Saturday, September 10, 2011
Like a Broken Record....
Compliments. We've talked about them before. I've addressed the idea of how they help and how they hinder many times. In fact, talking about this topic again might make me sound like a bit of a broken record....hence the snazzy title of today's blog entry.
Every so often, we receive a real, genuine, compliment. Don't get yourself confused: not all compliments are real and genuine. Compliments are sneaky creatures. People may use them strategically to get what they want, to get a reaction out of someone, to get themselves out of a sticky situation, or even sometimes, to hurt. I know that last one seems confusing, but its true! Don't tell me you've never gotten that comment that sounded like a compliment and at the time of receiving it you merely said, "thanks..." but after more careful consideration you realize, 'hey! what the f*ck? That was a really messed up thing to say.' THAT'S what I'm talking about. But actually its NOT what I'm talking about.....let me explain:
I recently received a compliment from a good friend that I go to school with. Actually, it was two friends...but the one was more adamant about it than the other. After class we all went out to grab a few drinks and near the end of the night, before getting in our cars (no...we were not drunk) out of no where this friend says, "You really do look great, Julie. I mean, really." How did I react? I laughed (maybe even blushed a bit) and said a mumbled, "aw, thanks.." It was the only reaction I could muster. Actually, that's not true. It was the only reaction I could fake at that moment. Now, can someone please explain to me why, ever since that compliment was rendered, I can't help but feel like the biggest piece of crap? I know, maybe its just a "woman thing" where we're always too hard on ourselves....or maybe its not. Maybe, just maybe, my inability to wholeheartedly accept a compliment (in regards to my looks) is so difficult, if not impossible, for me to do because for so many years I've never received compliments like that.
Growing up I was mainly complimented on my musical talents (mainly singing and playing the clarinet in school band/orchestra) or on my academic achievements (I was always a pretty great student). I never really had those glowing compliments about how "pretty" I looked or how nice my outfit was that day. No, every compliment I had growing up was mainly followed by a directive. An example: "Oh Julie, that color shirt really brings out your eyes, but you can't wear it because its just too tight. Maybe if you lost a bit of weight, it would look right. Go change." Things like that. Now, thats not excessively harsh, but when I sit back and think about it....oh yeah....those things have definitely stuck with me. In the back of my brain there lives the voice of a girl who's trapped in that time period. Every time I try on a new piece of clothing, she chimes in, "You cannot pull this off. Stick with a baggier tshirt and jeans, thats all you can work with." With that voice constantly ringing in my ears, its no wonder I can't believe a compliment.
I wonder if this may come as a shock to any of my readers here. Did you think that I was superwoman? Don't worry, I get that a lot. And its my own damn fault. I put out this facade of strength and power and "nothing can get me down" and "no one better mess with me", when the truth is....I'm just your average girl. I have my own hookups and insecurities. And although I may have things in my life "figured out" (to an extent), I still struggle with these restless, emotional demons every day. Some days, I win. Other days, I lose.
The past few days...I've lost.
I've kind of been rolling around in a sea of self pity. It happens, even to the best of us. I have some issues going on right now with my son (medical, but nothing too serious...yet) not to mention I have scheduling issues with childcare and school and being on my own for another two months because Rob has to go work out of town again. Stress. That's what I'm getting at. Stress. Its consumed me in a matter of days, hours really....48 to be exact, and I have buckled a bit under its pressure. But, its nothing that cannot be fixed. Its nothing that I can't overcome. Its just something I feel is necessary to talk about...especially with those who care enough to listen.
So, again...like a broken record...I pick up the pieces of me. I jump back on the wagon, I start running on that hamster wheel of life. Will I fall back down again? Of course, that's inevitable. But the further and further apart I can make these falls, the more and more I'm winning. Right? I just have to keep reminding myself of that. Every. Single. Day.