You’ve heard it over and over, “Practice what you preach” or maybe “Do as I say, but not as I do.” The most infamous which I dislike the most, “Because I said so.” I think that was my mother’s favorite answer to my millions of “Why?” questions. Unfortunately for her, I still ask the same question and she is still going crazy over it.
I don’t like making mistakes, so if I can avoid one by taking advice, I try really hard to take it and change my actions or circumstance. The advice I usually find hardest to take is my own. Isn’t it that way with everyone? A friend can ask you a question and the words flow like lava from a volcano, but if you put the mirror in front of your face to take the advice and incorporate it into your own life…HELP!
Yesterday in my post I basically gave the advice to “stop and smell the roses” because time continues to fly by so quickly and the important things in life may be slipping through the cracks. I took my own advice.
I must have appeared like a woman gone mad. I spied the perfect subject for a great blog photo to show that I was noticing the little things. I pulled into a parking space, leaped out of the car with my cell phone/camera and started chasing after the duck and her little chicks. They were not cooperative! I only wanted a picture!
I laughed when I got back into the car knowing how funny that whole scenario must have looked to a stranger. Quite satisfied with my National Geographics photo, I enjoyed the rest of my day.
The evening brought even more adventure since Turtle needed more food. There were rows and rows of turtle food jars filled with various stinky morsels on the shelves at the local pet store. Who would ever believe that turtles need such an assortment for their dining experience?
I have always gravitated to the fish and while taking pictures, much to my daughter’s embarassment, I thought about the limited life experience of being confined to a fish tank. I can hear a therapist telling me that fish do not “feel” the way humans do, but that is really beside the point. Give me a little line and go with the flow.
W.L. Bateman said, “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.” Often I find comfort in doing the same thing and going to the same places. Change is uncomfortable because we can not see past the moment we are experiencing and our fear for what “may” happen is often overwhelming. That fear holds us back from new and often fantastic experiences.
When I was an introverted fourteen year old, I went to a “special” church dance. My mother had sewn a beautiful pale pink dress with tons of lace all over it. I truly felt beautiful. There was an older boy named Scott and I just adored him, but always from afar. He was tall, blond, blue-eyed, charming and cute, but I was seriously too shy to ever talk to him. I had decided before going to the dance that I would break out of this shyness and be a new me. I would dance and have a good time.
Filled with hope and looking my best, I arrived and immediately found a chair close to the wall. I gave the term “wall flower” a whole meaning. The room was filled with laughing, happy teenagers and great music. The air was electric with the energy that youth exudes.
I continued to sit.
I watched Scott dance memorizing every grin, smile or laugh that crossed his face.
I wished that I could be more self-assured.
I tried so hard to muster the courage to be different.
If he asked me to dance, I wanted to say “YES!” and have the most glorious moment of my life.
The night wore on and the laughter continued as I sat in the same chair.
“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac began to play.
Then, like a scene from Cinderella, Scott walked over to my chair.
He “knew” that I “liked” him and unbeknownst to me, the feeling was mutual.
Scott asked me to dance.
“No thank you.”
“Please dance with me.”
“No, I can’t.”
“Yes you can!”
“No, I really dance terrible.”
I did dance horrible, but that was not the point. I could not make myself get out of the chair and dance even though I wanted to say “YES!” more than anything.
Scott knew I was shy, but he was determined. He would not leave and kept asking me and giving me reasons to dance with him.
I thought the world would end when, in the crowded room, he got on his knee and begged me to dance with him.
The tears fall now recalling the pain caused by inhibitions that held me back. I remember every nuance of the room and his face and my pounding heart.
He held my hand, told me that I was the most beautiful girl in the room, and begged me over and over to dance with him.
I just couldn’t get out of the chair.
Scott eventually gave up, Mom drove me home, and I cried into my pillow most of the night.
That experience changed my life. I became even more of an introvert and so much of life’s experiences passed me by because I simply gave in to my fear. That fear was real and almost tangible. It deprived me and gave nothing back in return.
I grew up, but every time “the” song played, I remembered, regretted and for many years, I wept.
Much later in life, I decided I couldn’t stand that fear or the introverted girl inside of me. I wanted to banish them forever! So in an all out war with myself, I was forced to leap into the total darkness of change to become the self-motivated, extrovert that I am today.
I can stand in front of any crowd, any time, anywhere and talk about anything. I will not live within a fish tank. There is so much I can experience and I will continue to step into the darkness expecting happiness.
I once tried doing the Beyoncé bootie shake dance, but my daughter told me to never do that in public or private again.
I guess I still can’t dance, but I won’t ever be a wall flower again.
Look out Beyoncé!