Understanding The Thoughts Of Others
I’ve always worried what people think about me. I shouldn’t, I know, but I do. It’s funny, because it’s taken me until recently to see that what people see isn’t necessarily what I expect them to see.
So, a few weeks ago I was talking to one of the guys who works with us about how things can go wrong. It was a totally innocent conversation which started around the subject of machinery but ended up with him telling me how he had discovered an old coworker was drinking on the job. He clearly didn’t know about my history, because if he did, he wouldn’t have been speaking the way he was. He’s a lovely guy, so I know he didn’t mean anything against me. He told me how the other person’s behaviour changed every day after lunch and that it became more noticeable the more time he worked with them. The behaviour got worse and his attitude snappier. My colleague was increasingly worried and one day heard a noise like the clinking of glass from his rucksack. I believe at this point it was decided that a confrontation was needed and it turned out the person was drinking three bottles of wine over the course of the afternoon, two at lunchtime and one throughout the remainder of the day. My colleague was shocked at how much the other person was drinking. I on the other hand could relate, because although I’d never drank in the day, and certainly not at work, it was a similar amount to what I used to drink.
I’m so used to assuming people think the worst of me because of my drinking, so it was really lovely to see that it isn’t actually that obvious to people I haven’t told. I don’t generally tell people I work with. Well, one knows because he was there when I was struggling and I didn’t want him to think I was nuts. I felt it was fair to tell him, but I don’t like to broadcast it. Apparently though, and to my surprise, it isn’t actually something that everyone sees.
Another thing I used to be very self conscious about was my recycling. I hated the noise it made when the men tipped it into the van early on a Monday morning. In the end I used to take it to a recycling bank so it was quieter and more discreet. Recently, both Lee and I have spoken to one set of our neighbours separately. On both occasions we were invited to the pub with them. I told them I didn’t drink, but they didn’t really take me seriously. I think they thought I meant I didn’t drink a lot. I tried to convince them, but I didn’t want it to be weird and I didn’t want to say why, which in hindsight seems silly. When Lee was invited he said the same and although I wasn’t there, I was told they laughed and said we put out a lot of glass recycling for people who don’t drink. Now, they were probably joking but it touched a little nerve with me. It’s funny to think before when I put out a lot of recycling and was self conscious, no one noticed and now I don’t drink, and ironically, seldom put glass out, people think I do.
I know I tell all of you who read this about everything, but I don’t feel the need to advertise it to everyone else. A lot of people still don’t understand, and so this isn’t for them. My addiction took over and defined me for a long time. It’s nice to feel that it doesn’t anymore. It’s made me who I am, or at least contributed to it, and in some ways looking back I’m glad. It’s been a funny and difficult few years, but I’d rather be the person I am now than the person I was then any day!