I'm sorry, but is my sparkle blinding you today?
I'll admit, over the course of my life, there has always been that one female in a social group or a co-worker trying to bring me down. My problem, they suggest, is that I smile too much, look too enthused, I'm not taking my job seriously. It makes me sick, to be honest. These haters just won't leave me alone.
Like an epidemic, they come out in droves occasionally. Ever notice when you're doing well -- REALLY, REALLY WELL -- that's when a Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer tries to rain on your parade.
There's this one girl in my circle of friends (I'll call her Andrea, just to save myself a backlash). She dotes on me sometimes, seems to be really into me. Messages or calls out of the blue. Claims to show "empathy" if I have a bad day. But when I'm on a winning streak with Keno or my love life is STELLAR, she is nowhere to be found. She sometimes goes two months not talking to me. Hides in her cave. Shuts me out. It's cruel and revolting. I pretend to be neutral. I'd just cut her lose, to save myself the hassle. But you see, I have an obligation to her. She pulled a suicide card on me. She's also linked to my immediate circle. She makes me feel bad about her life, how everyone around her is doing so well, rolling in money, etc etc and she is stuck in the same spot. I can't help her. Really, I can't. She doesn't want my help. She just wants to vent, complain, dump on me.
Energy vampire, that's the terminology for 2015. It's the trendy way of saying Narcissistic Sociopath.
As the title of this blog suggests, I still refuse to dull my sparkle so this person can feel less bad about herself. I'm keeping my basket of glitter. In fact, I have an airplane full of glitter, ready to drop from the sky. I hate that people try to make me look DULL, lackluster, like an old penny, littered on the ground. Its value is next to nil.
My entire growing up years, my mother made me feel small. Powerless. She silenced me. As a teen and in my early 20's, she said my neckline was too low, or if I walked alone in my small bedroom town after 9:00 p.m., people would mistake me for a "street walker." Ironically, I was a virgin til almost 21 and married the guy. In later years, I suffered hypothyroidism, and gained some weight. Regardless of the protein diets, vegetarian diets, healthy shakes, 3 power walks/runs a day and 4L of water, I still couldn't lose a pound.
The abuse got worse then. In my thirties, she told me I was fat, meaning I was not pretty enough, and I needed to look and act like this 6 foot tall, statuesque blonde named Jackie. "Why can't you marry into money like Barb's daughter? Can't you lose 40 pounds and find a good man like Jackie did?"
"Oh, she's so beautiful! She's so thin. She's a successful school teacher. Why don't you apply for a high paying job?"
Body shaming? Don't ever do this to your daughter. It's heartless, cruel, and degrading. It makes them have eating disorders and waste away to a bone rack. No REAL MOTHER would reduce their daughter to this.
Naively, I thought there was something wrong with me. Until I saw my mother go on another crash diet, aka "30 day juice fast" to lose 30 lbs and look "slim, just like in high school when I was a size 6/7," she would proudly chant. Upon losing the weight (and these diets went on for 30 years) she would parade around in a new outfit and rub it in my face at how I'd somehow failed in the beauty department. But then in 2011, she had a gall bladder attack and was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. I guess I was right about those dangerous diets catching up to her. She could've lost her life. Scary, right?
Another time, I served meals at a retirement home. This was a good gig. There was 130 seniors who experienced my smile, my cheerful banter, and most were close to death at any moment. I made their remaining years worthwhile. Some girl I'll call "Terri," just 18, wore a scowl everyday to work. She must've had a rough life, running to daddy all the time for cash handouts. She had a great body, half decent looks, and planned to go to University in Italy that Fall. Still, she was a miserable wench. She snapped under her breath, watching me entertain the residents, "I hate Rochelle!" By the end of Summer, she'd quit early, handing me her remaining shifts. At the time, I had no idea what I'd done to make her hate me. After all, I loved all the girls I worked with. I was 28, working alongside girls age 17 and 18, but they all liked me and cracked jokes. Many knew they could phone me and drop their shifts on me, if they had last minute party plans or an invite to some cottage. I was Miss Reliable. In later years, I reflect on this nasty person, and summed it up to this: she just hated her life. She hated herself. There was nothing I could do about it.
Moral of the story: since I've experienced females trying to body shame me or restrict my sparkle to No Man's Land, my outlook has changed. I refuse to let anyone diminish me to a speck of dirt.
Do I make you feel uncomfortable? Well, then, that's too bad. Learn to deal with it. And get some professional help. No one has the right to belittle another human and make them feel like garbage.
"She writes romance novels and publishes them? Who does she think she is, Danielle Steel?"
I laugh now, at some of the slander that has boomerang'd back to me. I'm not doing anything wrong, just following my heart's desire, and doing what I love. These people don't like the new and improved Rochelle? Well, stick it. Cause I'm not going anywhere.
Word to the wise: Never let someone dull your sparkle. Keep on shining, no matter what. Yes, there will be tough times. There will be haters. People who can't handle your megawatt smile and positive vibes. That's okay. Keep up the summer glow, the ray of sunshine, that beacon streaming from you. This hurting world needs more of you. Believe me.
Cheering you on. Always.
xo RR xo