Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This Isn't About You Unless You Think It Is

It was in high school. We were on a bus, probably a "pep bus" waiting to leave for a basketball or football "away" game somewhere. Some of us were horsing around and joking back and forth and she turned back in her seat to face me and said "Oh, Karma, you are soooo dramatic." And with that statement, she shut me down. I flushed red with embarrassment and shrunk down in my seat, the joke forgotten and all joy taken out of the moment. Others were uncomfortable, some annoyed at the both of us for wrecking their fun and some just at her for being so mean, but that was no consolation to me.

Ever after, I was careful to "keep it in line", moderate the drama, when she was around, or even when any of her friends who might talk were around. I was stifled, inhibited, leashed, under her steely nasty sarcastic patronising control. I hated it. I hated her. I see her photo now and then or come across an article about her, at least I used to, she seems to have faded into obscurity lately, and every time, I felt the shame, the embarrassment, the sharp sting of the put down.
What was it? Was I getting more attention than she was or was I just too over the top and it irritated her calmer demeanor? Was I really offensive in some way? It does not matter. It is not right, and certainly not kind to shut someone down like that.
So don't you do that to me. Don't ask me to be less than I am. Don't tell me to keep it down, don't tell me to relax or calm down. If I want to be over the top happy and joyful, you can either join in my delight or shut up and let me be. If I am sad and carrying on, don't dismiss me and tell me I am over reacting. You don't know how much it hurts me because you can't feel what I feel, so don't tell me it is not as bad as I am making it. Maybe it is a terrible big deal to me. Support me and care about me but don't put me down. If you can't be there with me and share the drama, the ups and down, then get away. Don't tell me to be less, feel less, express less, love less, care less, feel less joy and less sorrow. Don't make me be less of the whole me just to suit your comfortable blandness and social decorum of calm and polite. Let me be all of me or get out of my way.

1 comment:

XSarenkaX said...

I want to take this opportunity to share a couple of things that I have learned and tried to remember for myself:

1) Other people don't have power over me unless I allow it. That means if someone has something mean to say, I can choose to react or rise above it.

2) I cannot change other people's behavior, but I can change my own perception of it.

These attitudes are definitely easier discussed than put into action, but these are things I strive to do to protect myself amidst all the ignorant people out there who don't know what their words might mean to me. I can choose refuse their attitudes.