Debunking Our Weird Personal Mythologies
In the most recent episode of “Girls,” Hannah and Marnie have an exchange where Hannah calls herself a loser. Marnie doesn’t let it slip, she challenges her by telling her it’s some “weird mythology” she has about herself, kind of like the idea “that you need to get 11 hours of sleep every night.”
Funny “Girls” should broach this topic because this past weekend, I was having dinner with friends I’ve known since elementary school and I made some comment about being overweight in high school. They both got annoyed at me, claiming it was all in my head, that I was in fact NOT overweight in high school. In all fairness, I was really chubby when I was a kid. So when I was in high school, I still thought of myself as chubby, even though I may not have been. I adopted it as truth about myself. And it became part of my personal mythology about who I am as a person. Apparently, one that I need to reexamine the veracity of.
Thinking about it now, it’s ridiculous that I’m still carrying around such a useless belief. Not to get all New Agey on you, but I subscribe to the idea that what I believe about myself is the truth. Why am I letting some out-of-date, possibly untrue idea from my past dictate how I am? That’s lame. And lazy! So, I’m committing myself to reexamining my beliefs about myself and challenging the ones that are false. How to do that? Since I can’t always have my own personal Marnie around to snap me back to objectivity, I’m going to employ an imaginary friend in my mind who tells me to STFU whenever I catch myself buying into an untrue myth. Below, I’m admitting to a few of more of my useless self-mythologies and I’ve collected some from the other Frisky Staffers. Let the debunking begin!
1. That skirts don’t look good on me. Someone told me that once. Weirdly I don’t even remember who. But for all these years I’ve subscribed to the idea that skirts don’t look good on me. Hence the one skirt hanging in my closet that I barely ever wear.
2. That I’m a difficult person. Knowing what you want and being able to verbalize it and being difficult are two different things. I’m actually fairly easygoing most of the time.
3. That I’m unathletic. So I may not have the best hand-eye coordination and team sports don’t appeal to me . It’s no mythology that I’m a klutz. You should see all the bruises on my legs. But just because I don’t have a “sport” doesn’t make me unathletic. I’m actually really hardcore when it comes to working out.
4. That I have no self-control. It’s hard for me to say no to cookies and french fries. But other than that, my self-control is exemplary.
1. That I’m an anti-social hermit. I kind of am, in that I do tend to prefer my own company to the company of others (sorry, everyone), but it’s not like I’m in “Nell” territory. I think I try to own my reclusive status in a positive, self-deprecating way because I’m actually inwardly terrified that I will eventually be as reclusive, weird and hermit-like as my dad.
2. That I have a hideous profile. Again, I do actually think I have a terrible profile — I think my profile makes me look like I have a squished in face, kind of like a bull dog, but every time I tell people this they insist I am ridiculous.
1. That people are only nice to me when they’re expecting something in return.
2. That really attractive guys only flirt with me because they want to hook up and then disappear.
3. That if I find a way to be above reproach, other people will be happy around me all the time. Even though I know that’s not true, because other people’s behavior has nothing to do with me.
1. That I’m more sensitive than the average bear. I’m sensitive, but probably no more so than the average person would be in most cases.
2. That I’m really judgmental. I generally don’t care what people do as long as they don’t hurt themselves or other people really.
1. That I’m bad with money. For some reason my great aunt has always told me that I’m terrible with money and even though I’ve never been in serious money trouble it’s always in the back of my head.
2. That people only keep me around because I’m light and happy and they wouldn’t like me if they saw my not-perky side.
3. That I’m bad with technology. I grew up with three nerdy brothers and I was less tech-savvy than them, but I think in the scheme of things I actually understand it better than a lot of people.
4. That I look terrible in tank tops.
Your turn! What weird mythologies about yourself are you holding on to?