I used to make it my business to care what people were saying behind my back.
It was during my high school days when much of what was said was right in my face. Being called bumpy or crater face because of my acne pimples or white girl because I talked proper, stung with the venom of a horde of bees. But having groups of girls snicker and talk about me when I walked by, or as with my parents when I’d done something they disapproved of – the silence when they heard my footsteps heading toward the kitchen, was ten times worse. I worried and fretted about what was wrong with me that I warranted such negative attention. I spent hours – sober or wine-tipsy – feeling picked-on and attacked, wishing for the day when it would all just disappear.
That day never came. No longer does anyone have the nerve to say anything in my face, but my adulthood is still peppered with uncomfortable silences or behind-my-back conversations that filter their way back to me. The difference is that I stopped caring because it’s none of my business if someone feels the need to spend their time talking about me.
I suppose it’s natural to want to be accepted and liked; to want approval from one’s peers and to live within society’s expected norms. I’m sure it makes life easier when you fit in, when people can look at you and understand where you’re coming from, know what makes you tick, and never question the way you look or behave. Living as society wants you to live likely minimizes challenges to one’s personality and fosters acceptance.
But pleasing other people – particularly when it threatens to overshadow who I really am – is not my purpose in life; and even if I felt it were, pleasing everyone is impossible.
So, I’ve stopped sticking my nose into other people’s business. I no longer believe that I have the right to subject my body’s emotional and physical health to unnecessary stress by worrying constantly about what someone else thinks. Nor do I have the right to make a fuss about talk that may filter back to me about what someone has said. Happiness in life comes from within; and it’s impossible for happiness to make its way to the surface when it’s forced to continually crash into negativity blocking its path.
None of my business. Yep I like that. Takes a load off of my shoulders.