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March 30, 2023

“Tone it down?” I don’t think so.

The comedy, “Blades of Glory” has inspired a recent meme. It’s about the concept of “toning it down.”

“Them: ‘You better tone it down. You’re on thin ice.’

Me:

(A spectacular, flamboyant costumed image of the Will Ferrell character on the ice rink).”

There you go.

It’s the feisty and hearty approach to someone trying to contain us.

And how many of us have had to buck being contained in such as fashion?

(I see many hands popping up over numerous life ice rinks).

Why, then, is there this need, this emphasis, this pressure to get us to “tone it down?”

Not surprisingly, abusive reasons are not too hard to be found on the “toning it down” landscape. It could be explained with these reasons…

It’s uncomfortable.

If you and I show up in our glittery and fringy life costume, it can create discomfort. People can be uncomfortable because they’re afraid of change, they are jealous of our brilliance and creativity, or they could be uncomfortable because they cannot understand our vision, costume choice included.

And, instead of recognizing and embracing that there are other ways to live, and other costumes to wear, some people just want their comfort, at all costs.

Ergo…

“Tone it down.”

So, put on the three-piece suit. Look presentable. Be quiet. Act “normal.”

Or we could

Double down on the ice rink.

Many of us who have been at the end of this abusive containment have gone out of our way to be considerate. We have silenced, edited, and stifled ourselves, for the comfort of someone else. We all have done it. And how many times, really, has it been worth that effort?

I hear crickets.

It’s not about us being rude, insensitive, or abusive ourselves. Rather, it has to do with recognizing our unique value. And, often, that coexists with someone else’s dedication to misunderstanding and controlling us. Is life worth catering to that kind of person and behavior?

I’m guessing “no.”

And then there’s this possible reason we are asked to “tone it down…”

It’s inconvenient.

We can show up, in life, as a representation of something bigger that cannot be ignored.

And some people would rather not deal with that.

To “deal” would require change and work.

And many people are not thrilled with those two endeavors.

“Change back” is easier.

So…

“Tone it down.”

Double down on the ice rink.

Let the costume be inconvenient for others.

Perhaps, how we show up in the world signals the presence of harmful addictions, disorders, or dysfunctional ways of being? You know, things that need to be changed?

Some people insist on dressing for a “normal” or a “nothing-to-see-here” image.

But there is something to see here. You and I are that spectacle.

You and I can be the evidence that confronts the convenient with the inconvenient.

Let’s keep doing that. Let’s do a triple spin on the rink!

And, while we’re talking about abuse, addiction, and dysfunction…

It’s dangerous.

Peril can come in the form of outright, dangerous things like abuse and addiction.

But peril can also exist in some people’s minds as it pertains to image, reputation, and status. Sometimes, the “toning down” pressure comes from “What will other people think?”

Recognize your life situation here?

There can exist some people, including people within our own families and inner circles, that are dedicated and even addicted to a certain facade portrayed to the outside world.

Things like “reputation” can have narrow parameters to live within. For some people, reputation, status, and image can be the most important thing to protect. Everything and everyone else, therefore, is expendable.

And that includes the vibrant us, in our shiny life costumes.

Double down on the ice rink.

Our manner of showing up in the world is not up for debate. Nor is it up for extermination.

There are many ways to express oneself, dress oneself, be creative, productive, relevant, and meaningful.

And ALL are valid.

Our authentic image is just as important as any other.

Allow your true tone to show UP!

Integrity.

Authenticity.

“Being real.”

They are all different ways of communicating the same message: being ourselves does matter.

So, the next time we hear, “Tone it down,” let’s rise to the challenge, knowing we’re doing something right. It’s not evidence we’re being something wrong.

Copyright © 2023 by Sheryle Cruse

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