Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Do you care what others think?

Not only do I love and adore my husband completely, I also admire him tremendously. I'm not going to wax poetic about all his wonderful attributes but something he did impacted me in a way that I can't altogether describe.

Yesterday to go to work, the hubby put on a wool sweater (that we had purchased at the thrift store where we purchase most of our clothes) over a button-up dress shirt. The only problem was that he had cut off the sleeves of the sweater! It was felted so it didn't unravel. Here's how the dialog went.

Me: Why are you wearing a sweater with cut off sleeves?
Him: Because the sleeves were chewed up so I took them off.
Me: Don't you think it's time to get rid of the sweater then?
Him: No, I like the sweater.
Me: Well, it looks bummy.
Him: To who?
Me: Well, to whoever is looking at a sweater with cut off sleeves!
Him: Do you still love me? Are you still proud of me and happy to be with me?
Me: Yes.
Him: Well, then I'm wearing my sweater. You already know I don't care what people think.
I was dressed pretty wack myself so I asked him
Me: You don't mind what I have on right now?
Him: No.
Me: It doesn't embarrass you?
Him: (Throws his arm around my shoulder) Should it?


I have never met anyone so true to himself. He does things and *never* gives a single thought to what others aside from those closest to him (me and the children) think. He specifically chose a job where he could wear his locks past waist length (and a crown to cover them), grow his beard out, wear jeans and occasionally rock a sweater with cut off sleeves. In every aspect of his life, he is all about doing things in a manner that sits correctly in his mind and in his spirit. He does his job well not because of his supervisor but because he believes in excellence. Whenever he crochets or sews something, he *knows* it's the bomb and doesn't give one iota of thought to what someone has to say about his creation.

This is seriously admirable to me. I grew up with parents who compared me to everyone and wanted me, in all my doings, to make sure I knew that I was being watched and represented the family. To a certain extent, it is cultural, I know but I always wanted to measure up, to be seen a certain way by folks--even if it meant repressing myself or changing myself. I see my mother still operating under this yoke of trying to be what others want her to be. And I know I don't want that to be me.

Right now is a tough time in my life. I mean, I have lots of blessings and I'm generally living a comfortable life in terms of having food, clothes and shelter and even luxuries like high speed internet and a stand mixer. We are working hard though with DH pulling lots of overtime so we can stay ahead of the game. The reality is that my clothes are not really what I'd like to see myself in but I don't have the extra money floating around to purchase what I want. Aside from that, I don't have the time right now with such young children to spend a day shopping for the perfect outfit or perfect accessory like I used to pre-kids. Shopping with them is a special kind of hell reserved for the worst of sinners. And now I have a different body so it certainly would take time to find what works for me. I have weight to lose. As an adult, I still struggle with acne and the dark marks that are their remnant. Add to that the fact that I try to do things naturally and well, doing things naturally takes time and effort that right now, and well, I can't seem to find it. (I look forward to when Z2 can sleep through the night and I can get a full night's sleep . . . at that point I know that I'll be able to do a whole lot more!) Interestingly enough, though, at this particular time in my life is when I am becoming more and more comfortable and pleased with who I am. Nothing to hide behind. Not even hair.

In this marriage, I have learned a lot about myself but I think the most important lesson I've learned is to first and foremost be happy with myself. Having flyy outfits and perfectly arched eyebrows is nice but when it comes down to the knitty-gritty, it is more important to be okay with being blessed with clothes and having eyebrows. Not everyone has eyebrows. The hubby is not concerned about what others outside of this marriage think about me. He says to me, "if we had more money, we'd have more." So we stay humble. Happy in our love and with our family.

But even though I know this is the reality, I still find myself worrying from time to time about what people will think when they see me.
Why is her skin so jacked up? What happened to her hair? Why is she so fat? What the hell is up with that "outfit"? What assumptions will they make? It actually makes me nervous to go see my mother because she is my toughest critic. I'm not always thrilled to see folks I grew up with and went to school with.

I've never been too interested in putting on but I have spent way too much time in this life thinking about what others think about me--even when I was actively "rebelling" against society. I've needed folks to have a high opinion of me, to accept me, validate me. But I'm working hard on really (I mean to my core) not caring what others think. [People will always make assumptions about me whether I'm dressed to the nines or rocking my chullo hat and one of my two jean skirts (the fact is I love my chullo).] This is important to me on many levels especially as it relates to the kind of example I want to set for my kids. In my study and meditation on the root chakra, this point has been driven home and I am finally ready to accept the challenge of liberating myself. I needed to write this blog to hold myself accountable. Now this is not to say that you stop having integrity, stop being a person of character because you don't care what others think. But you do these things because of what you think and the acceptance, honor and appreciation is sure to come but not just from anyone. No, it comes from those who truly matter.

Do you care what others think? I do. But I'm working diligently on not giving one good damn. :) I want to reach a place where, like my husband, what matters most to me is what I think about me. Period.

Off to go play Cleva again. ;)

5 comments:

blackgirlinmaine said...

LOL...yes, shopping with kids is a pretty hellish experience. I nearly killed mini-me at the grocery store this weekend. So I know what you aer talking about.

Your hubby sounds like a cool cat, I love how it sounds like he lives life on his terms.

Hang in there sista, these early years with small kids are rough but it does get better.

Afrikan Parenting said...

Shopping with children is not fun for any parent. My mom is the type of person who will look at what my son has on and will comment about it. Sometimes I feel like he should have more clothes, shoes, boots, etc. But, the money is not aways there. When, I drop him off for school I can see that some kids have an abundance of clothes. I dont get hand-me-downs, dont know another little boy who can give us these. So, I find my self buying new clothes for every season. Acceptance is a daily work in progress.

mamak said...

I've always marched to the beat of a different drum. I've always been aware I'm different,even as a small child. I do care sometimes,but not too often. I'm a almost 48 yr. old woman who wears no makeup,thrifted skirts and t-shirts,birkenstocks I've worn for 10+ years,non-shaving,vegetarian,and tattooed.
I don't fit a mold.
Neither do you. Rejoice in your uniqueness.

Ensayn1 said...

Nope, don't care too much what people think. I've learned people are going to think what they want about you. I am often "misjudged" by my appearance, I am meaning my body language, posture and facial expression, often thinking I am arrogant or "stush". Those that come to know me find that I am opposite from how they perceived me initially. So, I have learned to not care. Now, my Wisdom, she is conscience about what I may wear out and about. When I tell her I don't care what people think she, like your mom, gives me the "you're representing me" drill (only on occasion). I laugh and move forward. I must say there are sometimes I do change for her, but I can do this without a grudgeful heart. :-)

DeStouet said...

I must agree with mamak, I've always marched to the beat of a different drum. Always been very unique, wild and a bit eccentric. I am a complete paradox. But that is who I am.

I like life and I hate limits although I can understand what you mean about spending too much time thinking about what others think about you though.

I turn 30 in March, and somehow I began to slighty "care" about other people's opinions. But my mother-in-law told me it is just a change that turning "30" brings with it. She said women begin to take people's feelings into consideration much more the older they get.

For example, there have been a few comments I made to my uncle on the phone, and at the end of our conversation, I asked him, "Did I hurt your feelings?"

You know what he did? He busted out laughing. Then I started laughing. Afterward, he said, "It's not like you really care."
But I really did care...seriously.

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