Things being what they are, I have a new habit every morning. I put on my face. Fake eyelashes, makeup and a head covering are required for me to feel comfortable being seen.
If I’m honest, I can admit that a not small part of me feels like I should hide and not appear in public. I’m just not in an acceptable state. The part of me that is critical and points out how I’m supposed to be in the world does not give the pass for me to be visible freely.
It’s a sense of shame. If I show I risk being rejected, mocked or pitied.
I feel myself cringing, curling up to protect myself from these painful possibilities. My real self, my authentic face needs to be hidden, covered and not exposed public judgement and personal humiliation.
It’s painful to see other people look on me with pity. There has to be another way.
As I consider it, other’s opinions of me are something I have wrestled with in the past. I had to rank my own opinions higher than other people’s. I suppose putting myself together in the morning is something I do for me, not for other people. I feel more comfortable when I look the way I want to look.
Other people are welcome to their opinions as long as I am secure and balanced. I’m the only one that knows what’s going on in my life and what it took for me to get to this moment.
I actidentally had a deep plunge into the world of other’s opinions last week. I posted a 9 second video of my daughter doing a karate lesson. Nothing special but the gods of internet algorithms took it viral. Amost half a million people saw this 9 second video over the next few days.
Of that huge number of people who saw this video of my kid, a few thousand hit the heart and ‘liked” the video A few hundred left comments.
The comments were not expressing approval. That huge number of people boiled down to a couple people who had to tell us all the things that were wrong with us. The commenters were inspired with certainty in pointing out shortcomings. Well, they also decided that my daughter was mentally handicapped and being scammed by her Karate teachers.
A few hundred people were direct, definite and specific.
But they were totally wrong. Laughably wrong. Mean and cruel, many of them.
I knew they were wrong. It was okay that they were wrong. It was all about their error and nothing to do with me or my daughter.
Same with with the cringey shame I dread. Other people’s opinions really aren’t about me. If I can look myself square in the mirror and know who I am and be proud of what I’m doing in the world, that’s what really matters.