I am not worthy. Are you?
I just wanted the option for Sirius Radio.
Renting a car in Billings, MT and driving for 3 hours to the middle of nowhere Montana to consult with a rural hospital, I considered having satellite radio (almost) a necessity.
“The only cars we have with Sirius are Cameros.” the agent says. Camaros? I am not really a Camaro kind of gal and I already feel a little uncomfortable. However, my desire for the music overrides my uncomfortable-ness.
“Fine, I will take the Camaro.”
“Hard top or convertible?” she asks.
“Hard top is fine.”
While she is in the back room getting the keys I wonder when else I will ever have the opportunity to drive a car like this – I can’t find an answer.
“Excuse me,” I shout in her general direction, “can I have the convertible?”
“Sure. Black, silver or red?” she offers. Well, if we are going to do it, we may as well do it – I quickly decide. “RED!”
Secretly I chuckle to myself. The last time I rented a car here, I brought it back scraped. I am surprised they are letting me have any type of car, never mind a shiny, brand new, cherry-red Camaro convertible! I thought they might send me over to the Rent-a-Wreck counter.
When I see the car, I feel a rush of embarrassment. I am certain I am too old and too brunette to be driving this car.
Too late, for the next three days, it’s mine. I squish my suitcase into the teeny-tiny trunk, put the top down and I am off.
Surprisingly, I love this car. It’s fun. It’s fast. It reminds me of my younger days driving a motorcycle (ok, it was a Scooter, but it was motorcycle-like!). I love the wind blowing my hair into a mess, I love the way the speed I’m going and the song titles are projected onto the windshield, I love the lines and the curves and the contours of this car and I love having the top down. Even when it gets cooler in the evening, I just turn the heat on, there is no way I’m putting the top back up. I love the feeling of driving this automobile. I feel like everyone is looking at me, thinking that I must be ‘successful’ because I am driving this puppy.
Then, I hate this car. It’s flashy. It’s pretentious. It reminds me of middle-aged people going through a mid-life crisis. I feel like everyone is looking at me, judging me to be a shallow, pompous woman.
I think, who am I to be driving a car like this? I am not worthy of this car.
I want to blend in and not be noticed but in rural Montana, with cattle ranches lining both sides of the highways and the vehicle of choice being pick-up trucks, I stick out like a – well, I stick out like a red Camaro convertible in rural Montana. I want to post a sign that says, “It’s not mine, it’s just a rental.” As if somehow that will make people judge me differently.
Do you ever want to blend in, hide in the shadows, do you ever feel unworthy? Unworthy of the compliment, the promotion, the accolades, the attention, fill in your blank here.
You’d think since I speak in front of people for a living that being noticed would not be a worry – but you’d be wrong. Mostly I would like to blend in, be one of the crowd, and drive a plain, beige car that ‘suits’ me. Mostly, I would like to be a non-tattooed, non-body pierced, mousy brunette that no one looks at twice. That’s comfortable for me.
I wonder when I decided that I would wear black pants, sensible shoes and conservative tops? I wonder when I decided that bright lipstick, chunky jewelry and bling (a word my teenage daughter has told me that I am too old to use) were not for me? I wonder when I decided that cherry-red Camaro convertibles were not for me? I must remain unremarkable.
Even though I really love the thought of red-soled Jimmie Chu shoes – what would people think of me if I actually got them? Would they think I have too much money, would they think I was trying to impress someone, would they think …
Yes, if I wear red lipstick, red-soled Jimmy Chu pumps and drive a cherry-red Camaro, people will judge me. And if I wear lip gloss, sensible shoes and drive a beige sedan people will judge me, as well.
They will judge you, too.
It seems I am unhappy to be judged as a failure but equally worried about being judged a success. Weird, eh?
What about you? Do you feel comfortable standing out? Do you feel embarrassed to have too much, not enough or both. We human beings are complex creatures.
I offer no magic fix, just the observation. It’s some consolation for me that I know I am not the only one that suffers this “fear of failure and success” malady.
The best I can offer both you and myself for this affliction is to acknowledge the feelings that come your way. Accept them, say to yourself, “that’s interesting and thanks for sharing.” The next best thing I can offer is to notice when we are negatively judging others and to challenge ourselves to flip the switch to say something positive instead.
Know that you are not bound, tied or contracted to carry on this way of thinking. Every time it happens we have an opportunity to change the MP3 file going on in our head, we can re-program our thoughts and do little things that will help us create a mindset that is totally comfortable with Uncommon Success.
The three days passed quickly and soon I was returning my little prize. The girl at the counter remembers me and asks if I enjoyed the car. I answer by booking it for my next trip – now I just need to find a sale on Jimmy Chu shoes!
If you have had a similar experience I would love to hear your story.
Best of the best to you for the second half of 2012!
PS – Today, the very day I wrote this post, a book popped off the bookstore shelf at me. I randomly opened the book and the chapter was called, “Always Choose the Red Convertible.” Too funny, so of course, I had to buy that book.