I walked into the hardware store on a sales call. This was unlike any other sales call though... I was back in my hometown. I was actually excited to meet with the owner, because we went to high school together! He was even in my class! As I waited to meet with him I noticed someone else I recognized. Immediately, anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks and I blurted out, "Hi Jessie!"
"I'm just chillin'!"
Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious.
I can't believe that's what I said...
It gets worse. After waiting almost an hour to meet with the owner, I finally see him. I'm excited to see him! He doesn't look excited to see me... I panicked again.
"So how have you been?"
"So things have been good?"
"Yep, been doin' good."
I wanted to sprint out of there and drive back to the Front Range, never to return again!
So many things raced through my mind. What did he see when he looked at me? Did he see a self-absorbed beauty queen? An obnoxious loudmouth? Did he see me as I was in high school? College? Did he hear something about me that wasn't very flattering (very possible considering the smear campaign that has been running rampant)? I don't know. Did I let him down in some way? Did I say something on the podcast or write something on Facebook that offended him? Did I ignore a message?
I started driving myself crazy over the possibility that I have let my entire hometown down. I was supposed to become something, rescue people, and save the world! And it was supposed to start here.
Of course I called some trusted mentors, took time to meditate, and reflected on my life and my characteristics. I found that I was carrying more responsibility (and credit) than was necessary. Who am I to think that I had ANY affect on his life. On anyone's.
People don't sit around and think of me! LOL! They have their own life to live. Their own problems to solve. Their own battles to fight. They are too busy rescuing THEMSELVES to worry about what I'm doing back in Craig, CO!
Realizing that I was getting a little big for my britches helped take the pressure off of trying to be the hero. The only story that needs me as a hero is mine!
Although I would like to say that I took the pressure off of myself the next time I came back, I can't. I was a lot kinder to myself when I saw someone I knew, but I still took on a lot of responsibility, feeling terribly guilty if I didn't recognize them or didn't know their name!
Has that ever happened to you? You go back home, or go somewhere you know you will recognize people and you don't remember their name or where you know them from. Do you feel that uncomfortable pang of guilt and shame? Me too.
I'm sure there are people that think badly of me. I'm sure I've offended many people along the way. I'm sure there are people that will always see me as my high school or college self and judge me on that. I can't say I don't do the same thing. There are two people from high school that I still can't stand to this day, and I haven't seem them in 15 years! If I saw them today, I'd curl my lip and walk the other way. They hurt me, embarrassed me, and even if they had changed and said sorry, I don't know that I could sit and have a conversation with them and wish them well. Yep, I've got a lot of work to do still, don't I.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you go home, and you get anxiety over seeing people from your past. You are not alone. My favorite part about embracing that anxiety and asking my body and my spirit what it was that was making me feel that way, was the self-realization that it gave me.
I was able to find out things about myself. I noticed that I wasn't so much worried about what they thought "of me". I was more worried about the possibility that I hadn't done enough for THEM. My line of work is helping people create a life worth living.
My biggest fear is that I'm too late, or that I didn't show them something they needed to see, or didn't say something they needed to hear, or didn't offer a tool that they needed to use.
But that's not fair, is it? I can only do what I can do, when I can do it. And I can only do it as me. The me that I am right now.
So next time you are in a position where you are feeling anxious about seeing someone you don't remember, or recognize but don't know their name... have grace. Be gentle with yourself. Some people will be offended, and should they be so perfect to remember everything all the time, cudos to them. Your intentions are yours and yours alone.
Your opinion of you is the only one that matters!
To everyone I saw this weekend in Craig, Merca, I love you! It was amazing to see you all. Forgive me if I didn't act or talk or seem the way you needed me to. I was doing me the best I could.
Stay Sparkly Sweet Sisters!