head and another really long head to take up lots of space
It probably says I’m a little more insecure than most, but even the math of this is incomprehensible to me. I mean, if you’re insecure, wouldn’t it make you more “secure” if you were getting complimented all the time?
But compliments don’t make you feel more secure. They make me uncomfortable. And I hate all this lingo about living “in the moment” and “leaning in to” it, but I think both of those techniques made a considerable impact on my ability to accept all this love and admiration from total strangers, although the specifics of how are still a little lost on me.
All I know is that when those people descended on me after I finished speaking, their faces told me a whole story that their words didn’t do justice. I’ll never forget the first girl who came up to me. She was a pleasant brunette, in a blue costume and an open, smiling face with sparkling eyes. She started speaking before she was even in front of me. Now I can remember her telling me that she was going to dress up as one of the characters from my show at the next convention. I can remember that easily. But her other words, the ones about me, I can’t tell you a single one. But I remember her face as if it was right here in front of me now. She was just…happy. That’s it. There was just a pleasure on her face that whatever it was she was doing right now (meeting me) was making her simply, deliriously happy. And the beauty of that struck me so succinctly, it was as if all my insecurity and apologetics didn’t just vanish, they were obliterated in the face of her supreme…well, joy. And, doing the quick math on that, I realized I had caused it. Just me. Not me primped up. Not me propped up. Not me with enhancers or elixirs. No fascinating cocktail banter, no worked up allure to be perceived as charming. It was just dumb old me standing there. And that, in and of itself, was enough for her. That’s a strangely beautiful feeling and one I would have thought would be impossible to receive from someone who is, in actuality, a total stranger. Yet here she was, this person, who was so happy. It was something surreal but solid, something surprisingly grounding yet unbelievably elating. Instead of it making me uncomfortable, it made me comfortable. In my own skin. As if I was meeting her alone in some limbo, where I was there with no pretense.
And we don’t get that feeling very much, do we? I don’t know about you, but I feel so much of my day and so many of my days are stuck in this jangling rancor of thought. How am I being perceived? How did that come across? Am I paying attention? Am I being kind enough? Why am I being so judgmental? Hard on myself? Angry or agitated or afraid all the time? There are so many voices vying for attention, it feels like I’m always “on” to an audience of one, a critical one. An audience of me. I’m harder on myself than anyone else could possibly be. And I can find myself cutting anybody else slack, but with myself I’m the most brutal of taskmasters. Yet here was this girl, indeed, these many girls (and men) who were simply, totally happy to see me. They managed to close that space between us and make some kind of a connection.
Am I that starved for those? Is the cacophony in my own head so great that I’m being prevented from truly connecting with people? And why did it take a stranger to pull me out of my own head long enough for me to see it? I don’t know and I’m probably raising more questions than I am answers, but if you’re looking to me for answers, well there are better places to focus your information-seeking energy than this dumbass.
But there I go again, discounting my own worth.
And maybe that’s the moral of the story. That despite all my worst intentions, all my horrible habits, and years of bred behaviors, I, strangely, have worth. I see your worth. Why can’t I see it in myself? Or why does it take something this momentous for me to see it? Why isn’t it something that I just accept and realize (and appreciate) every day? It’s not like I risk becoming a navel gazer or become so self-obsessed that I am all I ever think about. We’re hardly in danger of that happening. My id won’t allow it. And my ego could never tolerate it. Both would work against me the moment it started, any kind of glee parade of my own making.