This has two meanings; one is sweet, and one gives me pause.
First, Copernicus believed the sun revolves around the earth and so as Daddy’s Little Girl, he tells me I’m his sunshine … and his world revolves around me (and of course my siblings and my mom).
Even at 29, I think he still sees me as the four-year old in pig-tails; the two-year old (ok, 5, 10, 12-yr old) dancing on his feet to Sting’s “They Dance Alone.”
But also, he teases me I’m “Copernicus” because, as a Type-A first-born, I seem to think the world revolves around me — or at the very least, should.
In fact, it’s sort of become a family joke, at how I can be a little … vain, selfish … at times. I realize this sounds negative, but anyone reading this who knows my family, and especially my dad, knows would never say anything to hurt anyone — least of all me, his “Jewish Muffin” — and also that my parents raised three headstrong, very confident kiddos …
It’s true, I was pretty selfish when I was little with my toys, with Halloween candy, with books … Let’s be honest, when you have two younger (“annoying”) siblings who like to get in your stuff, it was hard sometimes to want to share. That obviously changed as we got older, but still. I’ve never been much of a “giver” when it comes to sharing with my siblings — sorry, M & H!
And I can be self-absorbed even when I don’t want to be, usually about my hair or body. It got way worse after losing weight; my “vanity” shot through the roof. There I’d be, standing in front of the mirror, primping, prodding … changing outfits three times because I don’t love how my hips or thighs look, or turning around in the mirror to see how great my butt looked in a pair of new jeans — it all depended on the day.
And if I’m having a bad hair day … oy! Even now, my dad will call and ask, “How’s Lissa’s hair today?” Because, well, he is married to my mom (who has similar hair angst as me), and he knows what a bad hair day means for either of us.
He knows I’m a talker, and like to have center stage; love an audience. So when our whole immediate family is together (like next week, we will be), it’s truly hard to get a word in edge-wise among us. My mom, brother, sister and I are all very opinionated — it’s my dad who is the quiet one, the one who absorbs.
(My husband is similar to my dad in that sense; he knows I get fired up about things in the instant, and he reflects on the topic at hand and then opines).
It’s embarassing to me now, but when I was a teenager, if someone was talking to my siblings, I subconsciously always seemed to find a way to turn the conversation back to me — regardless of the topic.
It’s not something I did deliberately, but something I’ve become more aware of in recent years. Part of it is because my anxious mind is going a mile a minute and in my head, I’m making connections, logical ones — even if no one else is following my train of thought.
(This is probably why my beloved high school crew implemented the “10 Second Rule” for me — think 10 seconds before speaking!)
Though never attention-starved as a child (I had plenty of love and adulation growing up — perhaps too much?!), I still always sought approval/feedback from others — which in my later years could come across as being insecure or, worse, egomaniacal.
As I got older, when a friend or loved one would share a problem, my intuition immediately would lead me to empathy: which usually meant relating to their dilemma with something I’ve experienced in the past and trying to help them through it.
This was never consciously meant to one-up someone or dismiss the other person’s pain, but rather to acknowledge that I, too, understand or can empathize with how they’re feeling. But sometimes I fear that my empathetic ways may have come across wrong.
Now that I’m blogging, I get many personal e-mails from you — my blog readers — and in re-reading them I catch myself saying a lot of “I” and “me” in my messages (of course, after it’s been sent).
The truth is, I feel hyper-aware of my selfishness now.
The irony of it all is that my blog is, by its very nature, self-indulgent. It’s about me and my recovery and how I can help others who are facing similar challenges … but at its root, it’s still a pretty selfish undertaking.
I don’t think it’s bad to be self-absorbed to some extent. No one can carve out time for you, but you. Personal space, alone time is sacred. Especially because someday I hope to be a mom and I know that with that new territory will be the need to relinquish a lot of my alone-time and personal space for someone else.
To have another priority besides me. So we might as well enjoy the time we have now to hit the gym when we please, grocery shop for things we like, run to the mall on a whim, head to Chicago for a weekend … because all of that will change.
And when the time comes, I want to be as ready as I can be.
So until I can figure out a better balance between self-absorbed and taking primo care of myself, you can make like my dad and call me Copernicus.
How about you? Do you think you’re a selfish person? Did weight loss have anything to do with building up your sense of self?