Thursday, April 6, 2017

The 12-year-old Compliment (Sort-of)

Today I waded into the ocean; flippers on my feet, boogie board in hand, and a smile plastered on my face.  Just getting into the water is a triumph.  I pushed myself into the water and started kicking.   I giggled, my body is getting back to normal.  I wave came and pushed me.  Colin grabbed me from flipping over.  We laughed.

A 12 year old girl, floated by on her surfboard.  A big smile on her face, she said, "I wish MY mom would come out in the water with me."  My heart sank.  Colin turned around and his grey hair caught her by surprise, "...or dad."

I know that's what she actually said, but what I heard was "Hey, clumsy chubby white lady. You're old and your boyfriend looks young enough to be your son."  I just wanted to sink into the water and let it pull me to shore, so I could crawl to the car and cry.

But I stopped.  I stopped beating myself up.  I stopped allowing lies to conquer my brain.  I stopped letting a 12 year old interfere with my greatness.  The truth is she was totally complimenting me.  She was telling me that it was fantastic that I was out in the water.  She loved that I was still having fun (at my real old age).  She thought my boyfriend was gorgeous. (Well, that's what I heard.)

I wish I could tell you that this is what happens every time I'm hurt by someone.  I wish I could tell you that I'm the queen of turning hurtful things into compliments, but I'm not.  But I am good at slowly learning and changing my thoughts.  And soon, purposeful choices of how to think about myself will be easier and soon it will just be a habit.  But until then, I will try my hardest to remember that I'm awesome and the lies are just that, lies.