Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Don't Talk to Her

When we were young, my dad's Sunday habit was to take an hour nap in the afternoon...a day of rest and all that.  And he would instruct one of us to wake him after the hour was up.

A fight over who had to wake him would ensue.

It wasn't that we didn't want to honor our dad's wishes.  It was just that he was THE WORST person to wake EVER!!!!  And it didn't matter the method you employed.

If you tiptoed in and softly spoke, "Daddy, it's been an hour;" touched him softly without speaking; or clomped loudly down the hallway in an attempt to wake him before entering the room, the result was always the same.  He would awake with a start so hard and an exclamation so loud, it would take your breath away.  And he was never pleased that the hour was up.  Very grumpy...

Last month when I was blessed to stay with my dad while my mom was in Florida, this issue cropped up again.  I thought, "Well, I may as well just address how he wants to be woken up," in my very forthright way.  So I asked, "Daddy, do you want me to wake you up so you can get up, go to the bathroom and have breakfast?  Or should I just let you sleep and you try to wake up on your own?"  He looked at me sideways and said, "I think you should wake me. (pause)  But I'm mean when you do."  So I said, in my very honest but empathetic way, "I know, Daddy and that's all right.  If you are cranky, I'll just tell you that it will be okay."  Daddy took a second to process this and then said, "No, I wouldn't talk to him if I were you."

I wouldn't talk to him - as if he were a different person entirely.

And although I was greatly amused by this response, I also identified with it greatly.

There are times when I feel like I am two different people, depending on my level of comfort; my level of exhaustion; and my belief in myself.

When I am very tired, out of my comfort zone, or feel insecure in any way, I am often the "loudmouth" or the "funny one" or the "potty mouth."  I know intrinsically that I act this way to make myself feel better, thinking I'm covering up my insecurities by going for the shock or the laugh.  That way, no one can see that I am truly frightened or hurting in any way.  That's when I become her.

When I am secure, rested, at peace in my strengths, I am myself and a much better version.  Still funny (at least I crack myself up!), still loud(er than most), still say what I think.   But most times softer in intent and definitely a much better listener.  With greater insight.  With greater empathy.  I am not consumed with myself and my own discomfort, and I am able to give that energy to others.

I wrestle with this now most often in situations where I am struggling between career worlds.  I have been getting many questions lately:
"Are you a singer?" 
"Why aren't you teaching anymore?" 
"Oh, what are you writing?" 
"Why are you writing?"
These questions throw me into her world, as I look longingly back at my world...the dancers and singers laughing and rejoicing together in a collaborative art form, while I sit in solitary silence at my desk, pecking away at my computer and dreaming of the days bygone when I had a voice that all listened to rather than read.

But I must remember in these uncomfortably frequent moments of insecurity that I am not alone at my desk.  I am being led down this path.  And being in my head doesn't have to mean living alone with my should mean living in communion with His, as I hammer my interpretation of them out onto a page.  I want to be me, secure and at peace - not her, as I move forward on this scary but wonderful journey that is daily bringing me closer to Him.

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