We all have self-concepts.
But we also all know that one guy who we think is a total douche, who thinks of himself as God's gift to the mattress sales industry.
So who's right?
Does the douche know something we don't?
Do we see what he can't?
I'm not the first to point out that we are our own worst critics.
Or that other people don't ruminate on our flaws to the astonishing degree that we do.
But what's got a bee in my bonnet this morning (Do you like my bonnet? Is it silly? I'll go change...) is the idea that much like the "what color is the broke-the-internet dress/maybe what I see as red, you see as blue, and we'll never know because we can never look through each others' eyes" conundrum, applied to the nature of an individual.
I'm astonishingly aware of my many flaws, but I do feel I lead an examined life.
So it ceaselessly floors me when someone will say something about me (either to my face or behind my back), that doesn't in any way fit my description as I understand it.
It's happened positively - some people think I am pretty ok. Fun, smart, brave even.
But, as is often the case for humans, the negative ones are the ones that burrow in and rob me of rest.
As when I have been accused of chasing someone's romantic partner (in whom I had no interest.) Or having negative feelings toward a person that I honestly hadn't given a moment's thought.
In these situations, there is nothing one can say to counter the other's claim - nothing that will budge them anyway.
So you must go about your day knowing that Karen thinks you're after her husband, when in all honesty you find him tedious, resent the fact that you have to work with him at all, and hope he puts in his two week's notice, like, YESTERDAY.
It's these interactions by which I am fascinated.
Like, I'm over here seeing a red flower, and Karen's looking at the same flower and calling it blue.
WHAT DOES SHE SEE?
HOW DOES SHE SEE?
And WHY is she seeing this thing in ME?
As is too often the case, I don't have a definite answer.
There's always the "it's just her insecurity talking" or "maybe her husband said something about you that made her suspicious" or "crazy just gonna crazy"...but why ME, specifically?
What is it about my face or pheromones that makes Karen come a'calling?
And, honestly, this happens to me all the time. As if I am communicating constantly in text messaging, and therefore no one can read my tone.
People who've known me forever - family even - will take something I've said off-the-cuff, or that in no way pertains to them, and make it somehow ABOUT them.
They speak about me as if I am the Maleficent of the original, animated "Sleeping Beauty," when, really, the Angelina Jolie remake would be more accurate.
I'm gonna name it now - this tendency for others to define you in a way completely opposite to how you see yourself: I'm calling it "The Wicked Syndrome."
In the book and musical of "Wicked" fame, we read/see/hear that, contrary to what we were told for decades about "The Wicked Witch of the West," the personage of Elphaba is someone who is passionate, caring, awkward, and, dare I say it? LOVEABLE.
So why have we spent decades hating her?
Because the victors write the history?
But that's not the case in our day-to-day.
I mean, Karen didn't win the war for Oz. So why are we all aboard the Erin tried to take Mike from Karen train? I know I didn't personally buy that ticket.
The answer is probably some complex human psyche thing.
And that is, in turns, both fascinating and boring, so I'll simply say this: everyone writes their own story.
In some people's story, you'll be the villain. In some, the hero(ine.) In some, you'll barely even factor.
And somewhere betwixt the three probably lies the truth.
You likely aren't a maniacal supervillain (but, you know, kudos for trying). You likely aren't the pristine hero either (again, here's your participation trophy), and you are probably much more and much less important than the stories in which you are Rosencrantz/Guildenstern.
You're a person.
Complex, petty, generous, at turns the dress as black/blue, and then white/gold.
But whatever you are, the truth is YOU DON'T WANT MIKE SO JESUS, TAKE IT DOWN A PEG KAREN.