Thursday, September 29, 2011

Flatterers Flatter

Does the fact that I am secretly happy about these two things that happened today mean that I am more insecure about my body and my age than I tell myself I am?

1) My child, trying to describe another person said, "She's medium sized, like you," as she patted her belly.


2) A patron today asked me if I started working for the library when I was three when I mentioned I've worked there for over 18 years.

I act all "Oh, I'm happy with my body the way it is," and "I'm forty and I've never felt better," but when someone says I'm not fat and not old I'm all weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Why does what other people think of me matter so much?

I want to beg you to leave a comment so I know what you think of me. Yep. Sadly, there was no irony oozing from my fingertips as I typed that last sentence.

God, I love to write. I feel so alive. Like I've got my shit together. Like I actually know what I'm talking about. I'm confident. Like someone running through the woods, oblivious to others watching.

But when I finish, I feel like I've been running track in a stadium packed full of people and suddenly my side hurts and I realize how out of breath I am.

When I finish writing, there's no applause. I'm no actor. There's no grade. I'm no student. There's no income. I'm no professional. So I start second-guessing my writing. Maybe I'm delusional? Maybe it sucks and my friends and my mom and my siblings and my husband are just being supportive like I would be if one of them baked me an angel food cake. I'd take a bite and say, "Mmm. This is so good. Thank you!" Even though I've never understood what that dry tasteless crap has anything to do with angels. I'd flatter them because I love them and it was sweet of them to create something they wanted me to appreciate.

Ugh. I had no idea I was such a fake until I wrote that. No wonder I'm so insecure. It's like those tests they make you take when you apply for crappy minimum wage jobs to make sure you don't fit the profile of someone who participates in employee theft. They ask you questions like, "What would you do if your cash register was over $1.00?" And then they give you the option of answering c) take it, what the hell, everyone else would do the same thing, thinking that if you answer "c" you have a negative image of human beings and therefore must be a thief too. Only my test question would be, "What would you do if a friend had a booger in her nose and her date just rang the door bell?" And my response would be c) instead of telling her or handing her a tissue, I'd say, "Wow, you look so beautiful tonight. Have a great date!"

You know how cheaters cheat? Fake flatterers flatter, making the flatterer aware that such fake flattery could also be aimed at her.