So I'm listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's latest book Big Magic on audible and it's bringing me out of a lingering creative funk. But more on that later.
I had a seemingly mundane yet insanely insightful experience this evening on my way to a meditation group. I stopped at a gas station en route to get some cash to contribute as a dana to said group since it operates on donations. So I park and walk in to a small, empty convenience store, save for all the pre-packaged junk food and the lone employee half hidden behind the counter. He was shorter than me but stocky and wore a clingy gray long sleeved shirt and a beanie. I asked if I could get cash back and he paused and kinda stared as if pondering the question before saying he could give me change or I could use the ATM but they don't do cash back.
Sure I can use an ATM and get change instead. No problem. So i withdrew a couple twenties and was excited to find my favorite flavor of Peace Tea in one of the coolers at a cost of 99¢, which would break one of my bills. I handed the clerk the cash and he asked me if I wanted the penny, to which I replied "Nah, save it for someone else if they're short some change." I gathered my change and my tea and he added "You're beautiful, by the way." I was totally caught off guard but beamed and replied "Oh, uh, thank you. Have a great night!" And then awkwardly hurried out the door.
Let me provide some context to why this comment was so shocking. I barely cared what I looked like this evening and was definitely not trying to impress anyone. For all intents and purposes, I had on no makeup. Only mascara and a bit of brow powder; my absolute cosmetic minimum so that you can actually see my naturally blonde lashes and eyebrows. Maybe I had some lip balm on too? I honestly don't remember. I had also just been obsessing over a small red mark on my right cheek (as well as other facial skin imperfections) in the mirror that looked like either the beginning of a zit or like something had recently collided with my face.
My hair that I've gone probably too long without washing was pulled back in a lazy ponytail, paired with a black headband to hide some of the grossness. I had on the x-rayed flower patterned yoga pants - not even one of my top three favorite pairs - that I had been wearing all day since my morning practice. Add to that three layers of tops: a sports bra, a tank top, a thin, light blue hoodie and my puffy, off-white winter coat. Oh and to complete the outfit reminiscent of an 80's ski instructor, I had on my rather polarizing white & gray, puffy snow boots that look more like they belong on an astronaut, for which I either get complimented or made fun of. (I don't care either way because they have the most spacious, comfortable and luxurious toe box ever!)
I'm not sure what Gas Station Guy's intentions were or if he was entirely sincere. Or if he had just finished a lengthy prison sentence and I was the first woman he'd seen in years. But it doesn't really matter. It's not like I'll ever see him again. It was a small thing that both brightened my evening, and a little LED light inside my head (I'm trying to be all eco-conscious even when speaking figuratively).
I left the house feeling rather ratchet and giving zero fluffs* (*as opposed to the other f-word) about fashion, expecting not to get noticed, let alone complimented. So what's the point? Other people do not see what you see. They don't notice every little imperfection that makes you feel ugly or insecure. You often judge yourself more harshly than anyone else does.
It's definitely easier said than done but seriously, don't care what other people think. I mean, you should care a little bit and practice basic personal hygiene and wear decent, hole-free clothes so you're not mistaken for a hobo. But other than that, don't care. And most other people don't care either. But if they do care, then they're almost guaranteed to be way more insecure about themselves so that's why they're judging you.
Back to the book, I have less than an hour to go, which I am going to finish listening to tonight before I go to bed. Because I'm liking it that much.