Monday, September 30, 2013

Of Seeing Ourselves VS How Others See Us - And Embracing The Best of Both & Becoming.

“Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change of attitude.” Katherine Mansfield

How we see ourselves changes how we see the world. Anonymous
Why am I writing the following? I'm not sure - It's been on my mind as of late, so I did a twenty minute free write and this is what I came up with. 

It's funny how we think/see ourselves verses how others see us. 

Like I'm always surprised at how short I am, because in my head I'm tall and lanky, dare I say willowy - like I was in grade and middle school, when I used to be on the tall side, you know - always one of the girls in the back line of the classroom pictures. In most of my pictures from childhood, I'm all legs and  my dresses are way too short.
I was all skinny legs and arms back then - Slightly horsey looking but looking back, I was cute - Cute and uncoordinated and awkward, - At least for the last two years of Middle School and part of High School.
In Middle School I actually developed an annoying habit of tilting my head to the side whenever someone snapped a picture of me so I'd appear shorter - A habit I still haven't completely broken as an adult who's all of five foot five and 3/4 inches tall. My legs are no longer lanky and long, but lucky for me, they're still skinny, though I prefer to call them muscularly slender.

I am still the girl who went from talking up a storm in grade school, to only talking the minimum her first 2 years of High School. Instead, I observed others and I let my writing and my performing speak for me. 
When I did speak, it was to crack a joke, answer a question, be snarky to my parents  or lend a helping hand to my friends. 
I was a loyal friend who was afraid of what the High School masses thought - And coming out of my shell and finding my confidence wasn't easy. 
Confident or not, I found myself sticking up for the underdog, unless the underdog was me - In which case I'd stay quiet and do my best to ignore the mean girls - And I'd never let them see me cry - And they did make me cry.
But my friends & classmates from High School mostly remember me as someone who was nice to and someone who could make them laugh - instead of making them the butt of the joke - I'm OK with them remembering me that way. 

I spent a lot of time worrying as a young adult - And I still worry. 

Today, I like to talk, but I still let my writing do some of the talking for me - And I let my mouth do the rest. And I do a lot of listening to what others have to say - And I learn from them.

Most people can't believe that I was ever shy, but I still have remnants of that shy young woman from long ago. I still blush easily, I still take things in before I speak.... most of the time, and I still battle with self doubt every day. 

I'm still fiercely loyal and embrace new friends and old with hope in my heart. 
I still get butterflies in my stomach, but mostly In a good way, I love advocating for others and find it much easier to speak up when I'm doing it for others.  
Lucky for me, diabetes has required me to speak up for myself and for others - except I don't think of people with diabetes as the underdogs - I think of them as heroes. 

In my head I see myself in all dimensions, both the good and the not so wonderful - and sometimes I focus too much on the not so wonderful. 
Still, I see myself as someone with potential, who is loyal, tenacious and talented. 
But I'm still hard on myself when it comes to my talents, my looks, my guilt - Diabetes and otherwise.

I see myself as someone who is healthy and vibrant, but when I go to most Doctors and fill out their patient forms, I am described as not quite so. 
I am pancreatically challenged and my genetics are interesting to say the least. 
Ironically, it's my Endo who continually points out the good the positives in my Diabetes/health management - He encourages me to see those positives and embrace them - And I do. 

So in my head and heart, I see myself more along the lines of the way my Endo sees me - More healthyish than not.  And I do my best to regard myself as healthy - with a large side of caution and a REDONKULOUS amount of worry thrown in for good measure. 
I do my best to keep healthy and continually worry about staying healthy - And yes, I need to work on chilling out when it comes to worrying. 

But here's the thing: Being healthy takes a lot of fucking work.

Because of my autoimmune issues and my genetic double helixes, healthy is a challenging dance and a never ending tango.
Sometimes this diabetes dance tires me out and requires me to slow down the beat, other times diabetes has to quicken up it's tempo to keep up with my smooth moves  -but I (and by I, of course I mean WE) never stop moving - We never stop working. 
Diabetes is a marathon and we are long distance runners who never stops training - Diabetes is an endurance sport - requiring us to be tenacious and attune. 
Also, SIDEBAR: What the hell is it with me and sports euphemisms as of late?? 

Bottom line: We can choose to see ourselves as we see ourselves, or we can choose to see ourselves the way others see us.
Or, (and this is the one I'm going with,) we can combine the best and the most helpful of both views and see the person that we want and aspire to become. 
Because diabetes or not, we still have the capacity to become, to be a butterfly - to change, to fly and to soar - And that my friends is a wonderful thing~


Jenn said...

Your free write is so right. Thank you for sharing, it was EXACTLY what I needed to read/hear today.

Jessi Panke said...

Nice! I can relate, I'm glad you shared this.

StephenS said...

Great post. Thanks for the pick-me-up. And I think of you as tall. Just saying.