I've been tempted before to join in Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade, but have never actually done it until now... And here I am, jumping into what seems like the deep end with this particular topic: Who Am I? It's something that I've given quite a bit of thought to in recent weeks, so it seems a good place to start.
I think a lot of people see me as someone who's got it all together. Confident, secure, content. That's all true some of the time, but most people don't see what's under the facade.
I'm the person who's good in a crisis. As long as it's somebody else's crisis. I can take charge, make decisions, be supportive, come up with the right things to say. If it's happening to me though, don't expect me to display a stiff upper lip. I'll be over in the corner, weeping and shaking and hoping that somebody else will take control. That time my almost two year old ran smack into the corner of a wall and split his forehead open? So much blood... I was comforting him, but freaking out inside. Thank goodness for a great neighbour who acted like it was no big deal, calmed me down and drove us to the clinic.
I'm afraid of many things. Of mice, of heights, of not being liked, of being in a room full of strangers, of failure, of facing my deeper feelings. I can avoid some of those things most of the time. But when I can't? I obsess and worry over them for ages.
I'm secure in my close relationships, but I find it difficult to make new friends. I hang back, wondering if I'm misjudging their friendliness, if I'm overstepping the mark, if they're just being polite. It was so much easier when I was a kid....when did making friends get so complicated?
I'm fifty-one years old and sometimes I still don't know where I'm going. I give you Exhibit A:
I don't suffer fools, but I've (mostly) learned to keep my mouth shut when somebody is saying something completely ridiculous that isn't about or doesn't affect me. There's no law against idiocy and I try to follow the old maxim: If you can't say something nice, say nothing at all. That goes double for social media.
I'm smart but sometimes I do really stupid things. Like the time the chip pan caught on fire because I forgot about it and then I dumped it in the sink and ran water on it, even though I KNEW that was exactly the wrong thing to do. Terylene curtains burn really fast, by the way... How can you be smart and stupid at the same time? I think it's called being human.
I love my family so much that sometimes it hurts. All three of my kids have inherited my ridiculous stubborn streak, which makes life pretty interesting. Well, interesting is one way to describe it.
I'm too loud. I claim that's a result of growing up in a loud family - if you didn't yell, you wouldn't be heard. I do make a conscious effort to speak quietly a lot of the time, but if you're ever around when I get excited about something, you might want to stand back a bit. If I'm a bit drunk and excited, ear plugs might be useful.
I'm big on physical contact with my friends and family, but if I don't know you well, do not stand too close to me, and absolutely do not touch me. Don't say I didn't warn you.
I have the patience of a saint when it comes to fiddly craft projects, but if I have to wait more than two seconds for a web page to load or stand in a queue for more than a minute, I go completely nuts.
I have a very strong sense of right and wrong, and am definitely not a risk-taker. Safe and sensible, that's me. I obey the road rules, lodge my tax returns on time, brush my teeth, eat my veggies. Sometimes I think that makes me really boring, but then I'm grateful that I've never been sacked, expelled or banged-up in jail. So maybe it's a good quality after all.
Honesty is important to me. If you ask my opinion of something, I'm going to give it to you. So if you're just looking for validation of your own viewpoint, maybe don't ask me what I think. You might not like the answer. That particular trait has not been very helpful to me career-wise, but I seriously don't care. I prefer truth to sucking-up and at least I can live with myself.
I can't wait to retire, but I don't really want to act like a grown-up. Those two things seem contradictory. Actually, I think there's a whole blog post in that...
I'm all of this and much, much more. And somehow I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin. Not so much that I stop trying to learn, to improve, to understand. But enough that I'm content to muddle along as I am most of the time.
I'm glad when I'm able to make a real difference in someone's day or in their life. Helping a friend or a client in big or small ways is always satisfying. But today is filled with the mundane, the ordinary. I'm dealing with the week's washing, watching the weather change from fog to rain to sunshine and back to rain outside my window, listening to Bike Boy bang around in the kitchen, and contemplating using the squishy overripe bananas in the fruit bowl to make banana bread. And I'm OK with that, because those things are who I am too.
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