Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Do You Really Mean That?

I've been feeling quite nostalgic lately and I wanted to write about something from my past but every time I start pulling out memories I come up with things like this:

In kindergarten on Valentine's day my dearly beloved teacher (I really did think she was an angel) took us to the back of the room one at a time while everyone was coloring to help us "deliver" our Valentines to the correct little mailbox that we'd made a few days before and which now sat on the counter in the back. (can you say RUN-ON?)  We delivered all of mine and my teacher got very upset and started yelling at me, "What?  That's only 13.  Where are the rest of your Valentines?  How do you think those kids will feel who don't get a Valentine from you!?!  You HAVE to bring a Valentine for EVERY child!"  This rang through the entire, silent classroom.  

I'm pretty sure not ONE of the kids who didn't get a Valentine from me felt 1/100th as bad as I did after that.

Or this one:

On my first date at Ricks College, after a fun Hawaiian themed dinner, I went with a few couples to one of the empty buildings in the evening and we had some kind of race or scavenger hunt around the building (maybe it was hide and seek or something)  in three-legged form.  As in, my right leg was tied to the left leg of this guy that I really liked but hardly knew at all and we ran around the building up and down stairs etc.  For me at that point anything extremely hilarious + kind of embarrassing =ed disaster.  I peed my pants.  I pretended like I hadn't and when we all met up at the end I announced that I needed to go home for a second, and told my friend aside what had happened.

I ran home to change my clothes so we could go to get ice cream for the next part of the date.  While I was there the phone rang.  It was my dad.  He asked how I was doing and I told him that I was in the middle of this awesome date, except I was at home now changing my clothes because of this embarrassing happening.  He laughed and said, "It sounds like you're having a good time."  Then he tried his best to transition smoothly into giving me the news that my grandpa had just died.  My first grandparent to go.  

That was pretty bad.  And then when all of the people in our date group came to the apartment I learned that they all knew about my accident (Thanks Melissa!  Actually, I wasn't too embarrassed, since I'm really practical like that.  Who cares, right?)  For some weird reason I decided to go get ice cream with them anyway.  It was a bad idea because I sort of put a damper on everything.  My date totally endeared himself to me, though with his super awesome concern etc.  He was (and I'm sure still is) a really neat guy.

So, yeah.  That's why I'm not writing about things from my past today.  (Oh, wait. . . Whatever.)

Instead I'll write about something else I've been planning to write for a long time. COMPLIMENTS!!  

Do you have compliments from your past that stick in your mind.  Do you ever pull them out when you need a little boost?  Can you think of a few that really stand out?  

I can!   (I'm such a dork)

I'm going to share some of mine with you, and then I would LOVE to hear some of yours in the comments if you'll share.  If not (in which case: why not!?!) I encourage you to think about them for yourself at least, anyway.  Here they are, on subjects that I think we all get compliments on.

On Physical Appearance:  

Senior year of high school.  I came home for lunch before rushing off to work as always.  My mother was home alone, as usual, but she had a woman from our ward there working on her hair.  This woman was a beautician and her sister was a model and they were both sort of in the business.  When I came into the room she said, "Wow!  Have you ever thought about going into modeling?"  My mother responded with, "Oh, because of her long legs and slender frame?"  and the lady said, "Well, I was thinking mostly because of her eyes and teeth!"  (I was such a teenager to let this stick with me for so long)

On  Brains:

I had said something about how dumb I was (I don't do this anymore) and a friend leaned over to 2 year old Ewelina and said, "I'd love to be as dumb as your mom!"

And once when we were dating Greg said something about how you could tell that I was smart by how I spoke or something.  I had sort of thought of myself as a dumb blonde for some years, I think.

On Sense of Humor:

"You are a funny, funny girl."  Repeated often by the roommate that I most admired for how hilarious she was (is).

On Polish Language Skills:

This is two days ago:  "Sister Pawlik, you're a stud!"  (um, thanks?) This from a missionary after the meeting wherein I had shared my testimony.  He told me that he couldn't even understand half of what I said (he's been in Poland for like 4 months)  I assured him that none of the Poles could understand what I said either.  

So you see how easy I am to please.  Now tell me why YOU'RE so awesome.  (as if I don't already know)  Maybe yours will be less superficial than mine.  Maybe it is something you overheard someone saying about you (those are the best compliments, the ones you're not intended to hear).  Just tell me something! (please)  


Kazzy said...

