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.
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!