I have this ongoing need to be liked.
Not in the romantic sense.
Just in the capacity of ‘oh Lucy? Yeah she’s a good person.’
I smile, I agree, I say please and thank you. My energy goes into being well mannered and polite. But despite all of this, I still struggle to accept that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.
My fiancé says, ‘it doesn’t matter what these people think, f**k them and their opinion.’
My friends ponder, ‘why do you care what they think? If they don’t like you it’s their loss.’
As much as I know these comments are true my heart screams out in pain when the kindness I give is thrown in the gutter. When my smiles are squashed under their retreating steps. When my attempts at conversing are swatted away like an annoying fly. When my apologies are ignored and Unforgiven.
I am left in an ongoing mental battle. I have the full capability to realise I shouldn’t care, I shouldn’t care about the customer at work who dismissed my apology and stormed off in a rage. I shouldn’t care about the neighbours who confront me about my ‘horrible dog’ or the ones who scuttle off into the sanctuary of their flats when I merely utter the word hello.
But I do care.
I care to the point where I’m racking my brains to try and work out why.
Is it because they see me as young, as incompetent, as immature?
Is it because of the way I dress, or speak, or look?
Is it because my dog gets over excited on occasion and barks when we leave for a walk?
Is it because my fiancé and I argue sometimes, the raised voices and angry words spilling through the walls much like a leak in the ceiling?
Do these things not make me human?
Growing up, having fun, making mistakes, arguments about who’s turn it is to wash up.
Why should I shy away from being unapologetically human?
So maybe, after all this, it’s them.
Those who throw angry glances my way. Those who tut and shake their heads as I walk past with my small, loud dog.
Maybe they’re the ones who are hurting, the ones who are angry at the world and everything it holds. Maybe they could do with a smile or a kind word even when it seems like they want anything but.
Maybe it’s not me at all.
So I will try not to care when someone brushes me off. I will remind myself that their opinions aren’t all that important.
I will still smile.
I will still say hello.
And maybe I should change the title of this post to: