She's been dealing with some depression most of her life, and the bout with meningitis last summer didn't help much. The doctors finally have her on a mix of pills that helps with the depression and the headaches she suffered for so long, and she's been going to a counselor to learn new skills to cope with feelings of anxiety, inferiority, and so forth.
One of the things she asked me is "How do you not give a damn about what other people think? How do you ignore them when they tell you you're not perfect enough?"
I don't know if it's true that I don't give a damn what others think. The opinions and input of my friends and family is important to me, and I cherish that more than any bauble or trinket or dollar I have. Rather, I think the key, for me anyway, is that I have few true friends, and I don't give a damn what people other than my friends think.
If a person in another department at the office tells me they don't like XYZ about me, I really don't see that as something about which I need to get worked up. It really doesn't matter. My life continues. If a stranger or friend of a friend of a friend has negative views of me because I like beef and guns and beer and football, I don't give a damn.
This line of thinking brought me to mention that I have but one regret in my life. In my *cough* years on this planet, I've only done one thing that I truly regret. Everything else has either taught me a lesson or has been an integral part of bringing me to where I am today. I am here -- with my wife and daughters, my friends a phone call or plane ride away, my dogs loving and loyal and sleeping on the sofa -- because of the choices I've made and actions I've taken, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
That reminded me of a line from the movie "The Guardian" with Kevin Costner and Ashton Kucher. It's a pretty cheesy flick, and you kinda know how it's going to end before the opening credits finish, but in that movie is a great line that sums up this conversation perfectly. In the scene, Costner's character is talking with a bartender friend of his, talking about getting old, and she says
Hell, I've always been old Ben. Ya' know what though, I don't mind. I mean if my muscles ache, it's because I've used 'em. It's hard for me to walk up them steps now, its 'cuz I walked up 'em every night to lay next to a man who loved me. I got a few wrinkles here and there, but I've layed under thousands of skies with sunny days. I look and feel this way, well cuz I drank and I smoked. I lived and I loved, danced, sang, sweat and screwed my way thorough a pretty damn good life if you ask me. Getting old ain't bad Ben. Getting old, that's earned.I look at myself, or my wife, and I see the beauty that comes from a life well lived. Am I perfect? Nope. Not by a stretch. Is Missus JB? Again, nope.
But is she beautiful? I believe so... I see the beauty that comes from having the strength to get away from an abusive husband and strike out on her own with two children. I see the beauty of a woman who started with nothing but $50 in her pocket and two weeks to payday and now has financial stability. I see a woman who, despite living in a dead-ass town with narrow minded people all around, decided she wanted to try sushi. I see a woman who has a "less-than-ideal" figure because she's too busy working and providing for her children to go to the gym 3 hours a day.
I see a woman who isn't afraid to sleep in a tent, travel to a new country, drink a cold beer at 11 am, shoot a gun, wear a teal cocktail dress and heels, swat a spider, bottle feed a cat, face off with a Rottweiler, cry during a sad movie, or any of a myriad of other things. I see a woman of beauty, not in spite of her physical flaws, but because of them.
And that was cause for a tear and a fresh round of beers and a softly whispered "Thanks, JB, for being my husband."
Any time, babe.