|the level of productivity I reached today|
A lady once told me to stop acting like I was on center stage. She was a former model, and believed for a long time that all eyes were constantly on her. Then one day at a show, she was walking down the runway with the hot, bright lights on her, and she somehow managed to fall off the end of the stage and into the audience. Horrified, she raced back to the dressing area, missed her next run but was able to get dressed and back on the runway for her third outfit showing. She was convinced her career was over, that she would be laughed out of modeling, but the reality was that almost nobody noticed. Well, the people she fell on noticed, but otherwise, everyone was too consumed with their own shit to put much thought into what had happened, and there were plenty of people who simply didn't see her tumble. Of course the designer and people in the show were aware, but "the show must go on" motto was taken seriously, so it did. She told me that this incident helped her be less frantic in life, because she realized that people are more concerned with their own internal dialogue than with what other people are doing. My dad used to say that half the people in the world don't care about your problems, and the other half are glad about them. I don't believe that, but I am starting to realize that most people are not going to spend much time examining others when they have their own worries. This lady I mentioned had an eating disorder, but seemed to be more healthy in life after she stopped modeling.
So many of us walk around as if everyone is judging us. We assume people think certain things about us and feel like the world is watching, waiting for us to screw up or stumble. I have come a long way in terms of not getting too caught up in feeling constantly scrutinized, but I still have my moments of insecurity. What I really need to learn is to not take other people's bad behavior personally. I could have used a reminder the other night when I was snubbed by someone and felt hurt. Instead of thinking, wow, this lady has a problem, I immediately, thought, "Oh no, what have I done? Why am I not good enough?" The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that I'm not the one with the issue. Still, I hate when an effort to be nice is met with the opposite. And why is it that I'm the one walking away feeling bad? Why did I bother? In sharp contrast to this encounter, almost immediately after, I ran into someone who greeted me with a big smile and a hug, which made me feel much better. It also made me realize that I need to stop basing how I feel on how others react to me. We are social creatures though, so I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to feel accepted. Yes, I'm overly sensitive, but I don't feel it takes a big effort to be polite.
My sister reminded me some time ago that it's OK to not be liked by others. I don't like everyone, so why should I expect everyone to like me? Sometimes we like someone, but the feelings are not mutual. In rare instances, it's possible to like someone but discover it's unhealthy to be around that person. Years ago I had a friend who tended to take advantage of people in her circle. She did it to me one too many times, and I finally had to draw the line. The relationship was too unhealthy to continue. It's rare that I get to a point where I feel a solution can't be found, but it does happen. Recently, a distant relative ended a 15 year marriage, because she could no longer take the verbal and sometimes physical abuse of her alcoholic husband. Things are always more complicated when addiction is thrown into relationships, but his behavior was what drove her away.
What I have learned in life is that the saying about sticks and stones breaking bones and words never hurting is a bunch of bullshit. Words hurt. They scar and wound just as deeply as a physical injury, sometimes even more so. Actions hurt too.
Damn, I've spent so much time censoring what I write in this post, that I don't even know where I'm going with it. I guess I'm not quite ready to share some bigger issues that have been on my mind lately. Those will have to wait.
I think I'm having a bit of the post race blues. I can't seem to stop crying all of a sudden. At the same time, I feel pretty lucky to have some very supportive friends in my life these days.