I've been discouraged this past week. On Monday I received some devastating news pertaining to a thank-you card I bought for a young woman who has been kind to me. Apparently, the card scared her and her parents.
Though I cannot quote the kindness poem on the front of the card (I don't even remember the author), I will post the contents of my personal message to her.
Dear Miss [name omitted],
I don't know if you remember me, but you have greeted me on a few occasions at church. For that great kindness, I wish to thank you. To me, you are an angel. When it seemed as though all were lost, your light has proved otherwise and provided me with the hope and inspiration I was so desperate to receive. No other woman in two years has displayed such kindness towards me. Thank you. You have become the highlight of my weekend, and thoughts of you continue to lift my spirit throughout the week. Words cannot express my appreciation towards you. You are a wonderful woman. Your beauty extends far beyond just your appearance, it shines in your countenance as well. More women should have such qualities. Indeed, I envy the man you will choose to be your husband, he will be blessed above all others. Were others as kind as you, this world would be a better place. To me, you will always remain a radiant glimpse of the divine millennium to come. May you always cherish our Lord and be the example you are.
With great gratitude and appreciation,
Bro. Wesley Owen Campbell.
[my e-mail address-omitted automatically by blogger.com, not me :-)]
Post Script: Sorry I am too nervous to talk to you in person, you should know you have that effect on boys. :-D
When I wrote the letter, I truly envisioned her sharing it with her parents, who would congratulate her and use the time to teach charity through kindness. I thought they would be happy for her and use her as an example for her younger siblings. I had even given the card to her dad and told him what it was and why I was giving it to her. We thanked each other and shook hands. He seemed happy to pass it on to her, just as I had envisioned.
Nothing in my wildest fears could have prepared me for their reaction.
They went to my bishop with fears, unwarranted. They had presumed, that because I live in tent out in the desert, that I was some kind of deviant with an ulterior motive. Accusations formed out of a prejudice I had thought her and her parents insusceptible. It was that very kindness of not treating me as though I was some dirty, homeless bum, that I was so appreciative of in the first place. It was that very kindness I was thanking.
That hurt me more than if they had never treated me nice.
I am, however, sure the part that scared them didn't have anything to do with what the card said, or the message I wrote in it. Instead, I think it was the fact that I gave her the card in the first place. I have never understood why, but for some reason, woman have always found me scary. A fact that has caused much pain and sorrow in my life. Possibly more so this past week than at any other time.
I remember a time when, while working at a service station, I was sweeping up the parking lot. The parking lot was somewhat full that day and my path was weaved between the cars. As I slowly circled one of the vehicles (a suburban), the occupants inside locked, one-by-one, each of the doors just as I neared each. A very peculiar situation to say the least. I had a broom and dustpan with a long handle and paying particular attention to the trash I was sweeping up. I was a nice dressed, clean cut, late teens, good-looking, young man-nothing to be concerned about. Yet for some reason, they were. They were scared of me.
How many times have I heard from woman, "I thought you were so scary when I first met you"? Too many. Every place I've ever worked at, I have been in positions to work with and know many women. Their responses to me are the same, for some unexplainable reason, I am scary.
Looks hasn't had anything to do with it either. Through the years, I have traveled through many different appearances. I have a shaved head now, due to scalp issues, but for most of my adult life, I had hair like the character Sam Malone in the television series Cheers. Nothing to scare anyone. I keep a close trimmed beard now, in times past, I had what is referred to, by some, as a goatee. I admit, at least one old woman told me that I looked like the devil when I had that, but I contributed it too her generation, when such things were frowned upon.
I also have to admit, that eyebrows taper and hang low above my eyes. If I'm not expressly smiling, it is possible for others to see them and come to the conclusion that I concentrating, glaring, or otherwise angry. I am not, it is just my eyebrows. I remember one particular woman \, who would tease me cause of it; "Oh Waldo," she would say in a heavy Slovak accent, "so serious". Until this past week, I thought the eyebrows were the core of why woman misunderstood me so much.
Another interesting observation that should be made is one I do not and cannot understand. I was listening to a song Britney Spears sings titled Sometimes. This is a very interesting song to me. It is about a woman who likes her boyfriend, yet the lyrics say:
♪ Sometimes I Run, Sometimes I Hide, Sometimes I'm Scared of You...♪
This is a new perspective for me. Like the Clueless realization from an earlier post. What if these woman were afraid and fearful not of me, but of what they desire in relation to me? Is it possible that even Utah woman are attracted to me? In the two years that I have been trying to gain female acceptance, is it possible that I have misread their reactions to me? Could they be afraid of what they will do in relation to me, that that causes the reaction?
Well, It is certainly a flattering prospect, and one I would openly embrace in all my conceit. When I see myself in the mirror, I see and attractive man, who should not be single. But what am I but confused?
I do not believe I did anything wrong by that thank-you card, or the hand printed message I wrote. There is no hidden agenda. I appreciate all kindness shown me, especially given my current situation (being homeless, of which I am trying hard to get out of). And the only regret I have pertaining to the letter was that I used the word 'choose' instead of select. I realized that the instant I wrote it. Perhaps I could have included a sentence pertaining to honoring her parents, whom, I perceived, had done a splendid job raising such a wonderful woman. I even included it in in my rough draft. It didn't fit, I thought it would have been taken as too serious and the letter received as preaching, instead of praise and appreciation.
In fact, that was why I had included the post script, to lighten up the letter after such seriousness. I though it would be something her little siblings could joke about, a cute, healthy tease.
Well, sometime, I will know why women fear me. At this point, all I can do is speculate. I do not know women, I have no idea how they think. It is obvious, however, they do not think the way I do.