Life is a journey. And along the way we hope we learn a few things, yes? At least I do. Because I’m self-reflective. Probably too much. You know what I learned recently?
I don’t care if you don’t like me. Well, in theory.
I’ve spent my whole life being overly self-conscious. Those whispers in the playground, the funny looks, the odd comments and pointed remarks? They’ve tormented me into the early hours as I’ve wondered if they were about me. WHY DON’T THEY LIKE ME? WHAT DID I DO WRONG?
You’re confident in your skin and most likely oblivious to the fact that you’re wounding me. To you it’s nothing. You probably weren’t even talking about me (well, you might have been.. what were you saying? Was it about my shoes? Something I said?)
Here’s the revelation: I’m surprisingly shy and I have shockingly low self-esteem. Most of my bright shininess is bravado. You didn’t know that, did you? Most of the time I feel just wrong. So when you don’t like me, I feel it. To you, it’s just a fleeting thought or emotion. But for me, It’s not you just not liking me, it’s a tormented sinking feeling, even more than thinking about bungee jumping or nobody showing up to my party.
Walking into a room full of people (strangers or not) by myself who may or may not like me and who are nonetheless expecting witty repartee and small talk is the the worst. Except for holding a snake. Or going on the subway. Or eating raw tomatoes. But, it’s on the list. If I have to go somewhere by myself without a clear purpose except to wander around talking to people who are already talking to each other, well, I lose sleep (yes, I know I like to talk but only to people I know want to talk to me). Networking is a swear word to me.
I’m not aloof, I’m panicking. That’s when I start babbling and talking so fast and so much all the while yelling at myself to shut the hell up. Just STOP TALKING or they won’t like you MORE. I’m not insanely inappropriate, I’m completely out of my element (note: when you tell me that people are trying to get away from me, you make it worse. Keep your observations to yourself). Maybe you’re doing ok, you’ve got a thick skin or maybe you’re pretending too. But know the whole time this cocktail party is making me think one thing: NOBODY LIKES ME HERE. I SHOULD GO.
My neurosis is based in my imagined reality. I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of people working hard to avoid me. And even more who just plain don’t care for my flavour of tea. But honestly, don’t talk about me right in front of me in another language to the manicurist. I can speak bitch, you know.
Who gives you the right to just stop liking me. Oh yeah…you do.
It’s taken me almost half a century to realize this fact. You get to not like me. But you know what? I get to NOT CARE if you don’t.
So here we go: Think what you want about me, say what you want about me, because I’m free of your opinions. I just don’t care. There’s only ONE PERSON I ultimately have to answer to, and that’s me. I’m the only one who has to like me. Not even my husband (he only likes me 40% of the time), or my kids (it’s their job to not like me 48% of the time except when they want money then it’s 74%).
So stop making me feel bad (on purpose or in my extremely active imagination) about who I am.
Let’s be honest. Everything you’re thinking about me is true. I know this, because as I said, I’m self-reflective.
I talk too much.
I can be annoying.
I can be embarrassing.
I can be exhausting.
I’m a little awkward and quite possibly strange.
I’m no good at small talk.
I often say the wrong thing.
But tell me you’re none of those things none of the time and I’ll gladly let you hang a kick me sign on my back.
But otherwise, keep your pie-hole closed.
This is so AMAZING. I don’t know why I didn’t think of not giving a crap years ago.
Now, I can walk into a whole room of people I know can’t stand me with a smile on my face. When I just sit down and start bending their ears with my chipper shit-talk and I can see them cringing, I’m going to actually enjoy it.
I’m joking. I’m not going to. It’s as painful as wearing a bathing suit, this not-caring. It’s a work-in-progress. But, it’s good to have goals.
In conclusion, if you don’t like me, I don’t care. But, please like me. Because it bothers me if you don’t.
PS I like you. I really like you. Unless you’re nasty. Then I’m going to whisper about you in the playground. No I won’t. That’s mean. But I’ll want to.