“It’s too cold to exist,” I think as I choose my clothes for the day.
Picking clothes is a struggle for women. What will keep me warm and is comfortable? What layers go with each other — oh look, here’s a sweater I don’t remember wearing at all this winter. Look at this sweater, languishing, when it was so beloved the winter before.
Wearing all black is too dark. I might meet up with friends later, so I need to choose some lively colors. I don’t know if my boyfriend noticed that I try to wear more vibrant colors when I’m with him — pink, orange, brighter blues.
How convenient it must have been for costumers for black-and-white movies.
“It’s too cold to exist,” I ruminate over in my mind. It’s such an odd phrase, and a sentence so plaintive that someone might post on their twitter. Come to think of it, a phrase that an actor might say to set the scene, as they barge into the door, snow tasseling their woolen parka.
As I put on my pants over leggings to fend off this life-shaving cold, I ponder about the phrases that surface in my mind and the phrases that don’t bubble to fruition. Are most of my thoughts defined by the echoes of something scripted that I might think will be said and maybe won’t be said on the screen? Because through the screen there is often an audience two-fold, the audience of the conversation — the friend of the person bursting in the door — and the person observing the scene happen and drawing conclusions about the friendship. The rolling of the eyes of the friend, maybe, or an affirming giggle. Either way, a reaction and validation of the statement.
Do we live like that, bouncing off phrases in our mind and imagining the validation?
But validating what we feel, what we think, is so important. This I know, this I’ve learned. You cannot deny a person’s experience of the cold and trick them into thinking everyone else experiences warmth. You cannot say that you don’t understand why the other is crying and so they are wrong for being hurt.
Validation, then, lies in choosing the right audience, the right communication.
This might be a strange conclusion to jump to, but hear me out —
I have some childhood friends. Some of whom are the last people I expect to celebrate my accomplishments with, simply because the relationship I have with them varies. One girl thought I am a “robot” because I did “everything well” and so hearing that I accomplished something is a given. She holds high expectations of me. So even if I tell her about a multi-step process to get into professional school, she does not think these legitimate obstacles pose much trouble for me.
But in return, when I advise her on certain troubles and obstacles, she takes my word for it. Affirmation that comes from me holds value, or so I would like to think.
I don’t look towards her for validation. She doesn’t know how to give it to me.
Luckily, I have other friends to whom I can ask for advice and guidance. They celebrate my accomplishments with me. However, it is rarer that they ask me for advice. Such is the nature of the relationship.
I am pondering this because recently, I finished the long, arduous process of applying to a professional school, and found much to celebrate. But few people were there for the valleys as well as the peaks of the experience.
But that people were there for the whole journey, at all — that, I am immensely grateful for.