It has been so enjoyable taking time this month to write about some of the many special people that I love. New friends and long time friends, acquaintances and folks I would love to spend more time with. They’re all special in their own unique ways.
But I have to admit there’s one person I’d been thinking of writing about, but didn’t really want to. She’s definitely My People, but I have mixed feelings about her.
The best way I can describe her is with the word hybrid. I’ve used that word to talk about her so many times throughout the long years I’ve known her. Although she seems like a complete extrovert, she’s got an almost equal introvert part to her personality. I’ve only recently come to understand that there is a term for that (ambivert) but I just call it a hybrid. She’s usually bubbly and cheerful so people are surprised when they find out she works hard to fight off depression several times a year. I don’t call that by it’s proper name either. I refer to it as “ the funk” or “the grey cloud” because that’s just what it’s like for her.
She’s also a hybrid when it comes to getting things done. Some things she tackles head on, breaking them into small, manageable steps to get whatever it is taken care of efficiently. I’ve noticed that usually happens more when she’s working with a group of other folks. She’s kind of a natural leader, which she doesn’t really love, but it seems like she finds herself in those places anyway. She tries not to be bossy, but she’s pretty sure she can come across that way.
Now when it comes to personal things, procrastination is definitely her game. She really hesitates to even call it procrastination though, because honestly, she just works a whole lot better under a really tight deadline. Her creativity flows better that way. I’ve seen her pull off some of her very best work after an all-nighter many times. A six-month-long window is no kind of deadline to her at all. May as well be a prison sentence for her creative juices.
So yeah, she can be a pretty frustrating gal. Like how she eats super healthy and loves to cook whole, natural foods, right in between eating greasy take-out Chinese food and cupcakes from a box. I don’t get her. That girl has got some issues to work out when it comes to food. There’s something all tangled up in her head about that. It’s kind of how she was taught to love people. Feed them delicious things and you’ll make them happy. That was kind of the unspoken lesson she learned.
This girl does love people. For the most part anyway. She’s super thankful that God has given her the ability to see past what’s on the outside with a lot of folks. It’s helped her understand that age or skin color or clothing are terrible yardsticks with which to measure people. But seeing right into folks? That’s also kind of tough to manage. She can get disappointed easily because people don’t always know their lines in her script. So, there’s that.
She’s gone on ahead and diagnosed herself with adult ADD. I guess that works. I mean, why bother going to a doctor anyway when she has no intention of taking medicine, and besides…how could that many free, online Adult ADD Checklists possibly be wrong? At least knowing this is her deal helps her cope with frustrations about herself. Like how she can get hyperfocused on certain things and block everything else out for hours. Or how she has to say tape measure, tape measure, tape measure over and over again all the way to the kitchen drawer if she’s to have any hope of remembering why she opened the drawer when she gets there. It’s like Rain Man up in here with all that.
Girl’s also got some big feelings. A lot of her life is lived in exclamation points. She doesn’t understand people who don’t get outwardly excited about fun things, or those who don’t cry at the sad parts in a movie. She doesn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to have a party for their birthday. Seriously, she doesn’t get that one bit. Must be the extrovert part.
She’s late for stuff more often than not. She’s not trying to be inconsiderate, she’s just usually trying to check one more thing off the to-do list before she heads out. But still. She doesn’t like that about herself at all. She’s a classic over-committer, but she’s getting better at that. She’s learned the value of the word “no” over the past few years and her heart is healthier for it.
She’s got some serious quirks, but she’s not all bad, I guess. She doesn’t always get it right, but she tries really hard to remember people’s birthdays and important stuff. She loves making gifts and watching people’s faces light up when they open them. That’s one of her very favorite things in the whole wide world. She also likes when puppies wag their tails. She always wished you could tell a person’s feelings as easily. She’s a big fan of taking long, windows-down drives in the spring with music cranked up loud. And there’s just no telling who you’ll find on her iPod playlist. Just when you think you know what’s coming up next, here comes a Pantera or Lauren Hill or Etta James song to keep you guessing.
Yeah, she’s kind of complicated when I think about it, but she really wants to be more simple. She’s been working hard on letting her yes be yes and her no be no. She’s trying to unlearn some false stuff about herself, distinguishing between what people tell her and who she really is. She’s reframing her dreams into what they could look like in this new normal of hers that she’s living in. She’s trying to see past the immediate into the future and keep up the hope.
That girl gets in my head a lot, and sometimes in my way. When she really gets going it would be so easy just to lump her into my list of toxic people, and say forget about it. It would be a lot easier to walk away from her if she didn’t also live in my body. She can be frustrating, but I have to figure out ways to deal with her.
She’s the real me. The one I have to live with all the time. The one who can’t help but be one of My People, like it or not. But I’m learning to like her a bit more all the time. Mostly because I’ve learned that to love My People well, I have to start with That Girl. Jesus helps me with that. He reminds me of her real identity when it seems like she’s just a person who goes to a job and does laundry and says some stuff here and there. He reminds me to give her some grace too.
When I love her better, accept the difficult parts of her personality, and gently nudge her toward becoming the best version of who she was made to be, then I start to do the same for all of My People. And that makes putting up with her worth it.