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Disgusting. Or Why do we always remember the bad?

Just a couple of weeks ago I was holed up with some of my closest friends and trusted colleagues at the 5th Annual Type-A Conference, over the course of several days I aided in ensuring that 500+ men and women bloggers were able to learn from the best in our field.  I had many soulful and empowering conversations with new and old friends.  And yet despite all of these meaningful conversations, one stomach-punch comment made by a complete stranger stands out more than anything. It stands out the most in my mind – it’s set on replay.

Rather than calling to mind the many conversations that built me up, I remember the one instance an utter stranger threw harsh words in my direction.  It was late Saturday night and after an exhausting day had carried into and equally emotional night, I was focused on salvaging what was left of the night with my friends.

amanda wine

As the last event of the evening was drawing to a close, I sat, emotionally drained and surrounded by friends, just outside the party.  Around midnight, two gentleman (and I use that term loosely) got off the hotel elevator in total golf attire, complete with sun visor to presumably block out the sun, of which there was none.

Desperate to lighten the mood, I raised my voice above the din and laughingly called out something about the sun not being out anymore.  Piercing me with a confused look that quickly dissolved into a scowl, the visor-wearing young man spat out “You’re disgusting!” as he and his pal rushed down the hall away from my stunned silence.

Quickly I searched the faces of my friends looking for the same disbelief on their faces as I was sure masked my own face, nothing.  I don’t think anyone heard him…I’m sure they were all staring at me, wondering WHY in the world would I have called out to a perfect stranger?  Just as quickly as it happened, the moment was gone.  But not really.

Not a day since the conference has gone by that I haven’t thought of that night – the questions vary and they cycle through day after day.

Who calls a perfect stranger disgusting?  Do I actually look disgusting?  Was I really the only one to hear him? (Note: My assistant Pam’s husband told me the next day that he heard him and was shocked.)  Did I deserve it?  I should have just kept my mouth shut? WHY do I always have to talk to strangers? Why couldn’t I just ignore him? (I wanted to shift focus away from me.)

Most importantly, why can’t I just let it go?  Why do I dwell on it?  Why not remember the half dozen times someone told me they valued me?  And isn’t this experience a perfect metaphor for life as a woman?

As women, I find we are always more likely to believe and retain the ugly we encounter infrequently as opposed to the, hopefully, beauty that surrounds us.  What can we do?  How do we break the cycle?

See y'all later!
Amanda

About Amanda Henson

Amanda is a southern belle caffeine addict who spends her tiny amount of free time writing here.

7 comments

  1. Oh babe. Why didn’t you tell me?

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this, however his problem wasn’t you. His problem is him. It’s not you.

    Finally, it’s easier to dwell on the negative. We believe it more than we can believe the good. It plays on our subconcious and doesn’t leave us alone.

    I love you, just as you are. As do many others. The next time you hear those thoughts of some random asshole in a hotel, just remember, he doesn’t have what you have. The love of us. And that love is stonger than his words could ever be.

  2. tonight I to encounter the ugly and I didn’t have a choice but to let it go it was directed at me and how I am so free to let the kids talk to me like they too are grown up instead of the I am an adult and you are the child manner.

    it came with the stipulation attached off I don’t mean to be mean and I’m not trying to offend you but… at the beginning. except it didn’t send and it was mean and my daughter heard it my brother heard it my cousin and I sat there and had no choice but to let it be said and it is going to stay with me rest of the strip until I can get home and not have to look at that person for quite a while.

    I don’t know why the ugly sticks with us more than the good. I wish I did because if I did know then maybe I would have said something tonight that would have been the right thing to stop this person from emarassing me, offending me and hurting my feelings and making me seem like I am a bad mother which I know that I am NOT.

    but the only thing that I can say is that mean people suck.

  3. I always obsess over the things I said and whether they were stupid or inappropriate. SOmetimes I actually have to force those thoughts out of my brain!

  4. I totally get it! I am sorry! I replay things in my head over and over all the time. I don’t understand it, I can’t explain it. I am sorry. You are valued and beautiful!

  5. If he (or she if the roles had been reversed) had called me disgusting, I would have believed him/her.

    You, on the other hand have no right to listen to such nonsense because you’re AWESOME.

    I’d love to be able to give you some perfect advice about how to let the nonsense go, but I can’t because I’m terrible at it myself….

    But rest assured, what he said was all about him and his problems, not about you and your awesomeness

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