What I think about myself is often reflected in what I choose to notice about others. For example, if I’m feeling fluffy, I’ll notice everyone else’s fluff. If I’m feeling depressed, I gravitate towards people who prefer to frown. If I’m angry, everyone on the highway is a total asshole. Now on the other hand, if I’m feeling intact, I can react to almost any crap thrown my way with humor, or indifference. I prefer humor. Just this morning, as I was putting on my face, Larry says, “I don’t know where you got this, but this is the worst fucking toothpaste ever.” I glance at him holding the offensive tube of paste in the air, smiling I say, “OMG, a toothpaste that procreates, now that is big news.” I get the Larry look, “It’s dripping all over the drawer. What a mess.” I say, “Procreating is messy.” I can tell he is trying not to smile so I add, “They should label the boxes better. If I saw Worst Fucking Toothpaste Ever I would never have bought two tubes.” He closes the drawer and I ignore the urge to clean it up. He says, “Let’s go pick up a breakfast burrito.” Me, “I don’t know if we should leave the toothpaste alone?” He finally laughs… I wanted to add, “maybe you should do the shopping from now on,” but I bit my tongue. I’m hungry. He can read it in my blog.
If I truly believed in my worthiness I think I would see this reflected in the world. But I don’t. Sometimes I struggle with my self worth and therefore I struggle with the way I believe others see me. Last week we had a guy come to the house to re-cable everything. We’re going satellite, apparently it will save us a hundred bucks a month, we do this every other year when the special bundle rates expire. It is a huge pain in the neck. This soft spoken guy shows up at the door. Larry is working so I have to field a bunch of ridiculous questions. Where is the main cable box? Who the hell knows. Where do I want the primary receiver? Haven’t a clue. Where is the access to under the house. You’re going under the house? What direction does the house face? Towards England? I send Larry a 911 message. He texts me back “on my way.” In the mean time I am clearing out closets that have access portals to under the house. Every closet in the house is stuffed with crap from my kids who have moved out. Prom dresses, yoga mats, lettermen jackets, barbie dolls, Legos, shoe shining kits, sewing machines, art work, skate boards, hiking boots, a magnet set, margarita glasses (I should repurpose those), old suitcases, paint sets, books, cameras. I look like a hoarder. He just watches me shove shit all over the house. Then he needs the side gates unlocked and I realize the side yards have massive piles of crap covered with tarps. My extensions are out of control. Why did I have so many children? They’re messy. I am mortified. What will the cable guy think? He gives no sign of judgement and I look for it like a thirsty woman in search of wine. There was none. It was all me.
It is interesting how I restructure stories in my mind to justify my take on the scenario. The way we view the world can be entirely narcissistic. Sometimes it has to be. It takes a certain level of maturity to empathize with others, to step away from your personal views, and try on opinions of various color and texture. What am I so afraid of? I think I’m afraid of rejection? If you knew about the closet in my guest room you might think I’m lazy and unorganized. If you found out I hate decorating the Christmas Tree I’d put my Martha Stewart image at risk. If you saw the eczema on my legs you would run away screaming. (The doctors says to reduce my stress and it will go away. If only they labeled the toothpaste properly.) But the weird thing is I’ve been rejected before and I did not die. In fact, it was liberating. I’ve come to believe people who reject you do so because they can no longer control you. The freedom is exhilarating. Brene Brown says, “We don’t have to experience shame to be paralyzed by it – the fear of being perceived as unworthy is enough to force us to silence our stories.” I’ll never go back to who you want me to be, how you want me to act, or what you want me to say. My life might be spilling out of the closet and the Crest tube but I’m beginning to enjoy this aging, fluffy, eczema decorated, unorganized, emotional, sassy woman who sucks at shopping. Deal with it.