Challenge Day 12: Something you never get compliments on…
I don’t know if it’s just the way my mind is working this afternoon or what… but this prompt seems just a little vague. I mean, I never get complimented on my blue eyes or blonde hair… I never get complimented on my Martha-Stewart-Like domestic skills or my flawless level-headedness… Obviously there are a lot of things I never get compliments on, and likely never will. This leads me to believe that the prompt wants me to discuss something I don’t harvest praise for, even though I sow the seeds in the expectation of admiration.
Really? Oy vey!
Okay folks, we’ve been stumbling together down the path of my past since nearly the first moment I struck fingers against keys in an attempt to create this page. Those of you who’ve been paying attention so far have likely heard me (read me) compare myself (my personality) to being like that of a coin; there are two sides to coin that may be entirely different, but have found someway to coexist. This whole challenge prompt just brings up more of that for me.
By now it’s likely clear that I have moments of aggravating narcissism twined together with flashes of utter (and I’d like to think charming :P) vulnerability. You may have even said to yourself, “Self – there’s no way this chickadee is like this in person… someone would have her committed”. I would then have to assure you that my apparent split personality disorder is something that’s obvious (to those who know me best, at any rate) in the really-real world, but as far as I know, no one’s fitting me for a straightjacket just yet.
These divisions in my character, I believe, are the result of what happened when – after I fell apart – I reconstructed my person from bits of scraps and second-hand parts. If you’ve ever rebuilt an old car from the ground up, you might have found that while the engine now purrs like a kitten, there’s still a strange rattling in the heater vents. That’s me… I run pretty smooth these days, but there’s still a few strange rattles that will never entirely go away.
Now, when I was younger I used shy away from compliments; I needed validation, but compliments made me… I want to say anxious but that’s not quite the right sentiment… let’s go with uneasy; and I had this way of never meeting a compliment head on. Someone would say something like, “You have pretty hair,” and I’d respond with, “I was thinking of shaving it to see if I could pull off the Sinead O’Connor.” Yes, badly constructed jokes (that nearly no one got) was my way of meeting praise.
These days – now that I’ve got my grown up pants on – I’m a little less uncomfortable with compliments, but I still (often) either avoid responding to compliments directly or use my slightly off-brand humour to blow past them. They don’t make me as uncomfortable anymore, I’ve just never really learned how to properly accept (and in some cases, trust) them.
You see, I no longer need validation (when it comes to most things – writing not included) and I don’t sit around making mental lists of what people do or don’t praise me for. That’s what made today’s prompt seem almost impossible to answer directly. However, as I’ve sat here babble-typing, I’ve come to realize (about two seconds ago) that there is something I’d kind of like to get credit for, and that’s my ability to adapt. Once upon a not that long ago, I did not possess this ability, you see; change scared the ever living shit out of me. Big and tiny alterations alike were something I went out of my way to avoid; I neglected software updates on my computer just because it caused me mild anxiety to have to adjust to even the slightest difference in the way things worked and/or appeared – that’s how bad it was. I’ve gotten over that – for the most part – (though I still often neglect computer maintenance because it interferes with things I’d rather be doing) and I’ve learned to embrace rather than avoid change. I personally think this development is pretty damn cool… but no one’s ever complimented me on it. To be realistic, I never expect people to praise me on this… hell, 95% of the people in my day-to-day life never even met the person I used to be, so how could they even guess at the person I once was and draw distinctions?
They can’t… but I can, and since I’m able to see what they don’t, I think the only logical thing to do now is to give myself a pat on the back and say, “Well met, ol’ chap!”