Monday, April 10, 2006

Who Cares?

For the first time in a while, the person in the mirror took me by surprise this morning. I didn't completely recognize her. Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that I spent all afternoon yesterday drinking on an outdoor patio (we all know what a combination of tequila and sun can do for your looks) but I think it was more than that.

Something has changed other than the shade of pink on my face today. Something's a little different. And as opposed to the past, I don't care that I feel different.

I've always been pretty good at being myself. I don't spend a lot of time defending my choices in clothes, music, etc. Being the only person in the car that knows (and sings) Born to Run doesn't really bother me. When I bought the house that my mother thought was "too much work", I didn't listen. When people scoff at the amount of money I'll spend on traveling, I brush it off. Admittedly though, in the back of my mind, I did care. I didn't need people to like what I was doing or agree with me, but I did care if they didn't. I wanted to know why we disagreed. I wanted minds to change and things to be 'just so', so I could feel better. Though I didn't listen and it wasn't always evident in my actions, I've allowed opinions to be the gauge that determined the direction of my heart and mind.

For some reason, today's the day the universe picked for me to realize: I don't care. I'm glad you're you and I'm me and you have an opinion and I have an opinion and we can find a way to get along. That hasn't changed and I'm thankful for it. I'm not saying I don't respect your opinion or value it. In fact, now more than ever, I need it. Even as I type it, I'm not certain "care" is the right word. I do care about people and things. Sometimes I care so much that I would do anything to make sure it's known. But it doesn't affect my happiness, it can't. That's the part that I have to be alright with. It doesn't mean anything is wrong or that I'm apathetic. It just means I'm completely accepting of something that's mine.

I'll be the first to admit, this isn't a sudden revelation nor is it that profound. Rather, this has been more of a progression. The way it seems now, confident decisions and comfortable decisions are not mutually exclusive and I think the difference is how the decision sits with you when all is said and done. You may like what you did and things are working out great but if somewhere the whisper of another's voice is haunting you and you're feeling guilty or sad or dissatisfied, then you're losing out. It's not worth selling yourself short by not embracing the differences and moving on.

If you did something well and left no one in your wake, there's no reason for apologies. If your favorite music is the soundtracks to old Westerns, no worries. If you want to spend $500 on your cat, do it. If you want to eat ice cream for lunch, go ahead.

Or maybe not. If my pants don't fit, I do care. A little.


G-Man said...

When I look back and evaluate my past behaviour, the behaviour I had throughout most of my career as a teacher, I can identify one basic and, at times, crippling weakness. I cared too much what others thought of me. This is not to say if I could go back and do things differently I wouldn't give a flaming fuck about others or how they perceived me. What it does mean, though, is that I would sometimes need to determine if someone liking me was worth giving up a piece of what I value.
If your values are on solid ground, your life will unfold more smoothly with far less compromise. You'll sleep better:)

Bre said...

I'm irrationally proud of you for making a personal decision that I've yet to fully embrace in my own life.

I know I'm on my way there... I still need to tell myself at least twice a day "it doesn't matter!" but I'm getting there... so I adore you for embracing this in yourself... or Maybe it's because you just validated the fact that I ate ice cream for dinner (my throat is still sore! it helps!)

GirlGoyle said...

Amen to this post. I woke up one day and had the same realization. I'm not going to bend my ways any longer to please others and be more acceptable. I am who I am...and at this point in life I'm not going to change. The only person who I owe any explanations to is myself. If others aren't accepting of me then they are the ones missing out. Seems to be working...for now. :)

justacoolcat said...

Good post. I think we all have those days and it's an organic processing of slipping back into the worrying what people think mode. Mainly because there are some things we need to care what others think and there are some that are not so important. It's nice to step back, have a moment of clarity, and get back on the right track again.