Yesterday, I saw someone I hadn’t seen in about three years. I actually met him four years ago when I interviewed for a job that I didn’t end up getting. It came down to a choice between me and one other person, and the director chose the other person.
This guy — I’ll call him Brian — told me he would keep me in mind for future job openings. I didn’t believe him. No one follows through on promises like that.
But Brian did. Yesterday he emailed me and told me about an opportunity in his division (we work at the same overall place), and I went and talked to him about it.
When I walked into his office, he said, “You look great! A lot better than you did when you interviewed here four years ago, actually.”
His comment echoed what my friends and family said when I visited them last month. My brother kept saying to me, “I can’t get over how good you look.” A lot of my friends said the same thing.
I can only imagine that this change in my appearance comes from my hard work in trauma therapy and afterward. It would be difficult to overstate how much effort I give to this. Basically, I work on it 24/7. Every day. All the time. I am obsessed with constructing my “self” and my life, for the first time ever.
It’s easy for me to feel sad that I’m only doing this now, at age 51. Believe me, I’ve grieved a lot for all the years I didn’t have the opportunity to shape my own life.
At the same time, I’ve also realized that even people who haven’t experienced trauma sometimes live their lives passively. And that makes me angry, because they don’t even KNOW the power they have over their own lives. They take it for granted, because they’ve always had it.
I don’t take it for granted. Perhaps it’s that determination that people are seeing in me, I don’t know. It’s been difficult for me to see myself the way outsiders do. Although I’ve looked through some photographs of myself from, say, 5 years ago and some recent ones, I haven’t been able to spot the change. Maybe it’s more of a “total package,” if you know what I mean: not something that can be readily seen in a photo.
It’s an odd compliment, but I’ll take it, thanks.