shifting mists
2001-09-02 03:55:19 (UTC)

the idiosyncrasies of charity work ...

... i have always enjoyed hearing .. seeing .. feeling other
people's perceptions on things ... lots of things ...
anything ... it's interesting to me to see how differently
people's minds work .... to see things through other
people's eyes ... to understand them from a different angle
than i would my own .... this is one of the things i seek in
life .... one of the forms of knowledge that i enjoy
learning .... and it is the major reason that i willingly
continue to have contact with others instead of succumbing
to my social phobia ....

... today was different ... significantly different for me
.... for i volunteered today to sit at a donation booth out
front of a supermarket for a few hours and greet people ...
asking for funds to build a playground for one of the
domestic abuse shelters that is ran by where i attend group
therapy ... practice you see .... social phobia is not only
overcome through therapy but also by forcing yourself to
have contact ... to practice being around others ..
strangers ... and so today .. that was my activity ... to
greet people and tell them about the organization ... to
smile at them and ask them for spare change for a good cause

.. and my altered perception for the day was that of the
woman who sat with me through the first and last half hour
of the time i spent there at the booth today ... she had
been at the booth off and on all day long .... and you see
.. she pointed out something she thought was interesting
.... and it took a while for the compliment to sink in ...
but now that it has ... i realize once again that my
perception .. my self perception is so much different than
that of those around me ...

... so .... what did she say? .... ~soft smile~ ... well ...
she informed me that though it had been busy all day .. i
had collected more money in the short two hours i'd been
there than they had during the entire rest of the day ....
on top of this ... she noticed something else ... that
throughout the day the donations had mostly been by women
... women of all ages though usually from their 30's and up
.... and that in the two hours i'd been there the donations
had almost all been by men and children of all ages ....
she said that it was "amazing" how they just came over and
donated while i was there (and not usually small change -
but bills) ... how odd it was that a "pretty woman" could
get them to come to the table and give a little .. would
stay and linger to talk about the shelter and draw more
people to come and donate by their presence and smiles ...
and yet the women wouldn't come near me .... the women who
donated in the hours i was there spoke to her ... were drawn
to her ...

... i felt good that i had helped bring in (hopefully)
enough money to build the playground ... but she said the
rest of it all so offhanded that it took quite a while to
sink in ... not that she thought i was "pretty" ... but that
she was telling me that all those other people thought i was
... that i was drawing people in with my smile and my voice

... i don't see myself that way ... ever ... even now
looking in the mirror i can't see it .... it is the mystery
that i cannot solve ... what other people see when they look
at me .... what they hear when i speak ....

... sometimes it bothers me .. frustrates me deeply that i
cannot see or hear what they do .... but i am grateful that
obviously they don't see what i see staring back at me when
i look in the mirror ...