• Diana McLaren

Hashtag No Filter

Putting myself in the public eye a lot I often get asked some pretty awesome questions by some pretty awesome strangers. And I got one recently I just had to share.

At an event recently I was asked or more told by an extraordinarily pretty inebriated girl (seriously I was drooling); ‘Oh my god you have like no filter, you must be constantly worried that everyone hates you?’

You are correct, obviously, the answer is yes. I am often terrified that people are going to think I’m a bitch or a slut or a know it all or any one of a hundred other things I have been called by friends and strangers alike. That’s just something that happens when you put your material up online. People comment. And not always kindly.

But I still choose to put myself out there and I choose very deliberately not to have a filter, both in my performances and my personal life. Because for me personally if I’m constantly filtering myself I’m the one that is hating me. And it doesn’t serve me.

I use to have a mantra in public situations; ‘don’t say your real thoughts’. This was how I reminded myself to censor and ‘be polite’. And every time I did that I felt like I was burying a part of myself. You see for me ‘being polite’ was not about kindness or being loving, but about lying. Lying by omission, but still.

And even when I did censor myself constantly I can assure you, people still hated me and called me names. And so there I was hiding part of myself, not feeling like I could be me, hating myself and other people still hated me and even when they liked me, it didn’t feel like they really liked me anyway.

And so I had to seriously think about it, what was the point of this filter. Just to stop everyone from being offended. Well, it wasn’t working and I wasn’t sure that was even something I believed in.

I looked around the world and realized so many people do what I did; they hide because they’re secretly worried they’re an asshole. Boy, was I worried. But it wasn’t solving anything. If I did have any underlying bias I wasn’t dealing with them, I was hiding them. Who does that help?

So I started dropping the filters. Not all the time, I often still filter, but just in small ways. Times, when I found myself thinking, don’t say that they’ll think you’re a bitch, I’d say it! Sometimes they did think I was a bitch, but not nearly as often as I thought it about myself.

And occasionally I get the chance to have an honest conversation with someone because I’ve said my real thoughts and they’re curious and I’m curious and we explore the ideas together.

So by dropping the filters suddenly, I didn’t spend all my time worrying about what other people thought of me and I could switch my focus to what I thought about myself. I didn’t hate my thoughts and myself constantly; we were becoming friends… for the most part. And in the situations where I did have an underlying bias, or blindness or had just not considered my privilege I was finally dealing with it and learning and growing.

It was hard; it meant when people disliked me, they actually did dislike me because I was being myself. It also meant that when they liked me they actually liked me because I was being myself.

Obviously, this is not the way everyone else’s brains work. For some people being polite and censoring themselves is a kindness. I only share my thoughts because if there are other people censoring constantly because like me they were worried that they’re secretly an asshole then I suggest you play around with it. I found out the underneath it all I’m actually a kind considerate person that’s occasionally a bit dickish. Because you know what… we all are!

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