I know, and I tell my kids regularly, “It’s not all about you!”  My brain knows that 90% of other people’s actions are related first to themselves, and only then, possibly to me.  And my emotions are generally convinced of that as well, and I rarely assume anyone else’s action is about me.  I don’t feel offended like the drama magnets some have mentioned.

However, sometimes I wonder, “Is it EVER about me?”  Do I matter to other people?  Would I be missed?  Am I a person people WANT to talk to, or just someone they WILL talk to?

I learned, as a child, that things aren’t always what they seem, and that I wasn’t a person of worth, so I tend to emotionally disregard positive things said to me.  Even when I intellectually respect and believe in someone judgment, I tend to internally make excuses as to why they don’t really mean what they said, or why they are confused about me.

Again, because of childhood, my intellect is really quite separate from my physical body and my emotions.  I will think & talk about emotions, rather than feel them.  I have been told, in the past, that this makes me seem cold and distant, and that others feel like I’m looking down on them.

Mostly, I just don’t deal with the emotional impact of life, SCA, anything.  I try to appear normal, and hope nobody notices when I’m faking.  In reality, when I start feeling, instead of thinking about these issues, I get nauseated nearly to the point of puking.  So I avoid feeling.

I also avoid asking people for anything that matters.  I asked for help a few times as a child, and was ridiculed or ignored.  So to avoid having people I consider friends turn me down when I really need some help, I just don’t ask.  I once walked 7 miles home when 5 months pregnant, because I didn’t want to face the risk of my friends saying no when I needed it.  So if I’ve ever struck you as prideful, and wanting to do it all on my own, it’s likely a bit of that coming out.

Now the twisted thing is, I know (scientific research as shown), that asking someone for help favorably increases their opinion of you.  So if I wanted people to like me, I should ask for help more, not less.  I’ve also been told, (back to that cold & heartless thing) that showing your emotions and vulnerabilities helps bring people closer to you.  So that’s a tiny part of why I’m posting, but mostly it’s because this stuff just won’t get out of my head and my stomach.

I really have no clue how other people perceive me.  Like many SCA’ers, I wasn’t one of the “cool” kids in school.  A part of me wants to someday be one of the cool kids (in the SCA), but mostly I’ll just settle for the cool kids knowing who I am.  And I’m fairly sure I’ve got that half-way – at least half of the people Calontiri would describe as the “cool kids” recognize my face – but I doubt more than 1/4 know my name, rather than my hubby’s.  And not very many people, “cool” or not, approach me to start a conversation.  So I could be that person that people say, “oh no, not her again.”  I don’t THINK I am, but I don’t KNOW.

Awards are one way that the SCA as a whole recognizes people for their good qualities, actions, and knowledge. Yes, the pursuit of knowledge & skill is a joy and a reward in and of itself, and I’d do it even without any awards, (Genealogy is another interest, and no one encourages me there, yet I’ve been at it 40 years)  But awards can be a measure of how others perceive you.  They certainly are helpful for describing the general skill or knowledge level of a person, to someone else.  In a way, even though the awards are subjective in the giving, there is an objective quality to each type and level.  Once you’ve been around awhile, you’ll know what AoA level A&S work is, versus GoA, or Laurel.  It’s rough, and not easily described, and undoubedly, the bar has gotten higher over the years, yet the understanding of the objective knowledge and skill each award represents is there.

(Which brings us to virtual seppaku…)

I think I have the “promise” in the sciences, in research, or accessories, or metal work, to be worthy of a Leather Mallet.  But I haven’t gotten one.  So maybe I’m not worthy.  But if I’m not, what do I need to do more of?   Being disappointed I didn’t get a LM has interfered in my ability to be happy for others I know who have gotten them recently.  (I agree with the awards, they were all well deserved by my viewpoint, but that knowledge didn’t prevent the tightness in my throat and pressure behind my eyes.)

For years (about 12 continuous) I wasn’t very active, I was just having kids, so I was happy for all the people who started in the SCA when I did as they recieved their awards (mostly peerages.)  I knew that my participation, as well as my prowess just wasn’t there, didn’t deserve any mention.  Then I really started to get into the research end of things.  I spent about 2 years sleeping about 3 hrs per night for 4 or 5 days each week, while I did internet research between 10pm and 5am.  (I’m so happy that so much good stuff is available on the web now.)  But no one knew that I knew anything, and most barely remembered me.  So hubby & I both made a deliberate effort to participate more over the last couple of years.  Travel is up to about 10-15 events a year, I’ve taught some, and tried to put my research into actual items, be it beads or casting or C&I.  I’ve entered the last 3 Queen’s Prizes, and 1 Tri-levels.

I admit that I don’t volunteer to judge.  (I’ve only judged twice in 23 years.)  I’ve seen people push themselves forward by offering to judge (when they really shouldn’t) and want to avoid being that person.  I also am uncomfortable judging at a competition where I’m also an entrant.  And again, it comes back to perception.  Just because I think I have relevant knowledge in a field, doesn’t mean that other people agree.

I also rarely submit award recommendations for others.  I should do more, but I guess I FEEL that my viewpoint isn’t important.  I may know that isn’t true, but it’s about self-perception.  I also often don’t see the work of others.  With the kids, I don’t go to local meetings, except about once every 3 months (that we meet on “church” night is a problem for us.)  So I hear about what others are doing second or third hand, which is not a very valid basis for writing an award rec.

So, gentle (and very patient) readers, what response am I looking for with this display of my entrails?  I’ve already told you that I tend to discount nice things said about me, even when I shouldn’t.  So I guess any wisdom on your feelings & experiences with how others perceive you would be helpful. Don’t talk about me, because I’ll have a hard time believing it.

Mostly, I just had to get this out, to verbalize and take control of my feelings I’ve been having in court. I WANT to be happy for all the award recipients.  Having committed the sin of openly talking about an award, I’ve now ensured it won’t happen for a goodly while.