I have spent most of my life being scared to be myself. Until recently, I didn't even know who Alison was, or what she wanted. I was too busy trying to fit in and do what was expected of me.
My biggest fear was that I would be rejected. And, despite trying so hard to stop this from happening, by bending and contorting myself to fit it, that was exactly what happened. Or, at least that is how it felt to me.
For the past few years I have been doing life differently, and no longer trying to 'fit in' with what I thought was expected of me. It hadn't worked so far, so why keep doing it?
It has made me realise just how much energy goes into trying to fit in, doing what is expected or even second-guessing what others may be thinking about us.
I am constantly moved, inspired and filled with love by the people who sit with me. Every single one is beautiful, amazing and unique. And, that would be the same if you sat with me too. You are certainly not the exception, however much you believe you are.
I had exactly that thought when I sat in a large room and watched as person after person sat in front of the camera and had their image projected onto a large screen for all to see. Each and every person was beautiful. Not in the conventional sense that is promoted in the media, but in a real human being-ness way. Everyone in the room could see how special every person was.
Yet, what was going through my mind was that there was going to be a gasp of horror as my image appeared on the screen. I would be the one who was far from beautiful, the ugly duckling.
But, no. That didn't happen. There was no gasp, the lens didn't crack. Apparently, I blended seamlessly with the other beautiful humans.
The next step was to see myself. That is where the true horror lay. I don't want to see myself. What an incredibly sad statement. How awful that I and many, many others are not happy to look at our own image.
Through the process of watching myself on film (not doing anything, just being my undefended self), I discovered that I am okay. And, for the first time, I felt compassion, acceptance and love for myself. It was profound.
This is why I do the work I do. I want everyone to be able to feel comfortable with who they are, what they look like and what matters to them. I won't promise that a session of Time and Attention will solve all, or even any, of your problems but it may just be the beginning of a new relationship with yourself.
The short films I make and share are my small contribution to helping people see each other in a new way, and perhaps creating an opening for more compassion for ourselves and others as we see what it is to be human.