I had those words spoken to me recently, and it just struck me. It's been mulling around in the back of my head for days, like an endless loop.
"You're not who I thought you were..."
In this case it was more of a compliment than one of those last minute, throw it in your face things that that phrase brings to mind. For me it does, anyway.
But it got me to thinking about first impressions. Those instant judgments that we all make, upon first sight of a person, by their clothes, their hair, the way they walk, even before they ever open their mouths. And how wrong they can be.
Hair back in a pony tail, grimy, stained jeans, old wore out t-shirt, ball cap that looks like its better days are far behind it, skinny as a rail, walking in a fluid slouch that saves the knees and back when walking long distances on hard surfaces.
That's what I look like.
It's not who I am.
I love movies and books, horses and learning.
I like clothes shopping, as long as I can do it at my speed, which is fast.
I like tall shoes, I was the smallest person around for so many years, I like having the extra height.
I dress for what I'm doing. If I'm working, I dress for work, if I'm goofing off, I dress for comfort. When I go out, I dress for going out. I don't dress to impress the people I see every day, because I don't care if they're impressed with how I look.
I love to dance and to sing, even though I'm no good at either of them.
I love Edgar Allen Poe, e.e. cummings, Mercedes Lackey, Laurell K. Hamilton, Hemingway and Mark Twain and Robert A. Heinlein.
I cuss like a... well, like a construction worker, and I make a decent meatloaf.
I'll dig a hole, climb a hill, stand all day, and shovel shit, but I don't have to be happy about it.
I'll drive off into the sunrise with nothing more than a cheap road map and a car full of camping gear. I'll park myself in the middle of a wheat field and just sit for hours.
I'll park in front of my computer and surf the web for hours, talk to friends and work on papers.
I hate feeling helpless, and I hate when people don't follow through on their promises.
I can live in the world that is around us today and I can still have hope for the future.
I can live in the world of technology and cars, four wheelers and automated everything, and still believe with every ounce of my being that there's a place for the horse mounted cowboy in the world.
I can watch the skills that made my grandparents and great grandparents their living be turned into a hobby, or a curiosity, and still know that those same skills are valuable, and honorable.
All of that still doesn't add up to who I am.
And some people will never look past the grimy jeans and hat far enough to see any of that, let alone see more.