The wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt came together to form the phrase: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. As difficult as it may be to practice those profound words for an insecure person like myself, they still resound across the walls of my brain. Why, might you ask? In the very new future, I have to face something terrifying. My stomach knots at the idea and my eyes even water a little at the tidal wave of memories and emotions. Though I’ve allowed you to smell the aroma of steak coming for the kitchen, I am afraid you will only be eating bread tonight. No, I am not going to dish the dirt on this one. I am sure every one of you has been hurt by someone else to some degree or another. A friend, family member, or significant other has said or done something to make you cry or get angry or just feel hurt and rejected. Thus is my memories. They are filled with those feelings, each and every solitary one, and it sucks. Plain and simple.
Here’s the big kicker, though: I’m supposed to just be ok. I’m supposed to be the bigger person and forgive this person and move forward while they pretend that nothing ever happened. That’s the hard part. That’s the giant looming in front of me. No wonder I picked the Veggie Tales classic “Dave and the Giant Pickle” for the kids a few weeks ago. So now it’s time to face the music and my own giant pickle. That knot just keeps getting bigger though….we’ll see what happens I guess. All I really know right now is that they will never make me feel inferior ever again because I refuse to give consent. They are not allowed.
A few years ago during a girls’ only slumber party at the Roberts’ residence, we decided to be a little crafty and decorate some simple canvas bags with fabric paint, ribbon, buttons, and other random tidbits. It was a great night with the hot glue gun being passed back and forth and I do believe a little Frank Sinatra playing in the background. I spent a lot of time picking out those carefully painted on words. Two quotes earned the honor of being placed in pink and green onto that glorious black bag which yearned for a little brightness to be inscribed on it. So what were those illustrious words that penetrated my heart? That were so powerful I wanted to think of them and share them with world through a simple black tote?
First, I chose the cleverly insightful words of Dr. Seuss. Yes, you read that correctly. The children’s author. What could he possibly say that would inspire a college student? “Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.” Sure, he was writing to the Lorax who was witnessing his home being destroyed, but those same words meant….actually, mean something to me as well. I’ve been blessed with a gift….and a curse. I like to care and by caring, I really mean caring too much. I want to save people from their pain and risk my own happiness in the process. I want others to reach their dreams, especially when they don’t think someone is rooting for them. I desire for people to know someone loves them despite what they might think about themselves. I just care. But caring has to have limits. I’ve had to learn that just because someone needs me, that does not mean he or she is healthy for me to be around. I cannot dedicate every second of my life to helping someone else. Personal boundaries are a must if I want to maintain my own sanity because I am not helpful if I feel suffocated and stressed. I need to find my own true friend, and not necessarily just be a friend to everyone else. Otherwise, I’m going to give and care until I don’t have anything left to give and care with.
The second quote I chose has a sketchy background. I first heard these lyrical lines as part of my high school class’ mantra. It was our class quote. Yikes. Background: I hated high school. Being my naturally awkward teen self, I barely made it through those years of identity crisis. I held on and made it out alive with my head on a little straighter than when I entered. The penned words of Henry David Thoreau consist of: “Go confidentially in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” Typical graduating class mantra – Yes. Words to inspire generations – Heck yes. Written in vibrant green to make my black tote shine – Priceless. Thoreau spoke volumes to me in thirteen short words. Go ahead and recount. You know you want to now. Life is worth grabbing. Carpe diem all over again. My problem has been lining up my “dreams” with God’s dreams for me. That would explain four major changes, three years to get my associates degree, a year off to enjoy married life, one year done with one more to graduate with my bachelors, and then an end goal of cosmetology school after that. Plus, who knows what will change in the next two years. What I do know is that I need to hold my head up, realize my goals and move toward them despite the opposition. The people pleaser inside of me dies a little when I think about things like that but I need to learn to face my battles and hold onto what I believe are the dreams God has instilled within me. I need to live my life his way.
You may be wondering why I felt like talking about this beautifully ornate bag. It is currently residing as my book bag for class on Thursday nights. I felt as though it deserved to be recognized and honored.