Yipes, this is a tough one. The thing I have felt the most comfortable about in my life (esp my adult life) has been my ability to communicate. I have been complimented on my teaching and public speaking. If someone happens to think I am cute (besides hubby who is very generous with comments about how I "still got it"- but I am not counting his compliments), then that is a bonus. But for where I am now in my life I want to be known for other things. So I am pleased.

McEwens said...

Too funny on peeing your pants!!!

I had one yesterday... a lady said, you are a real woman. I am still trying to figure it out, but knew it is heart felt!

MelancholySmile said...

I'm so glad that I'm not the only one to file away all the nice things that have been said to/about me to lift out and dust off when the need arises. :) I was an extremely self-conscious teen. Awkward, skinny, sheltered, and undiagnosed with depression. I remember taking a trip to Utah once, and while I was at a cashier somewhere on the BYU campus, this really cute college guy kept talking to me. I have no idea what he said, just that I was so embarrassed to be singled out. I was convinced that he knew I was too young to be there and was making fun of me. Later, my mom {who had hung silently on the periphery of the whole thing} asked why I hadn't flirted back with him. FLIRTED?! She then gave me my first lesson in flirting and tried to train me to notice the difference in flirting and being made fun of. I still kinda smile to think that he might have actually been interested in me. Um, wow.

I also remember every single time anyone has ever said, "You look nice today!" or "You have such a way with words!" or "You handled that well!" There are certain people that I simply gravitate towards when I'm feeling down, because they seem to have a way of saying nice things with such sincerity in their voice. :)

CaJoh said...

I like the idea of pulling out those compliments you got in the past. I admit that I am usually the one giving complements and never remember the ones I get enough to do that exercise. I'll have to remember more of them now.

Erin said...

I never had any misconceptions that my Kindergarten teacher was an angel. I don't know why I hated kindergarten so much, but one of my only memories is of her trying to drag me in from recess and I was flailing and screaming. It is sad that sometimes it is the traumatic incidents that stick with you.

I always try to give my kids unintended compliments that they will overhear, like when I am talking to someone on the phone. Otherwise they might not believe me because I am so biased.

Lara said...

I admit that if I get an email or a card or something that makes my day, I totally file it away to look at later.

Compliments, I don't do so well with....like the kind people say to your face. I have learned to be more gracious, but usually I'm just horribly embarrassed. And the ones about how well I sing mean absolutely nothing to me, generally. Which I need to get over. I have issues about only being noticed for that one thing.

So the biggest compliment I have ever received and will always remember was from my mission AP the night before I went home. We were sitting in the mission office and he said how when I first came to the MTC (He was a month ahead of me) and sang a hymn next to him, he thought "Wow, what a talented sister." But after serving with me for 18 months he learned I had other, more important talents, and then he listed a bunch he had noticed. Seriously one of the only times in my life someone has ever looked past the singing voice and I'll forever appreciate it.

Josi said...

This is a great post--I might copy this idea next week--I'll be sure to give you credit though.

a few weeks ago I was talking with a couple women before Relief Society started. One of them is very intimidating to me--she's a brilliant teacher, the high school debate coach and just all around smart and powerful. We were chatting and I said something like "Now, I'm not that smart, but I do know . . . " she slapped the other lady we were talking with on the shoulder and said "Did you hear what she just said?" then she looked at me and said "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, you're one of the smartest women I know."

This completely flustered and embarrassed me, and yet I knew that she meant it. Which made me look at myself and despite all my mental deficiencies I realized that I have become 'smart'. I know a lot of things, I have a good world view, and I like to learn and to teach. I had never looked at myself that way--always seeing myself as the C student that felt a step behind everyone else and was thrilled to run away from her college dreams when the opportunity arose--and her sincerity in the comment truly opened a new perspective on myself that 'fit', ya know?

Melissa said...

My boyfriend in high school once told me that he liked me more than George Bush (the first one). And that was saying a lot. I've also been told by more than one guy that I have a "light" about me. And a little old lady in the temple told me that, too. Not sure that's true all the time, but it was nice to hear it at the time.

Becky said...

Whew! So glad you didn't share those memories with us. That could have been really embarrassing!!

As for the compliments that made an impression, I actually have quite a few - can I just steal this idea and use it for a post? (Ha! As if you could stop me!! But seriously, can I?)

Carlynn said...

