The wind is blowing outside. I love the wind. I love the feel of the wind in my hair, tugging it in all directions. I don’t love brushing it after, but I love when I am in the moment. I think that is what I loved best about living in California. The wind and my friend Michelle. They both pushed me in different ways.
Friends are weird. I read a quote by Dr. Seuss (supposedly) that said, “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” Or, friendship. Friendship is a form of love, isn’t it?
This may be why I don’t have a lot of close friends. I may be too weird or unique to find that ‘compatible weirdness’ in the world. However, I have been trying extra hard lately to be a better friend. This came about through a series of unfortunate events.
We all have our own special picture of how we are. We see ourselves with that special filter that we have tweaked and tilted and fuzzied just enough to allow ourselves out in public. Its like an internal photo-shop sort of thing. We’ve all done it. We stand in front of the mirror, sucking in that part, turning away from that part, tilting our head this way, making ducky lips…whatever your ‘thing’ is, and then we walk out the door. Confident we will be seen all day the way we posed for ourselves before we left.
This is why I avoid mirrors all day, by the way. I hate feeling like I look pretty darn spectacular, only to pass a mirror that screams out something else all together. How rude.
Anyway, back to friends, or the building of them. Another way we set ourselves up is in how we sound. I’m not the only one that was shocked the first time I heard a recording of my voice. “Who is that kid using my words?” Do we all feel like we sound like a 12 year old girl on a message? It’s a bit disconcerting to say the least. This may or may not be why I never leave messages. I’m pleading the 5th.
Besides the ‘voice’, I think we all have an idea of our overall tone and presentation when we talk. I like to think that I sound just like Mary Poppins when I talk to people. Sweet, smart, never cross…and singing more than talking. (Ask my students) It is VERY, I repeat VERY mind blowing when someone repeats back what I said using a totally different style of presentation. Instead of the smooth Mary Poppins, my voice was thrown back at me with the fervor of Danny DeVito in his most famous role, yes, Al in Hercules.
I was not prepared for this shocking revelation. My self image was blown and my voice threatened to crawl into the back storage closet of my brain and never come out. Have you ever felt that way? Imagine a little scurrying creature running around trying to find a hiding place but always being in the spotlight. It was very uncomfortable!
As I sat there, feeling the very essence of ME being washed down the garbage disposal with the other left over sludge of the day, I realized I had a choice.
We always have a choice, in everything we do. That is the beauty of this life. Choice.
My choice, at that moment, was to be mortally and irrevocably offended. To shout, argue, deny, cry, and possibly stomp out. OR, I could swallow the ugly pill and own it. I could step out of my high tower and look up at myself from the balcony of the other person. Seek to understand. We say it a lot, but when we do it….it can be very hard. I swallowed. I groveled. I pushed my pride to the back and boxed it up.
It wasn’t easy. Sometimes I feel that box jumping around, trying to open and shout out responses, most of which are just attacks from being hurt. I have to take deep breaths and look past the moment. The result has been a calmness and understanding that I didn’t have before. Closed windows have opened and fresh air has entered where I thought it would be been better to nail things shut.
I had given up in a way, but now I’m starting over. It feels good. When I feel that ‘need to be right’ or to defend to the death MY opinion, I remember that voice I heard coming back at me. I don’t want to ever sound like that. I don’t ever want to be heard like that again.
I may not be “practically perfect in every way”, but I’m trying.
Because I said so.
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