A Blue State of Mind

"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams." Oprah

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Location: The Western U.S, United States

I spent 48 years caring about what people thought of me. I'm not spending the rest of my life caring about that anymore!

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Epiphany (or Paradigm Shifting)-A Really Long Rant

Remember when you were in grade school or junior high and you found out you were not one of the cool kids? Maybe I presume too much so I'll talk about me (my favourite hobby if you haven't noticed).

When I was in the 7th grade (we didn't have junior high in Phoenix back then) I found out that I was not one of the cool kids. I was painfully shy, very fat and a bookworm. When the other kids were hanging out during lunch I was usually in the library poring through book after book or convincing the librarian to allow me to check out more than the allotted two books per week per student.

I had always wanted to be one of those kids but they didn't like me for all the wrong reasons and like kids can be, they played on my differences. By accident however I discovered that I had something that I could use to leverage my coolness factor. One day one of the cool tough boys Myron asked me the answer to a quiz question and I gave it to him. That it was the correct answer and that only he and I had the correct answer, he decided to sit next to me during class and even started speaking to me in the halls and at lunch.

Pretty soon word spread that I was smart, or at least smarter than most of them. I'm being serious, don't judge me. Anyway, as word spread, more of the cool kids, following Myron's lead began allowing me to hang around. Boy did my life change! No longer relegated to the tether ball lineup for 6th graders I played with Beverly and Angie and Ventrice. I ate lunch with Evelyn and Jerry-Lynn outside rather than hiding out in the library. Sure I wasn't asked to play every reindeer game but at least I was invited to enough of them to permanently change my social status.

It wasn't long before I learned that my wisdom was power and I changed from wanting to be with them to being my own social club. Those kids wanted to hang with me because I could help with grades. Yes, I became a bit of an egotistical, self-absorbed teenager and these traits followed me throughout college and even work. But I discovered last week that that image of me had all changed.

There's this group of folks at work. They are the "cool kids" if you will. You'll always find them sitting together in meetings or walking over to Starbucks during lunch. Theirs is such an exclusive group that even I wanted to become a part of them. And I tried most everything to be noticed by them including volunteering to help them complete their projects even though I was overloaded myself. I'd call into one of them on my way to work to take Starbuck's orders or even make runs to the supermarket to replenish diminishing potluck foods.

So here's where I suddenly realized how stoopid I was being with these people: last week most of us happened to be in a meeting with visiting managers and instructors when one of the "cool kids" began passing invites to a post Thanksgiving brunch. Noticing that I hadn't received one (there were only about eight of us in the room, how obvious was this), he promised to email the invite. And he did.

It was this one sentence email that listed the date and time and name of the eatery. Nothing else.

At first I was relieved and really happy that he had remembered me but then, as I re-read and re-read the email I got hotter and hotter. I mean I was so angry I could have held an ice cube and melted it in two minutes. While standing in Siberia. During a blizzard. You get the picture right?

How dare they treat me like this? Who do they think they are? Who died and ordained them the future rulers of the world? Most importantly though, when did I start thinking they were all that and two grab sized bags of chips?

And then it all came tumbling back...all the times I asked them for help and received none. The many times they went out for food and didn't include me. Having to run after them while walking to meetings. Okay, maybe I wasn't that bad but still.

Now, returning back to my sweet, egotistical, self-absorbed little self, I'm blowing them off. Today alone I've ignored two of their emails asking for help and I'm not even thinking of showing up at that stoopid little brunch. The old Debo Blue is back and they can kiss my fat butt.


Blogger Keith said...

Well it's their loss then! ;-)

November 25, 2008 6:31 AM  
Blogger Jeni said...

Yep -totally agree with Keith on this one! I kind of bounced back and forth as a kid, a teen, with issues like this. For a while as a younger adult, things seemed to be on a level -or fairly level -plane but after my divorce and really until just in more recent years, it seemed to return to haunt me. It's just been in more recent years that I finally took on the attitude you are describing you just adopted and actually felt comfortable within myself then for having made that move. Self-acceptance and knowledge of who we are, each of us, within ourselves takes some of us a whole lot longer to achieve than it does others. Every now and again, it still creeps back in on me, but I deal with it much easier now -with age and the inner strengths and knowledge that comes with maturity. At least I think I do, most of the time.
You rock Debo and people who don't see that, who don't fully accept you for whatever reason, aren't worthy of being in the "friend" column then.

November 25, 2008 6:58 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

I'll try to keep this short.

All of us want to be one of the cool kids. In some contexts we are, in some we miss the boat.

A secret to being in the group is to project not caring about whether you're in or not. Then there's the realization that you really don't care whether you are in or not.

I hang out with a lot of cool kids, professionally and socially; but, I've always been just a little outside the group. The really outside the group kids think of me as one of the cool kids. The cool kids have figured out that I don't care what they think; and, they for the most part accomodate my lack of... just what is it I lack?

One of the cool kids recently said to another, "you're wasting your time trying to get Dave to do anything he doesn't want to do." Maybe that sums it up.

November 25, 2008 3:16 PM  
Blogger uglyblackjohn said...

Dave has it right. Being one of the cool kids is easy but it's often over-rated.
I've been popular most of my life but have no reason as to why. I asked one of my friends and they told me it's because I always have my own life and don't worry about everyone else.

November 25, 2008 6:01 PM  
Blogger uglyblackjohn said...

P.S. Don't become a B**** just because others are B******.

November 25, 2008 6:02 PM  
Blogger dr sardonicus said...

Funny that we're supposed to know better as we get older, but some things never seem to change.

November 26, 2008 12:52 AM  
Blogger sarala said...

Well, I can relate. I recently got back in touch with a bunch of my junior high acquaintances via Facebook--which is an event in itself. Guess what, the cool kid, outcast dynamic was still in force 35 or so years later. Ick! I think I'll stay as I am.

December 08, 2008 1:11 PM  
Blogger Posolxstvo I said...

I understand your hurt and resentment and anger, but it seems to me that there are two ways to respond to that kind of crap. You can wallow in it, or you can rise above it.

Easy to say. Not so easy to do. But when you do, that stuff that Dave was talking about (acting like you don't care) just flows naturally.

I have never been one of the cool kids. Nor was I ever one of the dorks. Or the jocks. Or the [insert cliched clique here]. And, at times I wanted to be, but usually didn't.

So I look at these types of situations and think that they (your co-workers) probably aren't doing it out of maliciousness, but out of stupidity. And stupid is as stupid does.

And if they are doing it out of meanness, you are better than them. Don't let them win.

December 09, 2008 2:52 PM  

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