Monday, July 4, 2011

A gem? Not yet, at least...

According to the World English Dictionary, multifaceted means 1.) having many facets (such as a gem) or 2.) having many aspects, abilities, etc.

For some reason, I've been stuck on this word lately.
I've always been one who cared way too much what other people think of me.  I'm sensitive; it's not hard to hurt my feelings.  It's especially easy to hurt my feelings when I feel I am being judged; add the word "unfairly" before the word "judged" and the whole world stops spinning! 
It's not that I'm immature; not that I have unreasonable expectations of others; it's not that I have unrealistic views of the world around me.
Really? It's just who God made me!
I've worked on being less sensitive throughout my life, especially since my teen years.  And honestly, I've come a long way.  I've even learned to laugh at myself and make jokes at my own expense.  I think  I've even learned the difference between joking at my own expense and actually doing damage with insults about myself.

I've heard/read/seen a lot of posts and other writings lately about being real.  They all hit home with me because truly being real (revealing the parts of me I'm not proud to share) is something I've been grappling with for some time now.  The honest fact is, there are very few people in this world who really know me - the REAL me.  The majority of people I come into contact with only know the outside me, the "public-ready" version.
And don't get me wrong! It's not a facade; I'm not trying to be fake. I hate fake actually! But I think we all try to put our best foot forward.  Sometimes, it's more like disguising the mess and pretending everything is ok.  A devotional I read at recently, painted a good picture of this; it was titled "Removing the Mask and Becoming Real." The author, already one of my favorites, gave some background on her REAL childhood and what other people knew at the time, specifically her church family. 
And we all do it, do we not? How often do you get asked, "how are you today?" And how often do you actually say something other than "I'm fine; how about you?" or "I really can't complain."
I do that.  But those few people who actually KNOW me; can see through that.  One of them is my friend, Brandy *.  Just in the last couple of days, I unloaded on her about something I had been holding in for two whole weeks! On the one hand, it felt terrible to complain about the situation that had so angered me, but on the other it was really necessary. I'm human! And Brandy, so wisely, said to me (I'm paraphrasing), It's not unGodly to complain.  Women need other women to talk to, to share emotions and feelings with, and to just get it out with.  It's why God made women this way, because he sure didn't make men like that!

And I feel like I just took another step toward being more real.  It's hard, but slowly I'm trying to drop that veil that I put in front of the mess that is me.

In a few days, I'm going to Chicago.  I'm attending an annual business conference, but this year things are different.  I've promoted a level with the company and Brandy*, also on my team, has promoted 2 levels! I'm proud of both of us! We've worked hard, and against all odds (considering the year we've both had personally), we accomplished these goals. My team, overall , has more than doubled since last year's convention. And that's great...

BUT, I have a fear.  Recognition in general is uncomfortable for me.  Partly, because I have a hard time being proud of myself.  Partly, because sometimes it makes me feel like a fraud.  Some of the other team members only see the accomplishments I've made since last year.  They think I've got it all together.
I hear from my customers, team-mates, and party hostesses all the time...
things like:
"You are so organized,"
"You really have it all together..."
"You are so professional..."
"I wish I could be that way..."
"I could never do this as well as you do..."
While they all sound like compliments, they aren't necessarily things I like to hear.  For the most part, they aren't true.
Me? I'm not organized, don't have it all together, am not really very professional when I'm hiding in my closet trying to have a phone conversation because my kids are screaming in the background.
I am...
an unorganized mess, fumbling my way through life from one task to the next trying to get through today and start fresh tomorrow! For all my pre-planning and the best of intentions, I still run around like a maniac trying to get it all in and taken care of, before things like,  say, this trip to Chicago.

I have what  I call "show mode." What that really means is, by nature I am really shy! While I may talk Brandy's ears off because she's a close friend, it really takes me a long time to warm up to people (unless I've had a cocktail or two :-).  At my parties, I may not say very much while setting up; but when it's time to start, I have to flip that switch.  NOT BE FAKE, mind you.  I just have to gear myself up for the presentation.

In reality, many people think I'm snobby.  It's a label I've struggled with all my life! Not only do I wear my heart on my sleeve, I wear my thoughts and concentrations on my face.  Many times, people perceive me as unhappy, when in fact that's not true at all; I'm just thinking, concentrating, wondering about what comes next.  I'm EXTREMELY analytical!

So what it all boils down to is this...

while I may struggle with being 100% real 100% of the time, people who don't make the effort to get to know me, miss out.

They miss out on the gal who loves all kinds of music from hip hop to christian to classical.
They miss out on someone who's really loyal (as long as you don't betray me or gossip about me).
They miss out on someone with a great sense of humor, although it tends to slip into sarcastic states sometimes :-)
They miss out on someone who, in spite of the mess, can usually find the silver lining (even though most would classify me as an optimist; I'd say I'm a realist).
They miss out on someone who knows how to enjoy a night out and a cocktail or two without taking it too far.

They miss out on multifaceted me! 
Little by little, I'm learning to accept all of my facets ~ even the one's I'm not the proudest of!

 *not her real name; she knows who she is :-)

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