One of a Kind, Just Like Everyone Else.

Dare To Eat A Peach

Watch out – she’s going to pontificate like she knows something.

(eye roll)

People can face such intense criticism when they go against the grain and bring something into existence which no one has ever seen or experienced before, or do something unique or unconventional.

Maybe sometimes those who criticize and sometimes downright bludgeon you with their opinions and unsolicited advice might have a hard time seeing outside their personal acres because they find what lies beyond the fencing scary and threatening.

In other words, “The Allegory of the Cave” off the album, Where Are My Sandals? Plato’s Greatest Hits.

Can we consider those who do not know us, and those who do know us but do not truly understand us, or are not in alignment with our values and beliefs, to be “in the cave”?

Like their rigid mindset is the cave, and your free spirited or creative mindset is everything outside of the cave. The shadow puppets they see, they mistake for who you are.

If they cannot see your true nature, with all of its light and colors, their criticisms are only hurtful if you buy into what they think about the shadow puppets.

The shadow puppets which they have mistaken for you.

I mean, if they don’t know your heart or your soul, if they don’t get who you are, they’re basically not even talking about you.

They are talking about some shadow puppets on a wall. They are trying to have a say in what shadow puppets do. What they judge is not you, but a distortion of you, some foreign, wrong-feeling you they want you to be.

Hypothetical and intentionally ridiculous example, for entertainment value only, 3 percent salient point content as dictated by law:

Say I have an iron claw.

Maybe I used to have a hand. At first, the iron claw may have been rough to get used to, but now, how about this, I find it to be more useful than the hand was. I can do like, thirty new things because I have an iron claw. (If you question that number, have a look-see at IRON CLAW MONTHLY… I’ll wait…)

And.

Not only do I have all these groovy new iron claw skills, but some people actually find my iron claw to be fine as hell, and they want one of their own, because damn, that claw looks good, I had no idea, did you know that about iron claws, what does she have, an iron claw STYLIST?

So I feel pretty damned good about my iron claw. In my mind, it goes with everything (including the goofy).

But here comes Lucy Van Pelt, and she zeroes right in on that iron claw. Boy, Lucy has something to say, and it’s not, “All right, all right, let’s bob for apples.”

She has – for some unknown reason – given a LOT of thought to my iron claw. Like, she has CATALOGS of opinions, none of them too charitable, about my iron claw. For all I know, she thinks my iron claw knows where Hoffa is.

Why my iron claw is such a concern, I have no idea, and it’s not my business, but still I find it weird because I didn’t give one second of thought to even giving one second of thought about her lack of an iron claw, or her life at all.

You’d think she would have appointments to get to or something, but for some reason my iron claw features quite prominently in her life and Lucy has made time in her busy and cranky-ass schedule to school me on the wrongs of having an iron claw.

So she spills all those iron claw thoughts on me. Mean thoughts, judgmental stuff about how because I have an iron claw, I am a dead-hearted person or don’t clean the lint catcher in the dryer or some other unpardonable sin, and my refusal to get it removed is only proof that she is right.

Does it hurt me? Nope. I know I am not those things with or without my beloved iron claw. Which is shiny red metal and looks like the lobster claw cartoons on those plastic seafood bibs, in case that’s useful.

Just as the innocent man on death row knows better when people keep saying, you killed this person, because that’s a perfectly cromulent comparison.

The innocent man never wavers. He maintains his position, because he knows it to be true, and there is no changing the truth.

It can be denied, avoided, hidden, twisted or misinterpreted… but it can never be truly changed.

I know it’s a very drastic example. But I got to have an iron claw in the story, so I went for it.

Moving along: All that truly matters is the integrity of your own mind, and your opinion of yourself.

Destructive criticism and unsolicited advice are both really someone’s ego fighting to be heard in any way possible whether appropriate or not, because it either has never been heard, or it wants to be heard much more than is reasonable, justified, and desired by its environment.

Emerson said, “For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure.”

Besides Emerson’s Self-Reliance, this post is best summed up by two quotes, both from Eleanor Roosevelt:

“What others think of me is none of my business.”

AND

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

If people give you shit for doing what Cynthia Heimel called “following your own goofy star”, ask yourself: Do the people giving me shit understand me at the most core levels? Or do things I say to them fall flat as their indifference hangs in the air?

If the answers are No and Yes, in that order, they are not qualified to opine.

You wouldn’t take trigonometry advice from someone who struggled with basic math, or juggling advice from someone who couldn’t hold onto a single ball.

Don’t dim your light to fit in or please others. Let it shine bright.

And if it’s so bright that it blinds some people, hold hope their eyes will adjust.