At the end of a week-long singing workshop at Omega, we (about 35 of us) were sitting in a somewhat random clump on the hardwood floor and the workshop leader invited us to share whatever we wanted to share. We went around the clump and comments ranged dramatically.
There were people that simply said "It's been a great week. Thanks!" and others who told very personal stories and burst into tears in the telling. Honestly, I remember none of these people specifically.
The bit of sharing that stays with me through the years--and I can still see this woman's face in my mind--was this: A 20-something woman said that she was embarrassed to say she'd spent the week worrying about her legs. She hated her legs. They were too thin, she said. And it was hot and she wanted to wear shorts but she didn't wear shorts all week because she hated her legs and she didn't want people to see them. Then she unfolded her legs in front of her, pulled up her pants legs, and said, "Here. These are my legs. I can't believe I spent the week worrying about them."
They were perfectly ordinary looking legs.
We obsess. Over things that don't matter to anyone but us. Over things that shouldn't matter to us, even. Meanwhile, the world goes by. People wonder what our problem is and make faulty assumptions because they see our behavior and have no idea that we're acting strangely because we "don't want to show our legs."
It's crazy. And it happens all the time.
"We are not capable of understanding each other and that is the main source of human suffering." -Thick Nhat Hahn