Saturday, January 17, 2009

Here Goes

The most difficult thing about writing a personal blog is the word 'personal'. Sometimes I want to write something because it meant something important to me but I fear how it will sound, how I will seem, and how it could be taken. I think everyone worries to some extent about the image they portray, everyone tries to project an amalgam of the person they are and the person they would like to be. This makes honesty sometimes an unappealing route to take in recording, publically, an important personal moment.

When 'it' happened, I knew immediately that I wanted to blog about it. A millisecond after the idea of blogging 'it' the thought 'and just how will you pull that off without seeming pathetic' struck me. So I've wrestled on and off with writing about 'it'. Last night after getting home from the mall, where I only crashed into one door jamb in 'Henry' my power chair, I even spent a while reading past comments, reminding myself that I have nice readers with kind spirits.

Oh, no, I've just re-read what I've written and now I'm worried that I've given 'it' too much build up, it's not that big a deal. But, I'm not erasing what I wrote and I'm not going to just change the topic.

What 'it' was.

I was at work yesterday, my office overlooks a vacant field and I watched as the snow swirlled around making small science fair sized tornados. I had just finished the edit on a policy thing a ma jig that I had been asked to edit when one of my fellow co-workers came into my office. She is someone I have come to really like, even admire. In my unerring ability to misjudge people, I flat out didn't like her when I first met her. I was wildly wrong on every count that I had first held against her. I am, with age, learning to slow down my judgements. Anyways, she came in with a question and we began talking.

Then, out of the blue, appropo of nothing, she complimented me on the colour of my eyes. I was startled and blushed like a schoolgirl, because I too, like the colour of my eyes. I get complimented a lot on my work, on my lecturing, on my writing, on things that I do ... I never, ever, ever, get compliment on anything to do with my looks. Well, never, ever ever, is wrong, Joe does - but then Joe knows how to butter bread. But other than him. Never. Ever. Ever. New shirts are never noticed. Haircuts occur in a vaccuum. No one ever, ever, ever says anything about me physically.

Hold on now, as I'm writing this I realize that sometimes when I write something about being unattractive, belted with the ugly stick, people writing in and essentially say, 'you're not that bad' ... which isn't a compliment - it's reassurance, which is a long way from being complimentary.

So back to the compliment. I don't live my life in need of compliments. I like the recognition I get for my work, I like the feedback I get from lecturing - sure. But personal compliements - I don't even notice their lack, until something like this happens. An out and out compliment.

And I won't lie. It felt nice.

Now I'm near the end of my post and I don't know how to end this. I don't know why I'm telling you or what urges me not to hit the delete button. I'm absolutely NOT asking people who know me, who see me for tea, who meet with me, to suddenly flower up their language, to scan me desperately for something nice to say - don't do that you'll embarrass the hell out of me. I do not want to get comments full of compliments, projectile vomitting can ruin a computer. I am absolutely NOT wanting to sound like a whiny baby complaining about how tough it is to be born me - I don't want to be anything other than who I am, I have grown comfortable in here.

I just wanted to say, that someone, for a moment, noticed something nice about me, physically, and said something about it. I don't know if it took courage to do so, maybe it did. But she did it so naturally and so honestly that it seemed that she had been able to look over the huge mass of me and see something sparkling therein. A nice skill to be blessed with.

A nice blessing to give.


Belinda said...

I understand the honesty thing so well. I've made the choice to be as authentic, even when it isn't flattering, because there really is no point in anything else.

For the record, I wish I had beaten her to it, but I have noticed and admired your eyes, and thought of saying so when you wrote about their colour recently, because MINE ARE THE SAME COLOUR! We must be family, I thought, "I don't often see green eyes. I like mine and I like his!" :) There you are, hows that for a self referential compliment. Ha ha! I have described mine as, "The colour of the North Sea." Yours are that colour; I like them. But it's more than the colour. I like what shines out of them; the sparkle of mirth; mischief; kindness."

Anonymous said...

Since I wouldn't want to embarass you or make you puke on the computer, I won't try to compliment you today :)
I had to say something about eyes, though. When my son was born & I saw his eyes open for the first time, they sceamed "Down Syndrome" at me. I feared what those eyes were telling me. Now, those same eyes are the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The colour of blue, the extra little folds, the Brushfield spots like little stars. Complete strangers stop me on the street to tell me how beautiful his eyes are. I hope that those compliments are said to him as he grows up, so he can experience the same feeling as you got yesterday. I hope that when he gets older, some beautiful young lady will look into those blue eyes & just melt. It is strange that the feature that defines Adam as having Ds is the feature that now draws people to him.
I know that it is hard to post links here, but you are welcome to copy & paste these links to look at some pictures of my son & his baby blues.
Have a great weekend :)

Anjie (mom to Adam, 6)

Dave Hingsburger said...

Anjie, I tried to go look at the picture but it says I need a password. Is there another way to see the photos. As Belinda before you can attest, I love looking at family pictures!

Amy said...

Well, I am glad you blogged about "it"! There are many of us who understand the delight of a rare - but honest - compliment about physical appearance.

I promise that someday when I meet you at a conference or speaking engagement, I won't say a WORD about your eyes. Although, I would love to see you blush like a schoolgirl.

Oh, and to Anjie: there's already a girl who loves Adam's blue eyes. Emma can't look at the pictures of them together without saying "Adam cute boy!"

Anonymous said...

it's a big deal. :) and a different kind of big deal that you had courage to post it.

Terri said...

It is so nice when that happens.

Cynthia F said...

Dave, I'm not religious but your blog is my church. By which I mean, it's the place I go every day to get centered, to remember what's really important, to get into that airspace that is mostly found in the best moments in church, if you know what I mean.

Myrrien said...

Dave if we ever gave the good fortune to met again I'm going to find it hard not to look at your eyes!

What you have said is right though, I am not keen on comments on how I look but have been surprised at how some teenagers with physical disabilities I know have such poor body image.

I nearly gave one a heart attack one day by telling her (the truth) that she was incredibly good looking. She didn't believe me so we are doing a bit of work on positive self esteem.

Cynthia said...

I have thought that compliments slow down as one ages. Or maybe it was because I am aging? Either way, I understand being flustered when one pops up. I think people are a lot more wary of saying anything personal in this time of political correctness.
Like Anje, I love my son's eyes. They are so beautiful and expressive. His eyes always smile when his mouth does.
Sweet topic. Glad someone made you blush!

rickismom said...

A good reminder of our need to notice the good in others--kids, spouse, coworkwers, neighbors--- and maybe be a bit more liberal with compliments. Thanks.

lisa said...

I am glad someone complimented your eyes Dave. The one time I got to hear you speak, I don't remember your eyes, just the enormity and utter rightness of what you said.


FridaWrites said...

It is a big deal! I miss it too and it's nice on the very rare occasions someone does notice since they did not long before. This made me tear up. And from your pictures, I immediately notice the kindness in your face, in your expression. You can just tell--this is what is most noticeable to me.

Anonymous said...

The first time someone flirted with me while I was in a wheelchair I had the same reaction. I am so used to being unnoticed. I know people see me, see the chair and instantly filed me away as the girl in a wheelchair. And I am ok with that. I know my loved ones see me. My husband still thinks I am smart, sexy and pretty. But the day a stranger flirted with me I did the blush. I felt so out of my depth and I was so very happy. This was a peson interacting with me as a, gasp, person. And I saw him as real...not another of the nameless horde who pass by the chair seeing wheels and useless legs. He saw me. I saw him. And it was the biggest compliment a stranger has ever given me. I know what you mean about "it". Wonderful!

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