A few years after my high school graduation, I ran into someone I went to school with but didn’t know very well. He said, “In high school, I always thought you were a snob.” That floored me. In high school I was a lonely, troubled, insecure girl who would have given anything, anything to have more friends. If anything, I thought everyone else was better than me, not that I was better than anyone else.
Similarly, I once ran into someone I used to go to college with who assumed at the time that I was always stoned out of my mind. Huh? I was so rigidly straight-laced and such a good girl that I probably missed out on a lot of college fun. I was in my own little world, yes, but that was a defense mechanism because I was scared, out of my element, and socially awkward.
I’ve got an ex-boyfriend who likes to post on his Facebook page that I cheated on him when I never did. In retrospect I probably should have. I was that miserable. But I didn’t.
And I once worked with a woman who was convinced I was out to get her when in fact I was simply trying to figure out how to get along with someone who liked to be confrontational for no logical reason. She also thought I didn’t like her because of her race, when in fact I didn’t like her because she was crazy. Race didn’t even enter into the equation for me.
It’s exhausting, being misunderstood. It frustrates me. And once someone has the wrong idea about you in their head, it’s nearly impossible to get it out. Protesting a negative only makes you look worse. When someone says, “I don’t kick puppies,” it makes them look like the worst of puppy kickers. And yes, a puppy kicker would say that, wouldn’t he? But so would someone who is being wrongly accused.
It sure makes you wonder, though, how many people you’ve made inaccurate assumptions about.