Something convinced me that everyone was watching. I was inhibited every time I wanted to sit on the grass by the path to eat my lunch. When I wanted to wear clothing different from my neighbour’s. When I had an idea different from my friend’s. Someone, something, convinced me that they were all watching me, judging me when I stepped out of line.
Of course, they weren’t. They were too busy worrying that I was watching them.
But maybe they do watch. Maybe when I sit under the maple to eat my lunch, alone while crowds mill by, maybe they are watching. Maybe they are judging and disapproving of my hair, my clothing, my strange ideas.
Who taught me to be ashamed when I make a choice that my neighbour has not made?
Thankfully, I have become very skilled at forgetting the things I have learned.