Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The real me, the real you

My favorite auntie is here visiting from a small town in Georgia and boy, I've missed her. Me and my mom lived with her and my cousin after both of them divorced our dads when we were around five. My mom was the mother hen, keeping order, discipline, a wholesome diet, and restricted tv. My auntie gave us freedom to be wild, Hostess Ding Dongs, and the Newlywed Game. Our household was in a perfect crazy balance. So, while we were watching my kids dance the silly dance around the room, I said to my auntie that Talia is nothing like I was as a kid and she replied "Oh, she's just like you were when your mother wasn't around. When it was just me, you let your guard down and wanted to be the leader, were bossy, and much more outgoing. You censured yourself, while Talia holds nothing back".
Huh? This is news to me. While Talia looks like my very own mini-me, I convinced myself that this strong self-confident born-leader is nothing like the quiet reserved me that I remember. This got me thinking, who really knows the real me? I'm talking the true me that speaks from my soul, full of optimism and fears, loves and struggles.

When I first meet people, I try to figure them out - find out where they are coming from - what makes them tick. I am always weary of people that present themselves way over the top, like Robin Williams or Richard Simmons. I know someone that always presents this larger than life joking flamboyant persona, yet I wonder what he is like at home (what I would give to be a fly on his wall). Does he talk to his dog that way or does he come down to earth and talk "normal"? I'm picturing a Saturday Night Live skit. It's a mystery to me.

Am I a mystery to people? Do I put up too much of a wall? Do people wonder what makes me tick? I would hope that all this work on friendships, having babies, marriage, and feeling more free in my thirties and almost forties has chipped away at that wall, allowing me to be more open, less self conscious, and more confident. Yet, I've known some friends for years and I still only show my outer self to them, mainly because they barely reveal themselves to me. Or, how come I can go years without seeing someone and reunite in person feeling immediately like no time has gone by? Still, some people get me to open up right away. Today, I had a particularly difficult morning with a way-too-early 5:32am wake up, Talia crying eight times over stupid stuff, fighting over the blue Playdoh, a 7:59pm email from my boss last night requesting a huge report this morning (should not open work email before 9am), trying to get that report done while they are fighting and crying, and just general crankiness. When my new red headed writer mom friend asked me if I was okay this morning as I was leaving (hiding) school , do you know how badly I wanted to steal her away to breakfast this morning so I could talk and share and relate about my bad day?! Maybe it's because she puts it all out there in person and in her writing that invites me to safely do the same. I like that. I need that. Luckily, I have people in my life that offer that, and I'm always happy to have more.

I admire the fact that my kids let it all hang out and don't hold anything back, although sometimes it's not always in my best interest, like when I'm trying to get work done or am running late for school. Of course, they are on their best behavior at school, or at least I hope so, and act the same around all of their friends. But, come to think of it, they do act more reserved around new people, more silly around silly friends, and more protective around those with special needs. Maybe it's more ingrained than I realize, and I'm vowing to go easier on myself. It's just a subject that no one really talks about but something that's often on my mind. And, even though only a few people (that I already know) actually read my blog, it sure is a therapeutic way to put it all out there and grow.


  1. I think people have two sides to them. While you maybe come off a bit reserved at first, it's pretty obvious the depth you have beneath. And then there me, who comes off fairly flamboyant, but underneath, I'm a pretty straight laced rule follower. Perhaps this is why two people like us tend to be friends.

    I also wouldn't worry too much about what other people think. If someone is worth their salt, they will see past whatever exterior you choose to shine. If they do not, then why bother wringing your hands over it.

    Only hand wring if it's because you, the real YOU, is feeling restless. And then, well, all I can say, is WELCOME TO THE CLUB.

    PS: Next time ask me to breakfast. Worst case, I will say no. Most likely, I'll stuff myself full of carbs and listen while Pipsqueak reorganizes jam in those spinny racks.

  2. Here I am, almost 60 yrs. old and still finding out who I am. I am just recently been able to tell the truth when a friend asks "how are you" and here you are, decades younger, learning it yourself. Life is a process and thus an adventure and some of us are lucky to find fellow travelers, like your wonderful old and new friends, to make the journey less treacherous and a lot more fun. You've always known your own mind, even when you were little, and I'm just now getting to know mine. Think of how many times your wisdom has helped me understand things? Amazing.
    xoxox Mom

  3. Intelligent women whom have it all tend to frighten the rest. I met you and knew right off that I could learn something from you and your amazing children. The mom you constructed yourself to be each time I saw you got deeper and less intimidating for me. I was happy to hear, after months, you turn to your children and tell them to stop touching you. I needed to hear that for some reason. I think it's in our public self-construct that we never truly learn whom we are or how to identify. It's usually not until we deconstruct for a moment in front of another that they get a glimpse into our true complexities and find common ground. Maybe the Amish are onto something with no make-up and mini-moo moos? Then again that's just another construct.... Thanks for deconstructing yet again in a blog and letting your friends marvel in your reality.