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And what matters most? What others think of me or what I think of myself.

The thought caught me unawares.

Of course, I care what others think.

I want them to like me. Admire me. Want to be like me. Wish they could be my friend.

But they have no idea what I’m really like and that most of the time I don’t like myself much.

Thus, I work hard at projecting an outward persona other people could like.

Or at least find inoffensive and non-threatening!

So, what do others think of me? What do they see? What do they know?

They see an aging woman that –

  • Smiles a lot.

  • Carries a few extra pounds.

They know she loves –

  • Animals.

  • Writing.

  • Reading.

  • Gardening.

  • Knitting.  

  • Also, her husband.

  • And working out. Let’s not forget exercise!

They think she’s okay. Most of the time. Maybe a little hyper from time to time. The hyper times plays musical chairs with the “at peace” times.

It’s not good to be around her when the music stops on a hyper chair. You might find yourself with a trowel or spade or wheelbarrow in hand. Midday sun and she’s out there groveling in the dirt. (Her husband’s description of her feverish gardening spells.)

But yes, overall you think that woman, aka me, is okay.

What do I see?

Everything you see. But so much more.

I see –

  • The yearning for a simpler time.

  • A slower time.

What do I know –

  • A broken career as a promising pianist. And I wonder where that dream would’ve taken me had I not dropped out of college.

  • A discarded career as a budding writer in my mother tongue.

  • Ghosts of men who really cared and whose depth of feeling I didn’t understand. And thus, didn’t care about the hurt I inflicted.

  • An impatient streak the color of mud and the smell of rotting sea weed.

  • A stupid and dangerous mistake that cost me a career in Public Relations.

  • My failure as a foster mother to a seven-year-old little girl. I hope life treated her well and that today she’s happily married with kids of her own.

  • What I could’ve/should’ve done differently in raising my own daughter.

But I also see and know that –

  • I’m kind.

  • I care.

  • I love without reservation. (Even if I don’t like! Think of our politicians.)

  • I reach out wherever possible in my own small way to do good.

  • I will help if I can. And even when I can’t.

  • I’m approachable.

  • I’m huggable. (I probably gave the first hug.)

  • I’m the human equivalent of Fort Knox.

I don’t gossip.

Anything told me goes in either ear and sits there. It does not make its way to my mouth.

Have I slipped up?

Off course I have!

But those slips have been rare. And haunt me.

And now that you know all about me, do you still like me?



Photo from HELLO _

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