viewer doing the seeing. 

Not to mention that production costs for video are 3-4x that of audio. 

I grew up in a world of being heard. Of speaking whispers and projecting voices. 

So that is what I do now. 

Heard and unseen. 

Is better than fearful of being seen and being totally mute. 

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