After my mother’s death, it took months before I could properly socialize. I was incredibly nervous about being around so many people at once, but figured that the first time would inevitably be difficult. With my favorite charity event around the corner, I decided to buck up and attend. Despite my initial reservations, I had a wonderful evening filled with infectious laughter and contagious smiles.
For the first time in months, I almost felt like myself, yet slightly more subdued. I was no longer as care-free, but I was o.k. with that. When the evening began to wind down, there were only a few of us left standing, literally, in line for the disco. While waiting, I pulled out my phone and it accidentally slid from my palm, falling straight onto the pavement. I heard it shatter.
It should be noted that I am the human equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle for all things I.T. It has always been this way. After years of fighting with my phones, I learned to purge my constant frustrations in my death-to-tech fantasies. I visualized either chucking it against a wall, using a bat like in “Office Space” or placing it under my tire, rolling forward and back with pure glee.
It was no surprise that I’d been fighting with this smart phone as well and had been to the cellular store 12 times within the last month. As Murphy’s Law would have it, I had just got my phone working a few days before. So, when I saw the cracks radiating across the touch screen, I felt defeated. My girlfriend and I tried desperately to revive it, but there was no response, no hope.
Suddenly, a thought passed through my disheartened consciousness. Here was my chance! With cat-like reflexes, I hurled my annoying phone back down onto the ground. I sought revenge for all the phones that caused me excruciating and downright painful frustration. Maybe I should have been embarrassed, but I wasn’t. I felt satisfied. I felt retribution had been exacted and all was good with the world.
Plucking the not much more damaged phone from the sidewalk, I placed it inside my purse and thought nothing more about it. That was until my girlfriend told me that one of our “friends” was disturbed by my behavior- Downer! My friend explained that the phone was already broken, but I guess judgment had been made. I first thought “Really? You’ve never been so frustrated that you wanted to shake your computer, phone, tv remote? I’m not buying it.” But then, my defensive posture transformed into sadness. Not because it hurt my feelings, I simply felt sad for her.
The reality is that her judgment has nothing to do with me. This reflects how hard she is on herself. How much she judges herself. “Judgey, Wudgey was a bear; Judgey Wudgey had no hair.” To put that much pressure on yourself is not only physically damaging, but has emotional ramifications as well. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her.
At the same time, I had no wish to live in her judgment and it was not personal. I simply couldn’t. I did live in others’ judgment for a long time and it strangled my spirit rather than bolstered.
See, because of my mom’s death, I had to learn to stop judging myself so harshly, to forgive myself for my mistakes. If I didn’t, I would have snapped. I was barely staying above water as it was. I didn’t have the emotional wherewithal to beat on myself further. As far as the phone, I wouldn’t do it again, but truth be told, I had no regrets! It was absolutely fantastic like a dream come true!
Look, everyone is entitled to their opinions. My job is to make my opinion of myself count most of all. When I strive to please others above myself, then I’m giving my power away and I’m responsible for that. I've got to be who I am and that is, in a nut shell, silly, frustrated, passionate, warm, kind, funny, hates tech and loves all. Quoting Maya Angelou, “A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself…and only herself.” We can only be who we actually are and allow those who wish to love us, to love us and for those who hold judgment, we must let go with tender affection.