This week's Five Minute Friday prompt hit me with an unexpected wave of memories and feelings... so it's a bit longer of a passionate outpouring than I've done up to this point.
"She's such a flirt." I froze in my tracks, just around the corner from the speaker. As I listened, petrified, I realized that the "she" they were referring to was me, and the action that had earned me that label was reaching out in kindness to a social outcast that they had disdained. Friendless myself, I was drawn to others who had no friends.
"She's just so..." long pause and a heavy, martyred sigh. My roommate started guiltily when I walked into the room, nearly dropping her phone. I decided not to make dinner just yet and walked through the kitchen and out the back door. I was the topic of that conversation - and of many others - and that summer tipped me over the edge of a depression I'd been approaching for awhile.
"She thinks she's better than everyone else." A passive-aggressive anonymous complaint Facebook status had led to a long comment conversation. Apparently my calm independence in a recent situation in which I had politely declined assistance was taken as an insult - but not enough of one to confront me personally about.
"She's embraced it - diving in like she was going to be here forever, making friends and doing things!" I was amazed to hear a new friend speaking so excitedly of me to my boyfriend - no, fiance, he'd proposed the day before - and gladdened, since I felt somewhat like an impostor into their circle (a feeling generated by my own insecurity, and not through any action of theirs).
"She's encouraging to others - and it inspires me!" Another comment conversation, but one that chose to name me, and to make my day. Up to that point, it had been a rough day, but I went on from there happier.
"She's actually amazing, but she's being modest. See, what she does is..." I stood by, slightly embarrassed, as my husband glowingly described my area of passion in a level of detail that kind of surprised me. But it wasn't the first time he'd done that - asked what I do and I'll often give the short answer and change the subject. But he seems to revel in opportunities to lift me up.
She... such an impersonal, innocent little pronoun. But it can have a lasting impact on the noun you're referring to! I need to remember to make my speech uplifting even when I don't think "she"ll hear me - and be intentional about being positive to her face.