I always had felt very ugly growing up and was jealous of Lisa and Ann and Sue as well as my own sister. All I ever remember hearing was how horribly skinny I was.

Out of the blue at the cash register of a store I walked to as a kid this lady told me I had the most beautiful smile and that I should smile more often. This really floored me. Me, have a beautiful smile? Wow! I remember smiling alot more after that.

I think compliments are a great thing...and I try to give them as often as I can. Especially to kids.

Barbaloot said...

Oh-those memories were fun/embarrassing. Good thing you're practical enough to waive off the date one:)

As far as compliments...my mom keeps saying "I didn't know you were such a good writer" after reading my blog. That's a compliment, right?
Probly ones that stick out the most are after teaching RS. I hate/fear teaching...but when people thank me or compliment me afterward it really makes me feel good.

Kimberly said...

I get complimented on my eyes a lot. I even had a guy sing "Brown Eyed Girl" at me once. Blushed like mad but have always remembered.

Plus, I save my favourite blog comments in one of my email folders. I figure I'll read them if I ever have a nervous breakdown or something.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I just typed this huge comment and then there was some internet error and it got lost, so I'll give you the totally cheapened version of the story that makes me sound like the town floozy: One time after I kissed a guy, he said "Wow. Andy said you were a good kisser and he was right!" I had really only kissed like three people in my whole life, and I LOVED that compliment. Dumb and unimportant? yes. But it made me feel awesome.

Erin said...

When I was a Beehive, we passed around a piece of paper with each person's name on it (one for each person.) We wrote what we liked about that person on the paper. I still have mine. They mostly said my hair was pretty, which I have chopped off now, but it meant so much to me back then that I have always kept it.

Melanie J said...

Someone once told me I had nice eyebrows when I was 13 and that one stuck with me. And after I stepped in to sub last minute in Gospel and Doctrine (yikes!) on Sunday, the new Sunday School president came up to me and said, "Wow! You are such a good teacher. I wish we could have you permanently," and that made me feel good.

Anne said...

Okay, Carlynn, THAT'S a funny coment coming from a model-looking person!

I overheard a compliment at my friend's house last Sunday. I didn't want the 4 little boys eating with us in the dining room (I prefer to eat this way). So I told them they would get to eat on the floor in the kitchen and we'd turn out the light and pretend they were camping. Of course, they were thrilled. After making a "fire" and settling them down. I heard one of the teenagers at the dining table say "Anne is so creative!"

Alison Wonderland said...

When I was in Junior high I was in a chior that had about 40 girls and 7 or 8 guys. At one concert while we were singing a female only song the chior director had the boys sit on the top row of the bleacher things we were standing on so thier eyes were level with our rear ends (Why would the teacher of a bunch of 13 yr old boys do that?!!) But one of the boys said that I had the best butt.

Abra said...

I'm not sure if it's your post, or the song I'm listening to or a combo of both but I am crying right now... You write so beautifully :)

Mrs4444 said...

I will never forget the time that I was reliving a Christmas moment from my child hood, sharing it with my boyfriend (the now Mr.4444), and he just looked at me with such love in his eyes and told me that I was so charming. That memory chokes me up a little bit right now; so sweet.

Heidi Ashworth said...

I was one who always had a hard time taking a compliment graciously. I hated it yet I was so insecure I desperately wanted them, too. Being number 6 of 7 girls and the second born identical twin, to boot, I had issues. Still do. Anyway, I have often thought about writing down the compliments that have meant the most to me and look at them when I am feeling down but then I always think that it's kind of lame to do that so I don't. Nice, huh? One that comes to mind was when I was in the young adult ward and I was a RS teacher. One week we decided to switch teachers and so I taught Priesthood (and their teacher taught RS). Afterwards, one of the guys came up to me and asked, "Can you teach our class every week?" He was totally sincere. It was so cute.

Becky said...

Your three-legged race date memory ending in learning your grandfather had died was so sad--what a crazy night.

As for compliments, I wish I were better at giving them. I think it is a great skill to have to be able to compliment someone in a sincere manner.

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

This was such a fun post to read, Lisa! I really enjoyed it. Although I have to say I wanted to get in a time machine and smack your kindergarten teacher. You had me chuckling about you peeing your pants, too.

Compliments...hmmm. I'm blessed to have always been surrounded by people generous with compliments. The other week one of the owners of the company I work for said as I walked up to him, "That's the kind of smile I want on everyone working for me."