On my new eight pill a day regimen I feel like I am stuck in Wonderland. If you mean by one pill makes you smaller and one makes you tall, you mean one pill makes you bloated and one makes you choke for fifteen minutes searching for enough fluid to wash it down then just call me Alice. Hopefully this surgery will put an end to the Alice in Wonderland issues. Where's my top hat? It is not really all that bad, it's just my perception.
Today I would like to discuss perceptions an how we wield it upon others, and we do wield it. Like a double edged freshly sharpened ax with a mace attached to the back, a scythe strapped onto the handle, nun chucks dangling off the sides, and katanas taped to the bottom. Just to make sure our perceptions are heard loud and clear.
Yesterday, my neighbor asked why I was dressed so fancy and if I was going somewhere. I looked at myself and to my horror, I realized that the only reason he thought I looked fancy was because I was actually wearing a tank top and shorts. My usual garb has been a night shirt with jeans and a jacket over it so you can not tell that I have a night shirt on and that I lost the battle of trying to put on the over the shoulder bolder holder. My look has gone from a- la- causal to more a-la-bag lady and I wasn't aware. I only dress to the point of not embarrassing my kids at the bus stop. It never fails that on days that I do dress up no one I know is anywhere near me to see what I look like on a good day. Not that I don't care what I look like but as someone who almost never leaves the house, I have become more why try if no one really sees me attitude. Apparently I am seen more than I previously thought and I really need to appear decent more often to avoid more embarrassing questions later.
Perceptions can come back to bite you in the hiney.
In high school I had a rat faced, beady eyed, Spanish teacher. I hated his class because I am mildly dyslexic and he would always call on me when I was struggling with something. I couldn't read clocks and he would use a cardboard clock and move the hands and you were supposed to say what time it was in Spanish. I would always shrink down in my seat and silently pray, don't pick me, don't pick me.....He always picked me. I would take too long and get it wrong. There would be jeers from the class and laughs. Their perception was that I was an idiot. The truth as that I was dyslexic and didn't learn how to read a clock until I was in my early twenties.
Perceptions of others can be hurtful to their self esteem.
This class was also the only D- I ever received on my report card. I once was called on to read my homework where I mistakenly said I talked to my television. Another round of laughter and comments on how dumb I was. What the kids and teacher did not know was that at home my mother had become very ill. She was unable to get out of bed and the house smelled like the sickly sweet smell that only permeates the house when someone is very ill. That every night I was washing the dishes, cleaning the house, making dinner, doing laundry, making sure she was eating, doing all of my homework with no help including the stupid Spanish homework that this completely sadistic teacher gave us. That I got little to no sleep listening to make sure she was still breathing. The perception that I just didn't care about my studies was totally false, I just had no time to give to them.
Perceptions are really just one sided judgments.
I often heard that people on welfare shouldn't have kids. They shouldn't get assistance, they are all lazy and uneducated. I would have to bite my tongue. My mother who not only had major mental illnesses of her own managed to raise me, a woman with severe OCD, and hold down two jobs, until she was struck down by Lupus at the age of thirty five. She always paid her taxes and gave what little we had left to charities. We were never late on our bills or utilities. Their perception that we were on welfare would of been that my mother just didn't want to work and wanted a free hand out. No one really gets the shame of going from being employed to standing in the food stamp office begging for mercy because you have to feed your child because you are very ill, unless they have been through it. It truly is heartbreaking. Do some people take advantage of the system, yes but not everyone does. We didn't and thankfully we were able to get back on our feet a few years later.
Perceptions can be based in reality and also in fantasy.
Because of us falling from grace, if you will, a newspaper printed our story on how my mother got sick and we needed help. Unfortunately this kid I went to school with had read it. He was obviously an alien from planet Douchebag and so I forced to listen to such douchebaggery as " Hey, Nelly where is the silver platter you were born with? Oh, Yea you can't afford to buy one. Maybe you sold it so you could eat.".........Lovely right? Like I didn't have enough problems in high school I had to listen to this little chump. Maybe he hated poor people, maybe he was angry because he was shorter than everyone even me, maybe he had angry little man syndrome. I have no idea why this kid wanted to be such a douche, but alas he was and I endured.
His perception that we were some how less of people because of our financial status was a bunch of crap. I was and am just as important as anyone else regardless of the amount of money I make.
Perceptions can hold you back.
I could have perceived myself as unworthy because I have mental illness or because I was poor growing up. I could have perceived that I am not as important as everyone else because occasionally I do not feel up to dressing up just to be seen at the bus stop or on my porch. I could perceive a lot of things about myself but I don't. I am the way I am for many reasons. Does that mean I don't need to improve somethings? I absolutely need to try to improve on a lot of things. I am not however, required to please everyone. I am not required to be someone I am not. There are many people sharing mental and health issues. We should maybe stop wielding our perceptions against them and see that more may be going on behind the scenes in their lives. There may be reasons that person is acting the way they are, dressing the way they do, and doing the things they are doing. Like dreams perceptions can be just a one sided blurry version of the truth. So, my post is really about understanding that many perceptions we have about people are true and many of them are not. Wouldn't it be great if we took the time to get to know someone before we judge their circumstances? Wouldn't it be great if our perceptions were wrapped in compassion instead of judgment? Perceptions can hold you back. You can miss out on a terrific friend or a moment that could change your life. So maybe next time when we feel like beating someone down with our preconceived notions and perceptions of them we could walk in their shoes first and then make an informed decision instead.