Keep imagining. This woman has now dropped her keys once and her overhead marker has flown out of her hands THREE TIMES in three minutes. She shakes her head after the third time, but goes on teaching. The students are laughing.
This is not an uncommon scene for me. I am regularly that teacher, but I'm actually not all that self-conscious about it. It sounds horrifying, but I managed to nullify the embarrassment I felt about these things during my first year of teaching. I couldn't have continued if I hadn't.
I do things all of the time that are "embarrassing." That's what 75% of my blog is about. I've just come to the conlcusion that laughing at myself over things I can't seem to control like: when I can't walk and chew gum; when I inadvertantly imitate oral coppulation in front of the entire school; spill apple juice on my lap (making it look like I peed myself); or even misdiagnose myself with a form of facial jock itch. These things are funny. I laugh at them because there's really not much else I can do. And I am satisfied and contented with that position.
But before you start thinking that I'm all emotionally healthy, let's talk about things that I think I CAN change. When I was traveling recently, I spent a lot of time around a lot of very cute, successful women. I decided that I was not good enough as I am and I had to do more to make myself the best I can possibly be.
Yesterday I started Weight Watchers (again) and going to the gym (again). This morning, when asked why I was doing it AGAIN, I responded, "I never meant to be a yo-yo dieter... it just turned out that way." How did I end up like this? I believe that I'm an attractive person, but after comparing myself with others, I found there were things I could do to become more attractive.
Not that these attempts at self-improvement are limited to my physical appearance. I am trying to get more done in less time (which led to the reinstitution of the hour-by-hour scheduling of my days) and to be more selfless in my relationships. But the idea here is the same... what I'm doing is not good enough.
I saw a bumper sticker today that said, "Don't change the way you look/ Change the way you see." I want to do that. I've done it before... been able to see myself with the blind love of a friend instead of as a competitor in some sort of invisible contest... but that's just not how it is right now.
Right now, I compare myself with others, all of the time. It is how I know whether to consider myself successful or not. Pretty or not. Happy or not.
This is my way of navigating the human experience. I've done it since I was a child (a middle child) and needed to figure out how to do things. The way I learned most things was by observing others' actions and the reactions they recieved. Then I picked and chose to get the reactions that I wanted. It's all by comparison.
Not that I'm unique in this. Most people, I believe, compare themselves with others constantly. Whether it's healthy or not, it is a way of dealing with life. Comparisons are the reason I am self-conscious.
Although I've painted a slightly different picture here, I don't think that comparing yourself with others is wholly bad. I think that it can drive you to do more and become better, which makes you a better friend, spouse, parent, employee, etc. If we weren't self-conscious, worrying about what others think, we might be even more selfish.
I know I would be.