Trying to change people’s perceptions of you is like trying to teach a south paw how to crochet…

I’ve decided to take up crocheting. Mostly because it’s impossible to find a hat that will fit over dreadlocks and I don’t want to pay fifty dollars for one on Etsy. Instead I decided to go out and buy seventy five dollars worth of yarn and crochet needles to make my own version. I haven’t worked up the courage to try a hat yet, so I’ve made some cock-eyed slippers and an enormous scarf of many colours. G looks at it dubiously, but I know that when I finish my scarf-like creation, it’s going to be fantastic.

My children now call me elderly, especially number three. I informed said child that he’s getting a pair of pink mittens with the string, and a sweater vest of my making for Christmas.

My girls were bored this weekend (cue: “we never get to do anything fun!”) so I decided to be a good mother and teach them to crochet. My right handed daughter picked it up right away, and she’s already creating a glorious big rectangle of craftinesss. My left handed daughter was a different story. I realized as I was showing her how I was holding everything and making a stitch that this wasn’t going to be a successful mother/daughter encounter. I tried the best I could to help make it work for her, but it didn’t work. I regretfully told her “I have no idea how to help you with this, you’re going to have to figure it out for yourself.”

Reminds me of people and their perceptions.

I went for lunch with a friend last week. We’ve been third cousins/friends since we were 14. We both grew up in the same small town where everyone is related and everyone knows everybody else. We were catching up on who’s who when he mentioned he had told a mutual acquaintance that he was meeting me for lunch.

She was like “oh? really? her?….um…you know we’re friends with her ex right?”

My friend was like “yeah, so? she’s awesome and we are good friends and her divorce doesn’t change that.”

I laughed and rolled my eyes when he related this encounter but at the same time it made me sad. I’ve known this girl since we were little. She’s younger than me by about 4 years. I know her parents and they know me. We attended the same school. They all attend the big church in the valley where I grew up. I complimented her on her worship leading abilities after watching her lead for a week at camp.

I find that even now I’m still bracing myself for other people’s perceptions of me. Every time I enter our small town coffee shop, or grocery store, or library, or pharmacy, or my kid’s school, there is a part of me that puts on a protective layer. I’m still me, and I’m still good with who I am. I am kind to everyone and act like I am just another normal human, but there is a piece in the back of my mind wondering how people perceive me.

I can’t change how people see me. I guess when you go through something as huge as a divorce in a small town, you’re going to be talked about. People will change how they think of you. Knowing you will know longer matter. Knowing about you will become what guides their perception of you.

At the end of the day, you come to place where that’s ok. It still hurts a bit, but it doesn’t matter. You can’t change what other people chose to think about you. Just like my daughter has to figure out how to crochet from a different perspective than most people, without my help or my control, I have to know that I can’t control people’s perspective of me. I can’t always help them see the real me. And that’s ok.

You know you, the people who love you know you, and that’s what’s important.


Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Perception

  1. First of all, kudos to you on the crocheting!! I also recently taught a couple of little girls how to crochet (not relatives, just little friends :)), and your analogy of having to use different perspectives makes a very good point!

    As an author and a bit of a writing nerd, I also think there’s analogy here with characters. Just like characters in a book, we hardly ever know EVERYTHING about another person, and yet we form an opinion about them using whatever information we do have. You cannot always control what information another person knows “about” you– all you can control are the words you speak or don’t speak to them, and how you treat them. And sometimes that can be more powerful than whatever second-hand or third-hand “data” they think they have on you. At the end of the day, we can always control how genuine we are with others, and there is hope in that!

    Liked by 1 person

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