Wrestling with my identity, a counselor years ago had me write out all the things I do. Then she had me write out all the things that I don’t do because of what I AM doing. There was a line drawn down the center. And there sat on a white board everything I used to wage war against myself – everything I was and everything I wasn’t.
But then she did something. She completely erased and wiped away the side that was everything I don’t do because I’m busy doing other things.
Then she asked me: What do you think of this girl?
And there in front of me was everything I WAS.
And I thought the girl I saw written on the white board was pretty cool. She had a lot on her plate, she was working towards goals and loved hard, she was pretty A-OK. And when I thought about meeting THAT girl I didn’t think about the girl she wasn’t. I thought about meeting the girl she was. Like I would meet a friend.
Kaylee, ya gotta focus on your strengths. My brother recently reminded me over a cup of coffee.
You guys, I get it wrong. Like every single time. I am so good at focusing on all the wrong things. I am so good at letting my mind wonder in the complete and utter wrong direction.
I am really good at getting people together. I am really good at dancing (I mean, I think, right?) I am good at seeing the hope in situations. I AM NOT good at remembering to send birthday cards. I am not good, in fact, horrible at buying play dough and slip-n-slides. I do not have a green thumb and if you ask me to do a craft I will color with Crayola slim markers on a blank white piece of paper and think I've conquered the art world as a result. I am generous in my own way. BUT...
My sis, is the most financially generous person I know in this world!
My sister in law, is amazing at decorating her home.
My mom, is incredible at crafts, quilting and games.
And my friend, ALWAYS remembers birthday cards!
I used to get jealous. Of all women. The pretty ones. The smart ones. The cooking ones. The good mom ones. The good decorators. The ones that talk recipes. The ones that use coupons. The ones that make a million bucks. The ones who always have both themselves and their kids dressed, showered and put together. I got jealous of all kinds of women. And it was because I was trying to be all of them.
I was out at my brother and sister-in-law’s home for Thanksgiving this past year and I was literally paralyzed emotionally from having any sort of fun, fallen waste to my jealousy. I just sat there, drowning in my own sea of imperfections.
Until I realized:
I DON’T LIKE DECORATING.
…BUT I LOVE DECORATIONS.
Thank GAWD my sister-in-law loves to decorate.
Thank GAWD she’s so damn good at it.
In that moment I chose to enjoy my sister-in-law. For all the beauty she brings to the world. I became so incredibly grateful for her in the moments and days that followed. It was a warm, beautiful holiday soaking in the warmth of their lovely decorated home.
When I learned not to let other women’s strengths destroy how I saw myself. When I chose to see women as radiating there own beauty. Even better yet, when I selfishly learned how much I could benefit from this perspective, am-I-right? For in the words of Alfalfa from The Little Rascals: What’s yours is mine & what’s mine is...ours.”
I’m okay with my side of the white board. Some days I’ll add to the white board, some days I won’t. Some seasons I’ll pick up a new something or other that I offer to the world. Other seasons, I’ll let go of some of what I was offering.
But I mean, THANK GOD, I’ll never have to make those Halloween treats for the first grade class (the class, too, is probably thanking sweet-Jesus as well because nobody wants my store-bought gunk-of-an-orange frosted sugar cookie. The class wants “Joey’s” mom’s homemade marshmallow ghost rice krisby treat with a side of goblin-green-free-of-artificial-dye frosting? (whatever. It works. And it’s beautiful. And I am so, so thankful for it.
I’ll be me.
You be you.
And we’ll all benefit greatly from that.
Our days our numbered.
Why waste them on what is not.
Rather, focus on what is.
WE CAN’T BE EVERYTHING. WE JUST NEED TO BE OUR SOMETHING.
PS – If you have a really beautifully decorated home --- please --- invite me over! I will sit criss-cross-applesauce on your living room carpet floor and in awe glance from side to side at such beauty you have brought. I will clap and cheer loudly with so much joy in my heart. And as I soak in your gift to the world I will proclaim: BRAVO!