Excuse Me Sir, but Might I Inquire as to What’s Going On?

It’s that time of year again.  The week at my company where we’ve had to write self-reviews for the past year.  Whenever I write them, I always tend to think that isn’t it funny that how we see ourselves is not necessarily how others see us?

For instance, working in an office, we always have the two or three people that we can’t stand working with.  Sometimes you mention it to someone else and they agree, saying “I know, isn’t that person so awful/such a whiner/stubborn?”  Or their language is a lot more colorful, but you get the point.  But do you think that awful colleague sees themselves that way?  Do you think they leave the day at the office thinking to themselves, “I just made every person’s life I came in touch with today slightly more miserable”?

I think I’m a nice person who generally tries to help out where I can, but what if someone says about me behind my back, “Well, you really want to make sure she’s in a good mood when you ask her to do that, because otherwise she’ll chew you up and spit you out and you won’t know which way is up or down.”

Anyway, you get my point, right?

When I was younger I thought I was like a combination of Luke Skywalker and Captain Panaka.  Loyal, hard working, try to do what’s right, and of course, someday will find out that I’m actually a Jedi and I will go along to save the galaxy (a girl can dream).

That’s not how my family saw me, unfortunately.  Who did they see me as?  C-3PO.  Yup, Threepio.  It was a running joke in my family for years.  The annoying, panic-driven, morose droid was ME.  Sure, he’s good for a few laughs in the movie and I can’t imagine the saga without him…but when those closest to you think you most resemble the golden protocol droid, you’re in for some self analysis.

I can see where they are coming from.  When Artoo and Threepio land on Tatooine and Artoo heads off toward the rocky land, Threepio refuses to believe there are settlements in that area.  He goes the “safe” way with no rocks, just sand as far as the eye can see.  I would do the same thing.  Stubbornly go the way I know is right, but in actuality is very wrong.

I hate to be morbid, but the situations where C-3PO is always reciting the odds of survival is very similar to what I do.  If someone told me they had cancer, I would immediately start thinking about their odds of survival and their likelihood of beating it.  (Notice I said “thinking” because I am, thankfully, not a droid without emotions and I would not be saying any of that out loud.)

I have a tendency to panic.  My mother would tell stories of when the fire alarm would go off in our little townhouse when I was around 5 years old, I would stand there wringing my hands and saying, “What do we do?  What do we do?”  I chuckle looking back at it, but even now – my brain shuts down when a high stress situation is thrown spontaneously at me.  All I can think of is “Help! Help!  I think I’m melting!” and I just want my equivalent of an R2-D2 to get me out of the mess.  It’s not that I lack self-sufficiency; I just do have a good 5 minutes of panicking before my brain rights itself.

Do we often have these views of ourselves that are way different from how others view us?  As I reflect, I see that yes, maybe I can’t escape my destiny as golden protocol droid.  But are the views of ourselves really that off the mark?  Am I actually nothing like Luke or Captain Panaka?  Is that my ideal but not really who I am?  Am I confusing ideals and reality?  Am I a combination?  I’m more likely to put more faith in how others view me because that is how I present myself day-to-day but it’s still a hard pill to swallow sometimes.

C-3PO on Tatooine


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