Sunday, June 27, 2010
Family happy? Check!
I was reading my morning digital dose of news, email, and random whatnot when I heard: “You’re getting fat!”
“You heard me; fat!” said the voice with authority.
I looked down. “Well, squishy around the equator maybe, but...”
The morning’s peaceful pace became interrupted with critical self-doubt and now a moment in taking my own personal inventory.
The top was down on the convertible as I ventured downtown to stroll among the artists and uninhibited at a local community festival. Reaching in my pocket, I made sure I had the proper supplies before locking up and leaving my car behind for the 5 block hike to the event.
Wallet, keys, iPhone, earphones, and a few dollars spending cash; all this accompanying the freedom of a guy on his day off were plenty enough to satisfy.
“Not only are you are loser, but a broke loser!” The diatribe continued: “Real men work for a living and don’t waste their time here. How many dollars do you have? If you were working now, you would have at least double that!”
“Dad, where in the hell did you come from?”
I realized I didn’t have to listen. The only leverage an opinion has is our acknowledgement of it. I don’t care how he found me after all these years, but all I knew is I did not have to listen. I turned to continue as I had intended. I had what I needed and proceeded through the gates of the festival. The breeze, the sun, the music, and the aroma of fair food were reward enough for my efforts. For now I have enough.
What I realized in the reflection of these two incidents is how frequently these unsolicited and uninvited opinions can surface. The interesting thing is I am frequently alone. How is it these voices enter our space in an attempt at our disruption?
Amazingly I have been called: fat, old, worthless, broke, selfish, and a cornucopia of less-than-desirable labels by people or voices that were not even in my presence. I was often unaware or at least at peace with my situation prior to the critique. They were voices from people past, sometimes the media, perceptions of society, and opinions of strangers, loved ones, and ones I desired to love, even myself. They can be also found in magazine ads, billboards, and late night infomercials. They often liked to submit their opinions when I was alone or feeling empowered trying to throw off my balance.
I call them now “The Uninvited.”
I find when I doubt, critique, or argue with myself, I am only allowing these uninvited guests to ruin my party. Any energy we give to these uninvited opinions whether past, current, or conjured simply distract us from our present potential. Healthy self-evaluation is one thing. Emotional shredding is yet another.
Opinions can only manifest themselves when we start to wrestle with them.
Fat? No. Nerfy? Maybe.
Broke? According to whose opinion? I feel like I am still the luckiest redneck at the rodeo.
Who is in the room with you? Were they invited?
For those of you who are invited: I will be the “squishy” guy with a pocket full of change and his fingers in his ears enjoying himself.