Today I was in a semi-professional setting of a small group of women who were tasked with the inevitable chore of introducing ourselves to each other. I know me. But somehow, the essence is lost when I have to participate in this little practice. In an effort to get to the point my introduction went something like this”My name is Mrs. Takeayear”. (Helpfully my children were present so I stretched my speech an additional four second by gesturing like a game show host’s assistant to my kids and saying, “These are my children”. Then I closed with “I was involved with this organization for a short time in the past” (at this point I sucked air through my teeth while pulling my lips tight and out to the sides and made a crazy eyed expression) then continued with “but that didn’t really work out and I am here today because I am nothing if not hopeful and open minded”. That’s when the grownups took over.
Citing things like their background in community organizations, how long they had been married, how long they had lived in the city, what their hobbies were (crafting, it seems, which I stink at) and seriously Miss America level answers for why they were in attendance these ladies had far more to say. But for the first time ever I didn’t slump in my seat or feel inferior or any less me. My Pinterest boards are over eight years old. I have made exactly three recipes that I “saved for myself y’all” on Facebook. I love my man and have been in a long term committed relationship with him but failed to see this that some sort of mark of legitimacy. I am not knocking these ladies, but I wasn’t trying to be them either. And after almost 33 years on this Earth a profound and glorious notion washed over me: I was okay right here right now.
I left that meeting knowing that I could do what set out to do originally: the most good possible with the talents I had at my disposal for as long as I could effect change. That was a message that got stomped out earlier when I tried to be less me (by being me I was doing crazy things like sticking to a preset budget and bringing new ideas to the table) after it was suggested that it would be advantageous for the greater good of the entity we were serving if I just did as I was told, no questions asked.
I could have tried to get that whole story out in my about me, but I already had. This was me. These were my kids I support and the reason I was there. It didn’t work out when I was told what to do and had to be less of myself to fill that request and because the option is mine I ditched the role. But I am listening and open to learning about what I can do from the place I am willing to give from and that was a start that I can stand by.