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Diagnosis by Sharon Olds

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“Diagnosis”

By the time I was six months old, she knew something
was wrong with me. I got looks on my face
she had not seen on any child
in the family, or the extended family,
or the neighborhood. My mother took me in
to the pediatrician with the kind hands,
a doctor with a name like a suit size for a wheel:
Hub Long. My mom did not tell him
what she thought in truth, that I was Possessed.
It was just these strange looks on my face—
he held me, and conversed with me,
chatting as one does with a baby, and my mother
said, She’s doing it now! Look!
She’s doing it now! and the doctor said,
What your daughter has
is called a sense
of humor. Ohhh, she said, and took me
back to the house where that sense would be tested
and found to be incurable.

“Diagnosis” by Sharon Olds, from One Secret Thing. © Random House, Inc., 2009.

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I Don’t Know Why They Say Things About Me

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Most of the time, I try not to hurt people. For the most part I keep to myself.  So why do “they” say negative things about me?

I pasted and copied this list from the “Thought Catalog.”

1. People have an incredible propensity to hold within them a beast of jealousy that, now again, they cannot control. The things that unleash this monster are what they don’t have and can’t be. They will try to devalue you by any means possible. It’s best to just take it as an indicator that you have something worth having or you are someone worth envying.  Why would anyone be jealous of me? I’m poor, and drive an old car. 

2. The only effect it can have on you is however much you let yourself believe it’s true. The opinions of others only change you if you let them. If you weren’t somehow made aware of them, you’d have no idea anyway. You cannot, and will never be able to control how other people think, feel or behave. Nor should you try. You can, however, decide to what extent you are going to let them change who you are.   Sigh. I’m trying. For some reason what people say continues to upset me.

3. The only person something needs to matter to is you. If it is in your life, and you are the person who is choosing to experience, live or attempt it, it is not the concern of anyone else. I know it’s difficult when people are firing insults at you and it’s really hurting, but this, my friends, is just life.  I think this happens to me much more than others.

4. We tend to take one thing someone says and spiral, assuming the absolute worst about ourselves. Don’t go down the rabbit hole.  I’m in a rabbit hole? How do I climb out?

5. They’re criticizing themselves more than anything. I’ve found this to be tried and true. The things that irritate us most are the things we like about ourselves. So you have to realize that someone disliking you or having a negative opinion most likely has a lot more to do with them than you. Ok.

6. The idea that you will one day reach a place where you are universally liked and accepted is a delusional fantasy. You have to accept that that will never be reality. More importantly, you have not failed because people have differing opinions about you or something you do. It’s just the fact that you probably assumed otherwise. I can see this is true.

7. It will not matter eventually. Think about the things you struggled with 5 years ago, and now irrelevant they are… if you can even remember them at all. The same concept applies to the future. It’s just a poor use of your energy and will do nothing but compromise the time you have now. I see and agree.

8. Many great people and ideas were harshly criticized and unacknowledged initially. Sometimes you just have to give people some time to catch up. Most people are really put off by change or anything that disrupts the flow they are used to. It’s okay, we all need some adjustment time. That’s what I’ve heard.

9. If someone takes the time to talk about you, or express an opinion about you even when it’s not favorable, you are someone worth talking about. You’ve done something that has gotten their attention. You’re not irrelevant, you’re not worthless. You have, in your own small way, joined the ranks of those who are influential enough to elicit a response from people. Be proud of yourself. Take it as it comes. Don’t apply a connotation to it. Just let it be. I must be special, very special.

10. Nobody who really loves you will love you less if they hear and/or even agree with that opinion. Isn’t that what scares us most? That we’ll lose what we most value in life… in many cases, the love of those who matter? But the people who are worth keeping around will not be affected by other people’s harsh words. They won’t. They’ll love you regardless of flaw or criticism. TC Mark I’m tired of the whole damn thing.

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