I recently rediscovered how insecure I am.
I’ve never claimed to be outrageously confident, anyway… and before anyone starts exhorting me to be embrace my inner glitter-encrusted, rainbow-colored unicorn, I don’t think that constantly yelling to myself that I’m fabulous will actually change the quality of my work or life in any significant way.
Besides, I don’t like yelling and I’d hate to have to roll my eyes at myself and tell myself to shut up.
I was reminded, rather forcefully, how very strange I must appear to some people.
You see, I have never possessed or taken time to develop that chameleonic ability that allows one to adapt to strange surroundings.
I can manage in the short term, (i.e. an airport, a grocery store, a brief conversation), but the effect doesn’t last longer than an hour or so.
Blood will out, I suppose.
Because I can’t adapt, I stand out.
Because I stand out, I get to absorb the snarky comments of the other lizards around me.
I’ve always know that I’m not necessarily like the general populace (or at least my perception of the general populace)… I spent an entire childhood wishing desperately that I could be like the other kids, and I have only just, in the past few years, accepted my status as a different animal, and I’ve even found other different animals to huddle with.
Maybe we’re wombats. I don’t know.
But suddenly, I was yanked out of my element, thrown as a duck into a pool of geese, and reminded of my peculiarities quite frequently (because the expression of discomfort on my face wasn’t a clear enough indication that I knew I didn’t fit in, apparently).All in all, I haven’t felt so terribly out of place in years, after having taken great pains to never be in such an untenable position again.
Things were said, as things inevitably are, and those things have been lodged in my craw since.
Then, yesterday, I read these words: “I’m a complete stranger with some advice about your life”, and I realized something.
It’s rather obvious, but it’s one of those things that I occasionally need to be reminded of.
My family knows me.
My coworkers know me.
My fellow “different animals” know me.
I don’t have to explain my love for the UK, or my preference for quiet voices, or my eating habits to anyone.
I don’t have to defend my clothes, my trick of speech, the way I wear my hair, or the music I listen to.
Those who find me… my relationship with God, the sound of my voice, the way I carry myself in any way offensive are welcome and entitled to their own opinion… and I am not obligated to change, justify myself, or listen to the unhelpful criticism of strangers.
Those sort of comments will probably always bother me… but I can get over it pretty quickly once I realize afresh that the ones who are nipping at my heels are not on the list of people who are qualified to speak into my life.
I have to hand it to that Jon Acuff.
He is a deep well.