The ‘What Will People Say’ Syndrome

the what will people say syndrome

There are two ways to live your life; one way is to always clean out the dirt in your house and the other way is to always keep the dirt in your house.

The first way is achieved by sweeping thoroughly, under the beds, under the furniture and under the carpet, and getting all the dirt out. In the process, you see what you have been harboring; A bone from last night’s dinner, some receipts from the supermarket, an earring that you might have lost when you decided with your spouse that the bedroom was too far (wink, wink!), an empty packet of Family Planning pills, an empty box of tampons, empty pack of Viagra tablets, empty pack of slimming pills (Do those work? I have become slack in my exercise regimen. Not my fault really coz I hurt my right knee – think I overdid it a little – and haven’t’ recovered fully to date. Yeah. Pity. So I limp whenever I have to come down a staircase like an unfit person. The irony. All this exercise thing was so that I could be physically fit to run up a flight of stairs without breaking a sweat, and in the process make a few people jealous of my Janet Jepkosgei tendencies 🙂 , not so that I would start limping! So not the reason!)

Cleaning. You bring it all out. Throwing it all out. Out! Out! Out!

The other way of cleaning is to glaze over the house, sweep everything nicely. And neatly. Then instead of bringing it all out, you neatly sweep some of it under your carpet. Let it stay there a while. Nobody has to see it. No one has to know that you pop a pill in order to check your waistline. Gym is too mainstream anyway. Nobody has to know that you use a skin lightening cream really. Let them wonder why your skin is glowing and it is really glowing isn’t it You look in the mirror. Wink. Blow a kiss. Smile… Go ahead, say it beautiful.

Sweeping dirt under the carpet is so easy because it saves us the work of having to remove it, and clean it and…aargh, it tires me too! Not to mention putting the carpet out to air with all the food stains. All the tea poured in there by Heidi. Prying out the dried up spaghetti stuck there by Hailey … putting all these out there, which is akin to airing dirty linen in public – hard stuff to do.

It therefore makes sense when one wants to spare themselves the inconvenience and the back pain and the embarrassment, by simply sweeping everything under the carpet and living like it doesn’t exist. Let it breed and kill you but you will not let people see who you really are. They have to think you are perfect. And strong. And organized. By all means! Only that that cleanliness is just an illusion. It is a lie.

Getting all the dirt out causes chaos. But if your life needs fixing, you fix it right, right? Ask the mechanics. They don’t fix a faulty car engine by painting over it and making it look nice and sparkly. They wear their overalls (which are mostly dirty and oily and stinky) then they get under the car or wherever (don’t judge me, I know zilch about cars and engines) and they literally get their hands dirty. Now that is how you fix things. You submerge yourself into the chaos. Move things around and cause a lot of screeching noises in the process. You hit the walls as you move stuff that is too heavy for your tiny frame. You make a mess to finally get to that place where everything is in perfect place.

Then comes the best part; going back to a clean house. Inhaling the fresh air. No dirt under the carpet or dry bones inside the closet. The dirt is out of the door, it is out of your life. Everything is so clean and peaceful and perfect. You take a deep breath in…and ooout. Get that feeling? I love it. Don’t you?

People who are embarrassed to face the chaos and discomfort by calling out the dirt in their lives suffer from the ‘what will people say’ syndrome. We deny ourselves so much happiness as we look around us each time we want to do something phenomenal in our lives.

First we ask ourselves what so and so will think. What they will say. We refuse to grab the opportunities in front of us because we don’t want to appear too desperate. No. Let us make them think we are ok. We have it all together. We are fine. We need no fixing. We are happy (flash that fake smile you have been practising). Let them see that I married well. My husband is perfect. He loves me. A lot! He cheats? No. These women. These loose women. These home wreckers. They steal your husband. They make him cheat. He hits me? No. It is my bad attitude. I made him angry. I should watch what I say to him. He strips women in the streets? No. It’s their mode of dressing. It is indecent. Too provocative.  They should dress properly.

What will people say? Why do I care what people will say? That is their business, not mine. What do other people have to do with how I live my life? I really hate that phrase – what will people say. What will people say? WHO CARES?

We are scared to admit the kind of dirt we have under our carpets. We want peace. We want quiet. We want perfect. We forget that to get to perfect we have to work on the imperfect.

People will talk. Of course they will say how silly you are. How you are making the biggest mistake of your life. They will ‘mcheem’ and give you the pity face. Look at you! Poor you! Best believe, they will talk about you (how juicy are your fights with your partner and how interesting that you are gaining weight in all the wrong places – Popcorn please!!

They will talk.

You just have to choose to care too much about you than about other people’s opinion of you. You need to ship and not look back! Only then will you get your perfection. Only then will you get real peace and quiet.

After the chaos of course. Only after the chaos!

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2 thoughts on “The ‘What Will People Say’ Syndrome

  1. this one… i have read it late. yeah so many of us think of what so and so will say. That”s a stressful life. there is so much peace in just being yourself.

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