Saturday, October 26, 2013

Self Esteem, Self Respect

"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


anne marie in philly said...

humanity is comprised of mostly miserable shits and a few nice folks.

I think my boyfriends are the best cause they like me as I am, warts and all.

and if the rest of humanity can't stand me, screw 'em! life is too short to waste time on the miserable shits.

Geo. said...

As for noses, I tell detractors that prominent men have always had prominent noses --like mine. And scoliosis? Runs in my family. Like you, it seldom needed treatment --except in the case of our 3rd son, now tall and graceful in his mid-30s. When he was 15, the curvature was so bad he needed surgery, which increased his height from 5'8" to 6'2" in a day. He was actually afraid of being as tall as he suddenly was! Not an adjustment I'd recommend lightly. Yes, you're "doing alright, slouch and all", but you're over 6'2" already --who knows what altitude corrective surgery would've launched you up to.

Ur-spo said...

well said.

Jon said...

Anne Marie summed it up perfectly. I think the world is 90% full of miserable shits. They are the ones who love to dish out the insults and criticisms - - but ironically they can't take it if you fight back. I learned at a fairly young age to act tough and project a formidable image. Sometimes it works.......To this day, however, I am still secretly over-sensitive.

Ron said...

Anne Marie,

I'm afraid you're right. I've found in my many years on this earth that too many folks just aren't nice. I wish it weren't so but I have found the really nice folks are an exception rather than the rule. One of the reasons I like to blog is that I now have the opportunity to meet some really nice folks. I've expanded my range significantly. And do you notice, you can recognize the nice folks almost immediately because they are so rare? It's a shame but that has been my experience in life. And those nice folks? I treasure them.


Ron said...


I don't have scoliosis. This is the first time I've heard this term so I looked it up. I have the "normal" curvature of the spine but I don't have the "three dimensional deformity." However, I now know what condition of my former classmate. She was/is a very beautiful woman but she had something wrong with her back that I could never quite figure out. I didn't want to embarrass her by asking but I have always wondered. Now I know. By the way, my one brother also has the same condition that I have but my other brother.....perfectly straight back. I'm fine with my posture now but growing up I was very conscious of being different. Not so much now, we're all different in one way or another. That's what makes us unique.


Ron said...

Dr. Spo,

Actually, I like myself now whereas when I was younger I didn't but I didn't know how escape from the prison that was my body.


Ron said...


You're absolutely right, much of the world is comprised of "miserable shits" whose only purpose seems to be tearing others down. I have often thought that the world is made up of wolves and sheep. The wolves take and the sheep just try to survive. As a teenage I learned to fight back against the bullies and you're right, they always back down because they are cowards to the core. But, like you, to this day I too am perhaps too sensitive. I wish I wasn't but I am. I'm a sheep.


the cajun said...

I read this a while back "What other people think of you is none of your business." I live by that saying nowadays. You remember what I went through for over a year when my previous life fell into ruins. The shit that was said about me. The lies about how that life ended. I spent way too much time trying to defend myself - and for no reason. The folks who believed the lies weren't friends anyway. At the height of the madness a friend told me to "just be who you are and keep doing what you've always done. the truth will win out in the end." And he was right.

I don't believe 90% are shits - more like 60% - it just takes a while for them to show their true colors. When they do, get as far away from them as possible. 7 years ago I was surrounded by that 60%, but not any more. Even recently, someone I trusted dissed me big time and quickly tried to back-peddle. Sorry. It's over. No more trust there.

As my grandpa used to say, "be yourself. It ain't that bad."

Roger said...


Larry Meredith said...


Yes, we shared that, didn't we? My dad used to thump me on the back when he walked behind me and threatened to put me in a brace. Kids called me the same names you got called. I was very self-conscious about it. I tried and tried to sit straight, stand straight, but it was out of my hands. I used to think I had scoliosis, but later in my life I decided I had Scheuermann's Kyphosis because I don't have the S-shaped curve of scoliosis. I tend more to having a pronounced hump so to speak. This is probably your case as well, although I think your curvature is less noticeable than mine, or maybe that is just me self-consciousness again.


Ron said...

Thank you Roger. :)

Ron said...

I love your grandpa's saying! "be yourself, it ain't all that bad." And you're not. Believe me, the other guys were the a-holes (did I just say that?) I tend to agree with you that not 90% of people are non-caring people only interested in their on self interest and will run over you whenever the opportunity presents itself. But a large majority of people are like that, sad to say. I would know as you would because of our life experience. Bill and I don't have much in common but one of the main reasons I've stayed with him as long as I have is because he would never do me wrong. Never. I can't say the same for some of my "friends." Those friends I still have though have always treated me with dignity and respect and that is why we're still friends, including you.

Believe me, you're just fine. You were just unlucky in your relationship. I was lucky. And that is probably the only difference, luck. I'm like you, once a person does something to lose my trust, they're never get it back. Maybe I should be more forgiving but there is a difference between being a fool and being smart or as our former president (and you know who I'm talking about) said "You can fool me once but.........I can't get fooled again!"


Ron said...


Yes, we have that in common too. I found it interesting that another commenter assumed I had scoliosis which is a serious deformity. Maybe I looked like that in the photo I had on my blog but that isn't my condition. Jean T. has that condition though. I always wondered what was the matter with her back. What we have Lar is a simple curvature of the spine. No matter how much we try to "stand up straight" we would never had that ramrod straight posture. We both have round shoulders. I got so tired and frustrated throwing my shoulders back. However, I did notice that once I started lifting weights my posture improved but never to the point of a perfectly straight back. Same with a flat chest and a barrel chest, some of us are just different. Ces't la difference!

pat888 said...


I think a lot of us feel uncomfortable with parts of us when we are young. Even those whom most would consider really good looking seem to find flaws with themselves. I think I used to have a fairly pronounced lisp. I tried so hard to eliminate it. Maturing has certainly aided me in getting to know and like myself better. I enjoyed Nathaniel Branden's book "The Six Pillars of Self Esteem" where he speaks of its two major components being a disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and being worthy of happiness.


Ron said...

You are right Pat, many of us do feel uncomfortable with parts of us when we are young. For most of us, maturity brings a realization that we are all different and attractive in our own unique way. I am not family with the book "The Six Pillars of Self Esteem" but it sounds like a book I would be interested in reading. By the way, I have detected not a trace of lisp in your speaking. To the contrary, you have a wonderful voice.


the cajun said...

I would say what Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying, "We are always forgiving others, every day. But, forgetting is something else entirely."