Once upon a time (for lack of a better introduction) I, along with my crew were heading through the security line, buzzing about the usual dislike of hoisting a weeks worth of luggage onto the conveyor belt, when a discussion began over the uniform pieces we were wearing. I was explaining my reasoning for choosing the pants on such a warm day in Sacramento rather than the skirt, being that the heels of my favorite shoes were so scuffed that I could only wear them with pants to cover them. Of course this seemed completely logical to me, excepting the fact that my legs were nearly ablaze wrapped in the navy blue polyester blend; however, it must have seemed completely idiotic to my coworker, who gave me ‘the look’ and replied,
I’m sure people can find far better places to look at on you than the back of your heels.”
In that moment, I knew she was simply responding to my ludicrous insecurity about shoes; yet, she had a point there that reigns true in a multitude of situations. Often times I (as I am sure plenty of others are) am plagued with feelings of insecurity and low confidence based on trivial matters. Many a time have I found myself staring in the mirror wishing for a miracle good hair day; so many times have I dreaded speaking on the PA at work, because I had not yet read through the new announcements and feared a stutter; far too often have I caught myself wishing friends would cancel plans because of a zit. All minor issues, of course, that no one would even notice (and if they did, would certainly have the decency not to point out)–yet they could somehow be enough to throw you into a whirlwind of insecurity and uncertainty.
I find it helpful to remember the quote of my wise coworker and realize that even though I do have these unsavory little nuisances with which to deal, I have more important and certainly more relevant things to offer. While it is a must to acknowledge our imperfections and self-improvement is a necessity in growth, we must also remember to focus on and emphasize the great things about ourselves.
Of course I did eventually get my heels fixed. Not that anyone has noticed.
On a lovely layover in Spokane, WA I found myself sitting hip to hip at a bar with my best girl Chan (from across the land), enjoying our monthly wine and whine session. Joining our conversation (something about the mob and bodies under Spokane Falls) from across the bar, sipping a beer and adjusting his oxygen, was a wise dear gentleman who graced us with such a valuable life lesson,
The world is full of LuLus, and in this world of LuLus just be and let be and remember to choose your mates wisely.”
While Chan and I finished our drinks and merrily carried on our conversations with the bartender and the newcomers throughout the evening, that little gem fluttered through my mind the rest of the night. Something in his words resonated with me.
Throughout my journey through young adulthood I have encountered a number of unique and intriguing people; I’ve also had the displeasure of making the acquaintance of some less desirable characters. Yet, while I have recently begun the efforts to remove the weeds from my garden of happiness– I find that I am growing ever interested in figuring out what exactly it is that is causing these minor characters to wreak havoc in my garden.
But ever since hearing the words of my wise friend across the bar, I have realized that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter the cause, nor does it matter what it is that has caused me such a displeasure. No one’s life choices or character flaws are mine to judge. I have a choice of how this life must go, and I will forever encounter the LuLus (the crazies, or undesirables), I must continue to live and let live, yet take caution in cultivating the relationships and networks that I believe I need.
It is such a wonder the effect the advice of a stranger can have on the relationships developed within your closest confidants.
Growing up I experienced many a sleepless night for varying reasons, during which I introduced myself to an array of wonderful music videos and artists featured on VH1’s overnight block, Insomniac Music Theater. One group that I found myself scouring the internet for more music was Relient K. One of the songs that I’ve since remembered quite vividly was “Who I am Hates Who I’ve Been.”
Lately, as I’ve been slowly pulling my feet from the pit of tar that is my self-diagnosed ‘quarter-life’ crisis, the lyrics have illuminated themselves on the back of my mind like the monitors on karaoke night; and my mind can’t help but to scream the lyrics. I know we all have those moments where we look in the proverbial mirror and are embarrassed or humiliated or even sometimes disgusted with something from the past, be it our entire former selves, or just one lame experience; however, sometimes the disgust and shame can be so overwhelming that we forget that these are only distant memories and moments from the past that we’ve made a conscious effort to overcome.
Throughout this journey through my young adult life, I’ve met so many new people and have reintroduced myself to the people my closest friends and family have become through growth and change; and I am ever inspired to try new things and ways to live, to think, and experience life as a whole. When people ask me how I am doing and I can genuinely smile and tell them I’m just wonderful and truly mean it, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. Then comes the moment when my mind replays as scene or a conversation from the past, one that I am not fond of, one where if I’d have said something different or done something else, my whole world would’ve changed and I have that thought, you know the one that begins, “Ugh, I wish I’d have…”
I often find myself feeling guilty or apologetic for the person I was, or looking for ways to fix or undo things that have long since by others been forgotten, for the sole reason that I won’t allow myself to let them go.
But as I am taking the time to learn and grow and get to know myself, I am realizing that there was nothing so horribly wrong with me back then, I just have a different idea of who I am and should and want to be now–which is actually a wonderful thing that some would refer to as growth or maturity. I don’t know what I’d call it, but for now, old Mo is alright with me.
One of my favorite places to be, no matter where I am in the world, is outside on the porch enjoying the smell of fresh-cut grass or the damp air after a quick rain (not that it rains in southern California). So imagine my discomfort and disappointment when my favorite pastime of relaxing on the back porch sipping ice water with lemon and mint was rudely interrupted by these fearless. germ carrying, heaven only knows what eating, flies! There were a million of them– okay, not a million, more like seven; but they swarmed my place of solace and solitude. They landed on my newly potted plants, they buzzed ceaselessly around my head, I could barely hear my neighbor practicing “Shortenin’ Bread” on his new banjo! I tried my best to ignore them. It was a lovely day, 78 degrees and sunny. I just wanted to kick back on the porch listening to the sounds of summer in my neighborhood while I pinned ideas for my nieces first birthday and sip some ice-cold water with lemon and mint. I wasn’t in the mood to swat at these little guys. So I sat back and tried to relax while shooing them away every now and again.
That worked for all of a few moments until one bold little fella decided to stake his claim of the porch and show his utter disregard for my generosity in letting them sit in the shade on my porch and landed right on the rim of my glass, just where I would place my lips to take a sip. That was it! I took my now tainted glass of water into the house, grabbed my keys and went to Target to search for a fly swatter. It was on.
When I returned to my porch armed with my new weapon ready to take back the area that was rightly mine, I was surprised to find even more flies had come to join the party. They thought they’d won. They thought they’d gotten rid of me. I took action; it was a massacre (moment of silence for the flies), but my cat-like reflexes served me well, and I got rid of all but a few of the trespassers which now know the wrath of my fly swatter.
As I sat on my porch later that evening with a fresh glass of ice water with lemon and mint (and a slice of cucumber to celebrate), I realized that my war with the flies was a lesson. In life there are moments when I am bothered by or made uncomfortable by seemingly small things, and in lieu of kicking up dust or inciting conflict I try to ignore them or just deal with it; however, some things, however small they may seem must be dealt with before they become bigger issues, before they push you off of your porch. And while you may miss some of the flies you swat, at the very least, you’ve let the flies know that they aren’t welcome and you are willing and prepared to take action if the problems persist or escalate. And that’s a defense in and of itself.