I do no take much about myself seriously. At an early age I had to learn not to care what other people think. My dad, very frugal, used to insist he give me a haircut with clippers. It was during the popularity of Mia Farrow’s short cut, so I wasn’t a real outcast because of it…except for the time when he slipped and I had a bald spot on the back of my head. (Everyone was sympathetic because they thought I had had brain surgery…) Also, during the times of my dad’s schizophrenic episodes, he made sure to let me know that I was ugly. Being young at the time, I believed him, of course. However, I sincerely thought, and still think, that beauty on the outside does not matter, beauty on the inside does.
In order to “remain sane”, I do not get easily embarrassed and I have learned to laugh at myself.
For example, the other day driving near our house, I saw my husband’s work van. Pulling up beside him at a traffic light, I excitedly began to wave and blow kisses. Until, upon further examination, I noticed that it was not my husband driving, but some other electrician with an identical white van, same ladders on top and roles of wire in the back. (Go figure there would be another white work van like my husband’s. They are so RARE!) Anyway, the driver looked at me like I was crazy, and I started laughing. It was SO funny! In between giggles, I mouthed the words “sorry, wrong van!” and I took off so fast when the light turned green that I could have been a contender in a NASCAR race.
At our church picnic last summer, I was organizing the photo of all of the church members. About 100 people were lined up with a few stragglers. While walking backwards to the camera, I was giving directions for people to move in closer together. (We all know how easy it is to get a picture of such a large group, with everyone smiling nicely and looking at the camera.) All of a sudden, I tripped over my own two feet and fell on my back, arms and legs in the air. Several people commented that I looked like a turtle on its back. Of course, I laughed at myself. Clumsiness is a trait of mine. So what? Afterwards, several people came up to me and commented on how embarrassed I must have been. Embarrassed? Why would I be embarrassed? I thought it was funny! (If you picture it in your head, you HAVE to laugh…)
The huge white van I drive is so tall that I have trouble getting into the driver’s seat. I usually do so by grabbing onto the side of the driver’s seat, hold on for dear life, and alternately pull and wiggle up into the seat. Sometimes I slip, and once I even fell to the ground with a thud. (Maybe the thud was in my head…because I doubt the ground actually moved…) My husband and sons always laugh at me when I get into the van, and I laugh with them. What else am I going to do? Well, I COULD have ridden up on the wheelchair lift on the side of the van, but that wouldn’t be as much of a challenge.
Then there is the story about what happened last week when I met a good friend who is blind for lunch. I admit I am quite lazy in the morning, (often reading blogs, of ALL things,) and I did not have time to put on any make-up. As is usually the case, I put it on in the car when I stopped at read lights. Because I keep one eye on the light and the other on the mirror, I do one eye at the time; eye shadow and mascara. It makes a dramatic difference as my eyes are usually kind of squinty and tiny and tired looking. I often look in the mirror with one eye done and think I look like a “before” and “after” picture on aging, all on the same face. Anyway, on this particular morning, I was lucky and got mostly green traffic lights. When I arrived at the restaurant, I excitedly jumped out of the van and ran to meet my friend. (Getting out for breakfast with a friend is a rarity for me.) Just as I got inside the restaurant and said hi to my friend, I remembered I only had enough red lights to put make-up on one eye. “Oh, well” I thought, “there is nothing I can do about it now as my make-up bag in the car and I am way too lazy to go back and get it.” I figured that, being blind, my friend wouldn’t care. And when I sat in the booth, I made sure to put my “good eye” on the side the waitress was. I figured it I always looked ahead, she wouldn’t notice either! I had a wonderful breakfast and, with a little laugh to myself, I never thought about it again, (until later in the car when I stopped at the next red light and finished the job!)
The moral of my story is…be comfortable with yourself and don’t care what other people think. Life is too short to spend it worrying or bothered by what you may perceive others think of you. Sometimes what you think they may think may not be what they think at all! And if they ARE thinking it, have the confidence to laugh it off!
Link to my book
The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane
Link to the Readers Digest review of my book: http://www.rd.com/recommends/what-to-read-after-a-hurricane/