In the past year the phrase which keeps being repeated to me when I am seen in a dress & make-up, “You clean up nice.”

Is this suppose to be a compliment?

Does your content clean up nicely?

Since my teenage years I always chose jeans, t-shirts or shorts to wear. Hair in a ponytail, thanks to Shirley Temple curls and I was never into make-up or trying to impress others. Spending most of my childhood up on a stage where I dressed in costume and globs of make-up was applied to my face as I gracefully danced around definitely had something to do with not wanting to add fakeness to myself as I grew older. With the addition of always ending up with some skin irritation and eye infection, putting make-up on left me with a bad experience.

Up to age 25, it never bothered me till my wedding day. I walked over to my grandmother (Pearl) during my wedding reception where she said the most sarcastic thing to me, “You clean up nice.” My mouth dropped open, I smiled, hugged her and said, “I love you too grandma!”

Since I always felt living a natural and an organic life also included natural beauty, why did I have to “dress” up for others?

Then I realized what my grandmother was trying to say that day. It wasn’t so much about the make-up or hair but the way I held myself like I used to up on stage during all my solo dance performances. The confidence which shined through that day because I was “put” together from hair, make-up to the wedding gown and my ballroom dance placed me back up on that stage ready to perform.

When approaching brainstorming sessions with my team, before the content creation process, there are a series of questions we ask ourselves. These questions are focused on the presentation of the content and how others will perceive it. Another way of saying, “you clean up nice” but focused on the production of content.

If a piece of content isn’t formatted in a way that is eye pleasing or easily understood to your target audience, then why bother to write or even create the piece? Taking all the time to create with no real reward, what is the reasoning behind this?

To relate this idea back to being told that I clean up nicely, I am guessing the effort to be presentable, to each individual, have different “clean up nice” levels. A lot of my reasoning of why I choose to dress the way I do is I am a shy person and getting attention from others has always been an internal fight.

Could this also be a reason why some pieces of content that are created are not overly driven by data and promotion? Does the creator not want the attention for their piece?

As I have grown into a “mature” woman, I am getting more used to “cleaning up nicely” but the internal struggle will always be there. When it comes to content, I’ll always make sure it is presentable and as my grandmother said to me it will “Clean up nicely.”

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