Friday, January 7, 2011


One of the first things I remember being told as a 2nd Lt was that "perception is reality." That one sentence became my reality.

Looking back, I think I was way too worried about how other people may have perceived anything I said or did. It's easy to look back and see how we may have done things different. What's not so easy is thinking about what we may have missed out on due to the decisions we made.

I realize now that most people probably didn't even pay attention to things I said or did. If they did, it surely wasn't with as much attention as I feared. People are usually pretty self-involved and don't pay attention to things other than themselves.

I was so worried that as a single, female, maintenance officer, I couldn't show any weakness. I had to work harder, longer, better than everyone else or they would pounce. Really, what would anyone have done if I had screwed up? Usually, you got yelled at a bit and then everyone moved on - provided you didn't screw up again. I didn't want people to see or think that I didn't belong or that I didn't know what I was doing. If they saw weakness then the perception was (so I thought) that I was in over my head. Or that where there is one weakness, there are more...all they had to do was keep looking and they would see the cracks behind the facade.

I guess I was pretty self-centered myself thinking that everyone was watching me or waiting for me to screw up. I didn't treat others like that (even if they had screwed up) so why did I think people would be expecting, even waiting, for me to screw up?

Probably in the end, it was because I myself had the perception that I didn't belong. That I was a fraud. That if anyone took the time to really look at me, they would see the cracks in the foundation and my world would crumble and everything I knew and had worked for would fall apart.

I guess thinking about perception as reality is good to a certain extent. It helps you to trust your gut if you perceive that something is off or not right in a situation or with a person. However, living your life thinking, wondering and worrying about what other people think about your reality is like forcing yourself to live half a life.

It's something that I can see now, and can only hope that the half-life I've lived is over and I can now life my full life.

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