Nyah Nyah

Nyah nyah. Image from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Today’s Daily prompt: What’s the one thing you hope other people never say about you?

I don’t really care what other people say about me with very few exceptions. A complete stranger could walk up to me and say, “You’ve got a nine foot trail of toilet paper stuck to your shoe,”  and I would be ever so grateful to that person. On the other hand, someone very close to me could tell me that I’m being too negative again and I would pause and evaluate my behavior.

Generally though, outside of “you’ve got toilet paper on your shoe” and “you are subconsciously doing something that I know you hate,” I couldn’t really care less what people say about me. There are very few people in this world that I trust enough to value their opinion. Those are the only opinions I care about. The rest of you, well, it’s nice to hear your opinions, experiences and counsel, and I will gladly lather in your compliments should you choose to give them, but I will continue to do what I think is best regardless of what you say.

Think about this sentence: I do not care what people think about me. Man, it feels good to say that and really mean it. It wasn’t always that way. When I was a kid, I cared so very much. I lived my life based on what other people thought was cool or uncool. I was so shy when I was a kid that I wouldn’t talk to anyone unless they talked to me first. Considering that I was a big dork with huge bug glasses and a perm (my non-Finnish mother did not understand Finnish hair), the kids that wanted to talk to me were very small in number and incredibly dorky as well.

My best friends in elementary school were a horse-faced girl with huge teeth and even more unfortunate hair than mine, and the Vietnamese exchange student. The Vietnamese exchange student would ask what kind of music we liked and horse-face would answer whatever was in vogue that week, while I heartily agreed, whether I had heard of it or not. I pretended to like things that I didn’t just so that I wouldn’t lose what little social status I had managed to achieve. I wish I could go back in time and punch myself. I’d cut off that unfortunate hair and tell myself to stop being such a pussy.

Perhaps it is only because I was so wishy-washy as a child that I was able to slough it off when I reached high school. Perhaps if I had been a little more confident as a kid, I might not have had such a drastic turnaround and it was drastic.

That’s not to say that it happened overnight. I had to work at it. I had to repeat to myself like a mantra who cares what anyone thinks, so that by the time I reached high school, I was in the beginning stages of being the version of me that I am now. It occurred to me that they were people, just like me, and at the core, none of us was any better than the rest. Sure, there were some that were better at academics or basketball, but essentially, we are all the same. We all pee sitting down or standing up, as the case may be, and no matter how cool or uncool you were, everyone had something of value. Everyone had something they did better than anyone else. I began to actually feel sorry for those popular cheerleaders because what they could do better than anyone else was be popular, which wasn’t much of a skill really. I walked around silently laughing to myself when I passed the popular table in the cafeteria.

I had essentially turned the world on its ear just to suit me better. I slowly worked on my mantra until, by the time I was a teenager, no one could touch me. By that time, I had built myself enough confidence to tell my mom to shove her perms where the sun don’t shine. I started wearing what I felt like wearing and shaved off parts of my hair just because I could. I really, honestly did not care what anyone thought of me. It was completely liberating entering high school, the age when most kids care the most about what others think of them, and just generally not giving a crap. I was free.

This is me.
Image from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

The older I get, the less of a crap I give. My little self-help mantra stuck with me. I couldn’t care less what you, the general public, think of me because I am living my life the way I choose to and there’s nothing you can say to change that. Nyah nyah. That’s not to say that I’m still shaving off parts of my hair and wearing combat boots (although, I do have a pair from the army surplus store in my closet that I wear when it rains). Nowadays, I wear my attitude on the inside. Although, I think if you were to pass me on the street, you might be able to see it a bit.

So, after all that, I guess I didn’t really answer the question, did I? What’s the one thing I hope other people never say about me? “Her hair is awful!” Just kidding. I can’t really think of anything that a total stranger could say to or about me that would hurt my feelers.

Let’s forget about the toilet-paper-shoe people and focus on the opinions I care about. If one of my closest friends said that I wasn’t funny, it would definitely sting a bit. Humor is how I make my way through life. My sense of humor is not for everyone, but if my friends ever stopped laughing at me, I’d have to drastically rethink my life. I might even have to come up with a new mantra.