Now, let me tell you a little story. A couple weeks ago, Rand had to take the car out of town and so, for the first time, it was just me and Harpo with errands to run.
On Saturday, I finally started feeling confident on it, even brave enough to take it on busier streets. Of course I got a few extra glances, but it was fine. I scooted over to check on my flea market booth, then to stock up on yarn, then to the bank. All day, I felt just like this:
That was Saturday.
Sunday, I awoke to the sounds of birds chirping and a gentle breeze blowing throughout the open windows. It was a beautiful day to spend with Harpo. I took off down the driveway, looked both ways, and stepped on the gas as I turned to head south.
I must have turned too sharply, because I tipped the entire scooter over on its side. Right in the street. Right in front of my house, for all my neighbors to see.
My hands went straight into the street, but the scooter fell on my legs. I had to lift it off of myself and get it upright again, which was not a smooth, graceful move. Then I couldn't get it started again. I had to just walk the scooter over to my sidewalk, where I was too flustered for a few minutes to just realize the key needed to be turned. When I finally got the thing to start, I quickly took off down the road to escape anyone who had seen me fall. It was only a few blocks later, sitting at an intersection, that a guy pointed and yelled "Ha ha!"
So on Sunday, I was more aware that I looked like this:
Yes, that is a bicycle helmet.
An embarrassing fall and then being mocked in public? I had plenty of time just to drive around and think about it. At first, I wanted to go hide somewhere.
Finally, though, I decided to just not care.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I've spent way too much time worrying about what other people think of me. I want to be free to wear what I want, look how I want, and do what I want, but obviously anyone who steps outside their comfort zone accepts the possibility of making a mistake, being mocked by others, or just getting stared at. By the time I got home, I was feeling fine, despite my rough start that day.
So here's my point. Seriously, try going about your business not caring what others think of you. Just pretend they're not there. Do what you want, be a nice person, and don't worry about it. That sounds so obvious, yet it has taken me a very long time to figure that out.
The moment I start to notice that self-conscious feeling creeping in, I remind myself that I don't care. And suddenly I'm fine again.
Now that I don't care, I'm free to do all kinds of fun stuff.
"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." -Joseph Chilton Pearce