Tag Archives: cautionary tale

Be Careful Who You Look Up To: A Cautionary Tale

Time magazine you cover “Nobody can be you as efficiently as you can.” -Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking

I was a fat kid. I embrace that, now. But back then I was miserable. I understood the power of cute and I knew I didn’t have it. To sum up my psychosis, I had a low self-esteem. (I know, call the WAHambulance.) Anyway, my theory is that having a low self-esteem made me this kind of super fan. Any teacher or coach–hell, anyone–that believed in me became my superhero. Get made fun of enough in life and anyone who doesn’t do that to you is AH-maz-ing. Even after I lost weight and became “cute,” I never felt comfortable with my own power. I was already comfortable giving that power to other people. If Coach puts me on varsity, then dammit I am a golden god! If Coach uses me as a bench warmer, then god damn I suck.

Now you can imagine that as I approach 30, I’m pretty exhausted by obsessing over what other people think of me. After all these years of looking up to people, my eyes hurt. It’s easier to look straight ahead nowadays. (Cue Michael Jackson “Man in the Mirror” video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgtWIx2zLtk.)

It’s cool to look up to people, don’t get me wrong. We all need a little inspiration. Just don’t do what I did and invest all your proverbial eggs in that basket. If one boss says you’re a gem and the next boss lets you go, c’est la vie.  Take what you will and make like Frank Sinatra and do it your way.