Yesterday I wrote about when I was thirteen and concerned about what people thought about me...especially those older teenagers passing by as I was barefoot in my front yard rolling in the garbage cans.
Just because years have gone by doesn’t mean that I have gotten over my fear of what people think of me…..or my embarrassment of people seeing me walk around in my bare feet.
Ok, ok. No, I don’t normally have an issue with people seeing me barefoot. It was just a good lead-in for my story. However, I definitely still do have an issue with caring about other people’s opinions of me.
Fast forward from being thirteen to being a twenty-year-old college sophomore walking back to the dorms from class. I wasn’t a freshman, I wasn’t figuring out my way around, and I wasn’t insecure about walking that familiar, often-crowded path back to the dorm buildings.
Backpack slung on one shoulder, phone in hand, I was rather comfortably going through the motions of pretending to recognize those people that gave me polite smiles as they passed me, and giving courtesy smiles of recognition when I would catch the eye of someone looking at me as I passed them. It was the awkward, “I can’t just look at the ground and pretend I don’t see anyone, but do I really have to smile and say hello to EVERY person I pass?” sort of walk.
But really, nothing major was going on in my head.
And THEN, my sandal broke.
I couldn’t fix it. And I couldn’t wear just one sandal so I had to take my sandals off and walk the rest of the way back to the dorms barefoot. All of a sudden, because of that small, little mishap, the walk seemed three times as long as it used to seem. And all of a sudden, I felt the horrible awkwardness of walking in this crowd alone.
If I had just had a friend walking with me. Someone who knew what had happened with my shoe and someone to laugh about the fact that I had to walk shoeless to my dorm it would have been fine. Just one person who knew the truth of what was going on. Someone to understand why.
Because I did NOT have that person, I did the only thing I could think of doing to get rid of my feelings of extreme awkwardness. I flipped out my phone and talked to a friend of mine. Only, there was actually no one else on the other end of the line.
I couldn’t get a hold of anyone, so I pretended to have a phone conversation.
Why the switch? Why did I go from being totally fine and “in my groove” to totally awkward and insecure about myself?
Something small happened that made me look different from the rest of the people walking around with shoes. In an instant, I felt out of place. My mind immediately went to what others would think of me.
So, I reached for my “fake friend” who wasn’t on the other side of the line.
But true. And real.
What about you? Is there anyone willing to admit the silly things they’ve done in order to feel less awkward in an uncomfortable situation?