Saturday, January 21, 2006

New Years Resolution -or- There's Always Lent

One of my new years ' resolutions was to learn how to accept a complement. Thanks to having an overly-critical mother and father and teachers who never knew I was alive, unless it was because I'd done something bad, I'm overly self-critical. I also don't know how to take a complement. It's taken me YEARS to get to a point where I don't automatically lash out at myself whenever someone gives me a complement. I figured out that I was kind of insulting people by informing them of why their complement was erronious and misinformed. Now I'm working on accepting a complement graciously without deflecting, avoiding or brushing it off. Or laughing off. Man, I'm a broken human being.

There're a lot of times I lack a genuine reaction to things. I usually just react the way I think a "normal" person would react. I'm not sure why there's a disconnect. Either I need to cultivate my best Olivier standing in front of the mirror, practicing the facial gestures of how a thankful and gracious person would react to a complement, or I need to somehow drudge that emotion up from within me. Unfortunately it's burried so deep, Uta Hagan would probably haveta get a core sampling drill.

Instead of being pleased that someone else is pleased that my performance was good, story was good, did a good job cooking, etc. I get this deer in the headlights kind of feeling. I panic, flat out. Mostly this happens if they complement me in person. The Intarweb allows me to be a bit more detached and not panic over what emotion a "sane" person would portray. Instead of getting my stomach all up in knots, it'd be nice if I could just be happy that they were happy.

What brought about this maudlin mulling over my complete brokenness as a human being (I should be taken back to the factory, and someone should demand a refund. Like Coleman air mattresses, I come with a lifetime warentee), you ask? I don't remember exactly... no wait, I do. My aunt asked me if I was late to my grandmother's party (still waiting to find out why my grandfather held a sit-in protest in his own kitchen over the party). My aunt asked if I was late because of work. I said no, I had a voice lesson, but I was going to work after the party. And she said "well, you always did have a good voice, even as a little kid. So when should we sign you up?"

Besides the *plink plink* my eyes were doing at the "sign you up" portion of that remark (turned out she was having this weird American Idol conversation with our waiter, whos rock band--which was aparently really popular in europe but totally unknown here-- she happened to see in Germany the last time she was there, and whom she recognised immediately--totally small world. I digress)... I was having the mental hyperventalation that comes with someone saying something nice. Instead of saying "thank you, I'm glad you think so," I kind of chuckled and muttered "I dunno," and invested myself whole-heartedly in pouring four ounces of wine into my glass. Must. Say. "Thank you." Some day I'm going to figure out how.

And not "thank you, I'm glad you think so." And that can't be in my tone of voice. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Or thank you, and thanks for noticing. Maybe I need to practice in front of my mirror :)


Anonymous Pablo said...

I think you're Bitchen! how's that for a compliment?


9:15 AM  
Blogger HMC said...

I used to have the same problem caused by a similarly over-critical mother. It's creepy how she calmed way down once we were adults. I wonder if my dad started slipping her Prozac in the morning or something..? I remember being afraid to tell her anything as a kid and now I tell her about the stupid things I do like go scream at drunk ass neighbors at 3am. =)

Good luck with this becuase your writing rocks like an avalanche and you deserve to be glad to hear that. I liked your recent Harry Potter/Nightwing chapter even though I feel like I missed a part somewhere. I need to stop deleting e-mails willy-nilly. =)

3:14 PM  
Blogger The BLS said...

I wouldn't constantly visit your blog unless I thought you were cool.

Now say, "Thank you, BLS..." :)

12:07 AM  

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