That sounds something I’d say at the start of a self-help group, and in some ways, it is. I don’t think of myself as a person who wears glasses, but I’ve had them since college and wear them for everything from grocery shopping to driving.
But I’ve still never adjusted to them. I don’t know if it’s some bizarre, deeply entrenched notion that glasses aren’t cool, or if it’s just that they irritate the crap out of me. Probably both. When I meet new people or if I see a camera headed my direction, you can bet I’m stashing them in a pocket.
My boss recently hired a nationally-recognized public speaking coach to work with everyone at my day job. I was thrilled, since it’s something I can use both there and when I speak to writing groups.
Midway through our first session, the coach asked me to read a passage from a book I’d brought (Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels, in case you’re wondering). I picked up my glasses and opened the book.
“Wow,” he said. “Why aren’t you doing that all the time?”
“Wearing those glasses. It completely changes your look. For the better,” he added, probably because he saw me cringe. “You’ve got this whole sexy librarian thing going on now.”
He went on to explain how it could benefit me both in my marketing/PR career as well as the romance writing realm, with the glasses lending me a note of seriousness and intellect.
Out of context, this probably sounds like he was trying to get into my pants, but that definitely wasn’t the case. His job was to critique every aspect of how we present ourselves publicly, and that was part of it.
I don’t know why those words from a stranger had such an impact on me, but they did. The whole rest of the day, I caught myself being less self-conscious about the glasses. It’s ridiculous, I know, but certainly not the most ridiculous thing about me.
What is it about comments from strangers that make them so powerful?
Earlier in the week, I got some negative feedback on Making Waves from someone I’ve never met but whose opinion I value a great deal. I won’t lie, it hurt. Two days later, another stranger whose opinion also matters a lot – perhaps more so than the first person – offered gushing, unsolicited praise of the book.
I was on cloud nine.
People often comment that I seem to march to the beat of my own drummer without caring what others think. The former may be true, but the latter? Not so much. I care a lot more than I wish I did. Isn’t that part of becoming a published writer? If we didn’t care about other people seeing and responding to our work, wouldn’t we just hide out in caves and scribble to ourselves in the dark?
Have you ever received feedback from a stranger that impacted you in a good or bad way? Please share.
Oh, and please don’t feel you need to comment on the photo – I’m not fishing for compliments, I swear. I only included it because I went searching for a picture of me with glasses, and out of hundreds of pictures on my desktop, could only find one. Strange, no?