What Would People Think?
I used to care deeply what other people thought of me until I realized the one judging me was me.
If I told people about my childhood they would think of me differently. They would think I grew up too fast. They would think I've had a rough life. But you seem so normal. If I told them about the drugs and alcohol in my house they would think I must be a wreck. If they knew about the abuse and neglect they would think I was so fucked up. You seem so together. They would be in disbelief. I didn't know that about you. It would change their opinion of me. They would think I was damaged. That I was broken. Fragile. They would think that I have too much baggage. Have you gone to therapy? Attended Al-Anon? Joined a support group? They wouldn't want to have a relationship with me. They would think I have too many issues. They would think I was different from them. That I didn't fit in. They would think I was playing the victim. They would feel uneasy. They would change the subject. They would think I should be embarrassed. They would say the past is the past. At least it's over now. You can put it all behind you and move on.
If I told people my husband died, they would feel sorry for me. It might even make them uncomfortable. They would have no idea how to behave. They would probably say something stupid. They would think they knew what I needed to hear. You're strong. You'll be okay. It just takes time. You'll be happy again someday. Hang in there. They would probably act differently around me. They would feel like they have to walk on eggshells. You're young. You'll find somebody else. You have to keep going for your son. I bet they wouldn't even want to be around me anymore. They would probably avoid me after a while. Being around me would remind them of someone they lost too. I know how you feel. It's just like my divorce. I was hurting too. Seeing me upset would make them feel awkward. If I talked about him they would think I can't move on. That I haven't accepted that he's gone. They wouldn't want to hear about all my feelings. Then they might have feelings too. They would be afraid to remind me that he died so they would just stay away. They would worry I would fall apart. They would think I should be over it by now.
If people knew he died by suicide they would think he was selfish. That he took the easy way out. He didn't care about anyone else. They would be quick to judge. They would think badly of him. They would be disturbed. They would assume there was a reason. What made him do this? What was he thinking? How could he do this to his son? They would want to know how he did it. They would think he was out of his mind on drugs. They would want to know if I was the one who found him. They would tell me stories about other people who have died the same way. They would act like he had a choice. They would think he made the wrong decision. They would think that he did something wrong. He sinned. He can't go to heaven. He deserved to die. They would be disgusted. He didn't even think about those he was leaving behind. They would think it was my fault. They would blame me. They would think I was a terrible wife. I didn't make him happy. I didn't see that he was suffering. I didn't get him the help he needed. How could you not see this coming? They would think I wasn't enough to make him stay.
If I told people I had anxiety they would think it was all in my head. Just relax. You worry too much. Have a drink. Everything is fine. They would think I could just turn if off. If I told them how much I worried about dying they would laugh. They would think I was making a joke. They would assume I was exaggerating just to be funny. Nothing is going to happen to you. Don't be ridiculous. What on earth would make you think you were going to die? They would roll their eyes. They would think I being dramatic. That I was just trying to get attention. They would think I was too emotional. If I told them about the panic and the PTSD they would think I was unstable. Isn't there medication for that? They would probably think I wasn't as strong as they thought I was. They would think I was helpless. They would think something was wrong with me. That I wasn't normal. They would shake their heads. They would think I was crazy. They would think I was a fucking mess.
If people saw the meltdowns my 10-year-old had they would think he was a spoiled brat. They would think he was overreacting. That he was used to getting his way. What's wrong with him? He needs more discipline. You need to show him who's in charge. They would think a boy shouldn't act that way. They would think he was different. They would think I should put him in his place. Girl, he is playing you. My kid would never get away with that. They would think I was a terrible mom. He's manipulating you. Don't forget you're the boss. They would think I wasn't strict enough. They would think that I was weak. They would think we were dysfunctional. They would think they had all the answers. They would think I needed them to tell me what to do. They would make it sound so easy. You should just... Why don't you... Have you tried... They would think he cried too much. They would think he should man up. That he shouldn't show his feelings. They would think he shouldn't still be grieving this way.
If people knew I was not employed they would think I was entitled. It must be nice. What do you do all day? Isn't your son in school? They would think I was lazy. They would think I was milking the system. They would think I should get a job. Don't you get bored? I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Maybe you could volunteer. If I told them most of my time was spent on self care and personal growth they would think I was self-absorbed. They would think I was a hippie. They would think I was wasting my time. They would be jealous. They would resent me. They would think I should have been doing more. I'm lucky if I even get a shower. I'm so tired. I would love to sit around all day. They would think my life sounds like a vacation. They would think I had it made. How many therapists and life coaches do you need? Don't you want to go back to work? They would want to know about life insurance. They would want know how I spend my money. They would think it was his money. They would think they only reason I have it is because he died. They would think I didn't deserve it. Don't you feel guilty? Aren't you worried you will spend it all? They would think I should save every penny.
If I started dating again, people would think I didn't love him anymore. They would think I was needy. They would think I couldn't be alone. They would think I was over him. That I wanted to move on. Wow. That was fast. Are you sure you're ready? They would think it was too soon. They would think I was selfish. They would think I was trying to replace him. What if it doesn't work out? Aren't you worried about getting hurt? Have you thought about what this could do to your son? Other people might think it was long overdue. It's about time. Get back out there. You can't hold onto him forever. They would think I haven't accepted that he is gone. They would think I am stuck in my grief. They would think I need another person to make me happy. You need to find a father figure for your son. They would think they knew what was best for me. They would mean well. They would want me to be all better. That would make them feel better. They would think they knew what he wanted for me. Brian would want you to be happy.