Friday, November 5, 2010

I, Mouthbreather

One of my biggest issues in life has always been my need for people to like me. I'm pretty sure it stems from moving around so much as a child, since my Dad was in the military.  Each time we moved, I had to start from scratch making friends and being accepted by my peers at school.  At almost any age, this is tough.  As a young girl who didn't have nice clothes, who "bloomed" pretty early, and at one point had an Annie afro, this was even harder. Although, admittedly, I never cared if everyone liked me.  Just the cool kids.
So, I thought just for fun and to show myself how silly it all is, these are some of the things about me that, in many peoples' eyes, are definitely not cool:
  1. Most of my clothes and "lingerie" are from discount stores. I'd rather save my $ for other things.
  2. I grocery shop at Wal Mart. It's cheap.
  3. I'm a "breeder". Smelly rocks, big time. 
  4. I like music such as James Taylor, smooth jazz, and Sade.
  5. I still love to say "peeps". 
  6. I don't like yoga. And, yes, I've tried it 100 times.
  7. I love Oprah book club books.
  8. I've seen every episode of Scrubs at least 3 times. 
  9. I have no artistic ability to speak of, other than painting my toenails OK.
  10. I don't always understand New Yorker or other political cartoons. 
These days I guess I consider myself to be a social chameleon.  I can adapt to almost any group of people, any type of friend, any social environment, etc.  I don't care if it's a hillbilly hoedown or a black tie event.  I've always thought this was a good skill, and still do.  But...somewhere along the way, I lost who I really am by trying to adapt to what everyone else thought I should be.

Now, finally, at 37, I'm trying to get "me" back.  It's a daily struggle.  I still find myself constantly worrying about doing or not doing things or looking a certain way that the "Fonzies" of the world will like me for.  For example, yesterday I was driving to work, singing "Goin' to Carolina" by James Taylor.  A happy, fun song that makes me feel good.  But at a certain point I thought "I can't post this as my Facebook status.  People will think it's so dorky" (or something like that).  I can't help it.  These thoughts just happen, as ridiculous as they are. So, what did I do? One of the first things I did when I came to work was post as my FB status "Sarah Campbell Mahalik is goin' to Carolina in my mind.".  And guess what? It felt good to just say what was on my mind, without regards for what other people think.  And guess what (part 2)? Many of the people that I love and respect responded positively to that post!  How awesome is that? And guess what (part 3)? I don't give a rat's pooper if anyone thought it was dorky. Yay me! Sarah:1, Fonzies:0. 

So then later yesterday, I encountered another situation that made me think.  I was sitting in the office of a coworker who intimidates me a little.  Why? Because she's beautiful, stylish, skinny, and very put together.
Here's her:

 She's also very nice, smart, and not at all intimidating personality-wise.  So, there I sit.  Super aware of how beautiful and awesome she is and how I am not any of those things. I, literally, could hear myself breathing through my mouth (I have a deviated septum that makes nose-breathing difficult), felt my thighs looking like tree trunks in my thrift store pants that are too short, and realize my (turning gray, frizzy) hair had gone flat in my face.
And me:

And all I could think of was "I'm such a mouthbreather".  Sarah:1, Fonzies:1.

So, every day may not come out in my favor.  Some days, the Fonzies will stomp me like so much pathetic nerd-dust.  But that's OK.  My goal is to get the Sarah score a little higher each day, until the Fonzies have "bageled" for a long time and I feel like the super-awesome me that I really am.

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