I tend to discount advice from friends, because honestly, if they’ve chosen to be friends with me, then what exactly does that say about their ability to make solid life choices? Hm?
Eventually, “Shalinda” might repeat something that several other people have opined, and if those several other people and this “Shalinda” aren’t associated with each other (Always a giveaway in my mind that it’s a joint venture intervention and Goddammit I’m onto you.), then I might consider it as a possibility. Very rarely do I ever complete the thought process and make a decision as to whether the statement is actually right or wrong. When I’m forced to perform difficult tasks like thinking, especially if it’s for more than a nine or ten seconds, I become emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally drained for days. By the time I recover, I have to use my brain again for a completely different thought. Life is hard.
I’ve always believed that my self-image comes from no one else but me. This is so far from the truth that I am totally embarrassed to admit it. In eight grade, I found out that Achilles is actually pronounced “a kill eez” and not “a chill eez” in front of the entire class, and that was pretty rough. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but my recent revelation was even worse than that time in eight grade. Sometimes you need a point of reference to understand the gravity of a situation.
I came to the realization that the way I view myself is largely comprised of other people’s opinions and not my own during lunch with a good friend. I wished out loud to be more like my family. Harv and Cal are so brilliant. I’m just the odd thug out.
“Elizabeth, you’re smart,” she said.
Out of habit, I immediately launched into a list of reasons backed by actual events and a few fun factoids that discredited her kindness.
She replied in a no-nonsense tone, “I can’t be friends with dumb people. It’s exhausting.”
I let myself consider the possibility for more than nine or ten seconds. It blew my fucking mind. Like, forrealz.
Since kindergarten, when I repeatedly peed in my pants because I couldn’t remember enough English to request a hall pass, I believed that I was dumb. After lunch, I sat in my car and thought about being stupid and other “truths” which shaped my self-image. They were so deeply rooted and long-standing that I had just assumed they were true.
The passing comments and direct criticism I heard as a kid shaped my Me View. Because the majority of those early comments were negative, I learned to discount any positive statements. And worse still, any time I heard negativity that fed those early seeds, I welcomed it because I thought that person was seeing my core.
I find it ironic that it was yet another person’s opinion that lifted the curtain and propelled me to examine the wasteland I held as Core Truths. I’ve always regarded kindness with suspicion, but I was wrong as fuck. It’s actually cooler than shit to have people in your life who can tell you the truth and be kind too. It may not always happen at the same time, but these people help you see the truth about yourself…if you let them. THANK YOU, L.
My homegirl, Shannon Bindler, wrote this: “I Am Beautiful” Are Not Dirty Words. I love it. I’m so grateful to have people in my life like Shannon who keep kindness king.
I experimented with my new work method: One Game Of Candy Crush Per Paragraph. Are there some design flaws? Yes. However, I am not a quitter and will continue to modify aforementioned method. You can “like” the Flourish in Progress Facebook page or follow along on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress) to get updates on my exhaustive research and for other (t)hug life happenings like snapshots from my past weekend at Rock the Bells aka Gangsters Paradise. Thank you for your support.