Is the perception of who you think you are different than the reality of how people view you?
My daughter and I ran into one of my old high school class mates. During our conversation she said, “You used to be so shy, and look at you now.”
My daughter looked at her and said, “My mother? Shy?”
I also thought the same thing, I never felt like I was shy, why was this lady saying that. I decided to post a question on the high school face book page called, “Enid High School—Girls of 73.” I asked anyone who was game to put their name out there and let others tell how they remembered them back in 1973.
I got a whole lot more than I ever expected. Many women participated and learned things they never knew other people thought about them, but something even more amazing happened…..people shared feelings of high school pains and joys. Some even apologized for the way they were too wrapped up in themselves back then to reach out to others. Some talked about the social clubs and how devastated they were when they did not get into them. Others that were in them, talked about how they wished the clubs never existed because of the false sense of superiority it gave them. One lady put it so eloquently when she typed, “I realized after high school how many friends I had in junior high that were so crushed by not having been a part of either one of the social clubs. I believe they caused a lot of our classmates to have lower self-esteem and to feel “left out” because of them. I can now look back and realize that they were so harmful and I so hope they have abolished them. I could go on forever about them but won’t.”
As the responses came in, most people said I was quiet but friendly. Always smiling but mysterious, never talking about myself. Funny because I always thought I was out going. I never feared walking into a room full of strangers or having conversation. I just never had the need to be loud or talk just for the sake of talking. As I read the posts of others who had participated I found the same pattern happening. They would respond to the comments typing things like, “It is really truly amazing that I did not see myself the way others saw me! What an eye opening experience!”
I could feel the hesitant but curious feelings in one lady as she typed, “I am a little afraid of asking how you saw me in high school. So be kind and remember, I really am a good person. Mind-boggling that this beautiful and kind woman had some fear as she put herself up for game on this research in human nature I had merely posted on a face book page.
One lady who I thought was very popular in high school and had everything any girl could want made the comment, “I have purposely placed most of my high school years in the trash…!” Once again, I found myself wondering as I read that comment, what could have made this lady who I thought had the perfect life in high school type something so powerful? It brought tears to my eyes. Did she struggle like the rest of us? Was I too busy thinking of myself back then to be able to only see what was on the outside of people and not the inside?
Another sentiment that was echoed through the posts was how happy many were that those of us who shared the same school and classes, but did not know each other back then, have connected on Facebook. How lucky we are to have this technology; yet to think most of us didn’t even really know what a computer was. We saw it as a big box that took up a whole room in a science fiction TV show.
For a while the posts got off track of the original question but one lady showed such wisdom when she typed the following, “getting “off track” on some subjects may have helped “mold” us into how we perceived ourselves and how others possibly saw us or judged us.” Her statement made me think about my life 39 years later. It seems like in the 57 years I have lived, when I have gotten off track, I have learned and grown and discovered.
“I so needed friends in school,” is what one lady wrote. How that statement made me pause for a moment. I could feel the pain in just those few words. Yet here she was, sharing such a deep emotion for everyone to see. The responses she got were beautiful and caring. If only we could have been so kind to each other back then.
The post that said it all was this one, “I know we are all blessed to have found and reconnected on fb. I will forever be thankful and glad we did…I know it wasn’t just a coincident that we connected on here….we need each other & it’s what it’s all about!! Relationships….speak to me! :)