I discover pieces of myself every so often. Kinda like finding the ring in the cracker jack box, a little gem in the middle of nuts and fluff.
Ever since I was young, my parents have said I was “anyone’s dog who would hunt with me.” Which is a fairly redneck way to say I change who I am for the people around me. It used to bug me that they said it…still does I suppose…but I’m finally beginning to realize it’s true. They were RIGHT! Aargh. Hate it when that happens. I’m pretty sure I do it because ever since I was a pre-teen, I’ve been starved for good friends. All along the way, I always had a “best friend”…but it was usually that they were my best friend and someone else was theirs. I realize that now, 17 years later.
It’s pretty discouraging to discover, after 25 years, I don’t fit in anywhere.
Yesterday I was making a long drive and had a lot of troubling thoughts running through my head. “I need to talk to someone,” I thought. But then I spent an hour trying to think of who knows me well enough to listen and offer pertinent advice. No one came to mind.
My dad thinks this is because I don’t know who I am.
Which is totally plausible. So how does one go about discovering who they are and what they like without appearing like a chameleon?! Do I simply use what I DO know is really me as a springboard and just exclude the rest of it if it doesn’t fit? That doesn’t give me much to work with. And what if I want to broaden my horizons?
Things I know are truly me…
I know that I love ministry where I can see a tangible result. Like CityGate, where I’m physically feeding and talking to people in need. Or like sponsoring individual children with Compassion, where I can be a part of their lives, even if it’s only through a written letter now and again.
I know that I love working with kids because kids accept you and adore you for the little things. I don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars and throw elaborate parties to get kids to love me. I just have to listen to them, encourage them, stretch them into becoming better people (and maybe throw in some dollar candy bribes for Bible memory) and they remember me for a lifetime.
I know that music was the one inspiration that got me through 10 years of friendlessness and teenage emotions. Why I don’t make this a priority is ridiculous (would help if I had a keyboard in my apartment I suppose). My heart is at peace when I accomplish a beautiful piano piece or sing a worship song.
I know that I love books. Reading them, writing them. Doesn’t matter. I used to get grounded as a kid for reading when I had other things to do. I have always wanted a collection so big, that it fills an entire room. My dream house will have a library.
I know that I love to cook. And even though I like to eat healthy, I don’t like to COOK healthy. LOL. I prefer to make things that are rich in real butter and cheese and calories, but that make people smile and satisfied when they eat it. I don’t like to cook for just me either…that’s boring.
I love to take pictures, edit them and build scrapbooks. Sometimes it’s fun to be in them too. I also love crafting ANYthing from hand. If only I actually finished my projects.
I love hats and scarves even if people make fun of me for wearing them. I love wearing heels. I always buy my jeans at Buckle not because anyone has told me to, but because I like them best.
Problem with all those things that I know I love is…I don’t know anyone else who particularly shares those passions. “You’re looking for friends in the wrong places,” dad says. Really? Where AM I supposed to look, if not in the church, the workplace and other places I frequent? Or maybe I’m not supposed to be looking?
Or maybe if I simply put my foot down on the things I know I DON’T like to do, maybe it would eventually give way to meeting new people or discovering old ones, who share my passions. Maybe if I quit making all my social events things like going to movies and parties, I’d find the people I can relate to better.
Lots of maybes.