|"Stand up straight!"|
This evening I read a blog post by a friend of mine. He hadn't posted in a week he said because an incident happened that he "allowed his feelings to be hurt." Who hasn't been in this place? I certainly have as I am sure most of the folks reading these words I'm typing now have had their feelings hurt by intentional or unintentional verbal assaults.
When we're young most of us lack the ability to fend off the slings and arrows of disrespect, insults, and humiliations. As we grow older we gain armor to shield of those who seek to bring us down because they either fear us or are just not nice people. Of course one never grows enough armor to completely insulate oneself against others who seek to cause us pain because of their own shortcomings.
A few days ago I wrote a posting about how self conscious I was about my big nose. I grew up in a household where my father never ceased to find delight in mocking my prominent nose by calling me "beak." It wasn't until I left home that I found out my nose was no bigger than most and as a matter of fact, was even considered attractive by some (imagine that).
Another physical aspect of my body that was often thrown at me was my poor posture. "Hump back,
hunch back, round shoulders." You name it, I was called it by some who felt a need to deride me. I was so ashamed of my posture. I envied my classmates who had a straight back. I tried to hard to "stand up straight"
as some of my teachers would bark at me. I would throw those shoulders back but still I didn't have that perfect posture. And after I went into the Army I really got slammed for my "slouch." It wasn't until I was in my thirties I discovered that I had a condition that is very common. It is called curvature of the spine. In other words, no matter how I tried to "stand up straight", I would never have that ramrod straight back. And thus, I relaxed.
Those two aspects of my life, once I came to terms with them did so much to increase my self esteem and self respect. Of course I still had the "biggie" which was being gay. I was the "fairy",
which is what gays were called in the Fifties (oh, I do love me some glitter). I dealt with that issue after much self introspection and angst when I came out fully in 1963, which I've written about in previous blog postings.
These days I'm on the receiving end of the "you're old"
slings and arrows. That doesn't bother me. At least I've told myself it doesn't bother me. What does bother me though is when I come upon a group of people, whether it be at the work place of somewhere else where they know me, and they're talking about me and giggling. I have no idea what they're talking about (well, maybe I do but I'm not going into details here) but here we go again. Signs of disrespect and derision from folks who I assumed respected and liked me but now find me as a source of mockery. How do I handle such a situation these days? I ignore them but I do have to tell you that when I think I'm being disrespected from friend or foe, I find that my level of respect also drops for them in direct proportion.
Hey folks! This is me, and I'm doing the best with what I have. If you like me, fine. If not, then I can't do anything about it but I'm not going to go into a fetal position because you don't like me. Maybe you don't like the way I look or what I say. Maybe you're jealous so you feel you have to tear me down to build yourself up. What ever. The fact remains that I am here and right now? I'm having the best time of my life. Wish you were here!
|Doing alright - slouch and all|