This came crashing home for me as I prepared myself to go to my co-worker’s visitation. She had died, and was cremated, and there was a two-hour time when people were invited to the funeral home. I would usually refer to this as a “viewing,” but there was no body to view. All of sudden that’s become much more common where I live – a cremation and a service. I think the last three I went to had no body, just an urn.
It was Saturday afternoon and Carole was away. Usually, if my work partner isn’t going with me to these things, Carole will go with me. Not usually, always. I really hate going no matter who has died. A few years ago, my work partner and I went to the viewing of the body of the husband of one of our co-workers. It felt really wrong to me, somehow intimate and like I was intruding.
But in this case, on Saturday, I did know the deceased and I did want to show up at least to add to the number of people who cared enough to show up. But getting ready, going alone, I was very very anxious. There were other reasons for me to be anxious (Carole gone, the heat, having to leave the dog) but I was very anxious about going, being there alone, what to wear . . . What to wear! Who cares!
I didn’t know Gina’s (let’s call her Gina) family, and my co-workers and I had been mourning and grieving at work and we will continue to. As a manager of sorts, I wanted the people I work with, who mostly work under me, to know that I cared enough to attend. I did care enough to attend. But I didn’t want to actually be there. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I didn’t want to be there stupidly not talking to anyone. Arg.
What I ended up doing was going in, signing the book so that others would see I had been there, and leaving. Just writing about it now, I can feel how self-conscious I felt and I can cringe again. And that’s just one recent example, and an upsetting one at that.
I have a dress that I want to wear to work tomorrow. But I’m not going to, because I hate it when people comment on how I look, and wearing a dress will make at least one person say I look nice (even if I know that I don’t, I just look different, but some people perceive dress=nice). I hate to get my hair cut because people will comment. I’ve been at the same work place for 14 years, and I know who will comment or ask if my shoes are new.
Seriously. I cannot identify in the least with the people who make these nice comments. I just wouldn’t ask someone about her shoes unless they were ruby slippers or something.
I hate to have that attention drawn to me.
It was so uncomfortable Saturday and I began to mentally search for a way out. An excess of negative emotion makes me eventually, hopefully, turn to the tenth step, and try to figure out what I’m doing wrong.
This self-consciousness is all about me. Worse, it’s all about what other people are thinking of or about me. Which I will never, ever, actually know. And to add craziness to my craziness, I dislike it just as much when I think that people are thinking good things about me. Please don’t like my shoes!
So, pride, and the AA concept of pride in reverse. I won’t be moving on from this one for a while.