I’ve never been much into power.
As in, it doesn’t motivate me to finagle my way into a position of authority. I am perfectly cool with being an independent follower, as in, give me some guidelines and I will follow them to the extent we’re both happy.
When I have been called to be a leader, like in my singing group, I was really motivated to work on aspects of the group I felt needed to be changed, but with the approval and consensus of those involved, as I would never, ever take a dictatorial stance on things. Even when I become a parent, I imagine my proclivity to listen will set my child on more equal footing when it comes to debatable topics. This is not to say I don’t have strong opinions — I just respect others’ strong opinions a little too much, probably. At the expense of my opinions.
Peacemaking intentions don’t always bring about peace though. By not standing up to the other leaders in my group, I didn’t accomplish the things I’d set out to do because I let myself come to believe that their wishes were better for the group. Then, when the group was upset, I basically had zero recourse as I had gone along with the more vocalized issues put forth by my co-leaders.
I feel the same about doing what is best for myself. If I have learned anything from my LOR, it is to really listen to myself.
The outside influences, though, really cripple me.
Last week, I was feeling fit and fabulous! I felt trim, pretty, and like the world was my oyster (or whatever the phrase is that means everything is going well for me). I was at work and had gone to lunch. I saw an older male colleague who had just celebrated a major accomplishment and I wanted to offer my congratulations to him. After I had told him how happy I was for him, and we shot the breeze about some other stuff we had in common, he asked me, “When are you due?”
I was humiliated. Thinking I had misheard him, but knowing I had not, I replied, “Due for what?”
“Aren’t you expecting?”
It’s awkward. He went on to tell me someone had told him I was. I told him that, no, I wasn’t, had never been, and had never told anyone that I was.
He made the situation EVEN worse by asking, “well, weren’t you before?”
I feel like running for Mrs. America, and my platform will be DO NOT ASK IF A WOMAN IS PREGNANT. SHE WILL TELL YOU IF SHE IS.
I honestly feel at this point that I should do one of a few things:
1. email my entire work place and tell them I am not pregnant
2. wear a t-shirt that says “I’m Not Pregnant!”
3. Stop eating and spend the rest of my life exercising. Because clearly having a healthy lifestyle doesn’t do enough for my physique.
What makes all of this worse is that I have friends who are in the trenches, working on trying to get pregnant and haven’t quite made it there. Pregnancy is already such a weighty issue on its own, in other words.
I feel like the power of what body image should be is dictated by our culture, as well as how assumptions are formed about people based on their body image. A girl is too skinny? She must be anorexic. A girl is too fat? Oh, she must be a couch potato. A girl has a big middle? Awwwwwww, she’s pregnant! Let’s just say for the sake of my argument that none of these assumptions are true, because I know from personal conversations with women in my life that there are women of every shape and size whose body shape belies what is actually going on with them.
What I hate the most is how these assumptions about my particular body is how much collateral damage it costs me. I have been sucking in my stomach for a week. I have been questioning my posture, clothing, diet, exercise, and more all because one person heard a false statement (actually two false statements, given his second question!) about me. Why am I so fragile?
Confidence is a hard thing for me to hold on to. The last time I wrote, I was feeling really good about myself and my audition. Well, it that audition only taught me that no matter how it goes in the audition, you still might not be their “type” or what they want. Even for completely different shows. I am trying to tell myself that I did well, that I am talented, and that they are crazy for not casting me. I am trying to tell myself that I cannot count my self-worth based on not getting cast for this particular time. It hurts though. The power of rejection hurts afresh each time. Much like my friends who would like to have a baby, each time they find out the answer isn’t “right now.”
As a Christian, I am often responding to the pattern of my life through discernment. That door closed? God wants me to pry the window open. That’s a dead end? God wants me to turn around, look at my steps, and see where else I can go. I know that even when things go wrong and I am pitifully upset about it, something better will come along that will mean more to me because it will have been earned through prayer, reflection, and trust in God. That’s the only thing that consoles me sometimes.
My voice coach said to me, when I asked him how to not get psyched out as I waited on my my turn at the audition, that I should ask people that I love why they love me. Then, no matter how the audition went, if I cracked my high note or fell on my face by tripping over my own feet, then that won’t matter because Josef loves me, my friends love me, my colleagues love me, my neighbors love me, my parents and in-laws love me, my students love me. He said waiting is all a head game anyway.
Life is a lot of waiting, and a lot of head games. While it keeps things interesting to have things coming up that may or may not work out, or pursuits for improvement may or may not make things better, set backs can and do happen. While I don’t mean to dwell on the negatives, I do need to pay attention to why set backs get me so terribly down and have longer-lasting effects than success has.
One thing I think this perspective gives me is the ability to be really happy and celebratory for good things that happen to others. I want good things for other people as much as I want them for myself.
I am waiting on a few things that might happen for me, but if TWO good things happen for me, then I’ll have a tough decision to make.