Yesterday, I received a lovely email from someone who shall remain nameless. It was full of undeserved compliments and glowing admiration (ahhh...the person is still young). Pausing, I double checked to see if it was for me; it was. Now, that is weird, I thought.
In the body of the email, the writer talked a little about herself, about being self-conscious and uncertain (high school...I'm just saying) and then asked me two questions.
Question 1: "Were you always good at things?
Answer: Wow. What things? I need more information or somebody just got the wool pulled over their eyes, big time.
Here is the true answer: No. I'm haven't always been good at things and I'm not sure I'm really good at anything now. Not being "good at things" doesn't stop me from trying to do stuff. Beating myself up for subpar work is my Olympic sport category and I don't even wear a helmet. I've never been really good at anything, but I don't think I'm on the very bottom - so, there's that (thank you, Janel...I'm stealing your line every chance I get). I am triumphantly average in all areas and scratching or clawing to maintain that level.
Question 2: "Were you always confident?"
Answer: Underage drinking is a terrible thing, so stop right now or I'll call your mother.
No...again. I'm not confident now. But I know me; I've hung around me a while, and I know my abilities and my limits. I'm okay with that and if someone isn't okay with that - what can I do about it? There's no amount of boo-hooing or begging that will change it. I'm confident that I lack confidence, but I hide it well and I'm okay with it.
Youth is working against you now, I think. It affects how you view the world.
When I was younger, I always felt like a third wheel. Like everyone else in the room was fun and happy and well-dressed; I, on the other hand, had the psychological equivalent of a duck suit on at all times. There's really no good place to wear a duck suit, and no one else in the room will be wearing one. It's like photo bombing your own life.
I'd look in the mirror and choke up with the thought that my hair was weird, my bangs were too short or too long. I agonized at the reflection - oh, geez, I have to go to school with you! Why did I get those glasses? Why did I get that color of glasses? Why do I have to wear glasses? Why can't I wear contacts and not have a crazy wandering eye? Gotta lose weight in the next thirty minutes. Why doesn't "so and so" like me? Why DOES that other "so and so" like me? How will I embarass myself today. Did that smell come from my dog? Should I move to California? What will I do in California? Can I even get a job there? Oh, dear Lord, I feel faint remembering my own weirdness.
Here's a surprise, though: weird and awkward won't kill you. It makes for interesting conversation and eventually, you grow up and you just don't care that much about a whole lot of things that seemed so important long ago. Life tends to level out the rough places and a whole lot of junk happens that puts things in perspective; you care less and less about how good you are at things or comparing yourself with others.
Hopefully, that answered your question, and you laughed that I put it in my blog. If you don't smile, I'll come back and put your name here: __________. You were warned.
Lastly, when you get to the flipside, well...you let all your weird hang out. Go Falcons.