When I decided to start blogging, my husband and I had a minor difference of opinion about how good it would be for me. I wanted to do something that I felt like I was good at – something that would afford me a sense of accomplishment. My day-to-day job of parenting, while rewarding, isn’t real big on that. It’s a long-term proposition…my parents are just now deciding whether or not they did a good job! So I started writing down some of the little rants I used to aim at the shower head and waiting to see if anyone would read them and tell me how much they like them. Adam was really worried that this avocation of mine…which is currently standing in for any sort of paid vocation…would cease to be valuable to me if I quit getting feedback. He may be right about that. Thankfully, I have gotten feedback and most of it has been positive. But now here I sit, wanting to write something so that someone will read it without really having much to say. I know. I don’t have much to say. Don’t die. I’m sure once my sinuses clear out, there will again be room for thoughts in my head. So it seems to me that it is only fair to warn you that I am indeed doing this partially because I really like attention. I know. Shocking. Here’s the hard part though…I don’t just want people to know of me; I want to be known well. And I want everyone to acknowledge that I’m right. About everything. Yep. I am indeed an absolute control freak perfectionist know-it-all attention hound. (This is the point where my parents shake their heads and wonder where they went wrong. Then they remember that it is difficult to mold control freak perfectionist know-it-all attention hounds, and they wipe their respective brows in relief because I’m not their fault.) Don’t worry, I don’t think that it’s a good thing to be a CFPK-I-AAH. I may embrace the reality of my character traits, but I try not to fall into all the worst aspects of them. For example, I know that I’m not in charge of everything – like when I get sick or when someone goes into labor or when my favorite authors publish new books. And I know I don’t do everything, or even anything, perfectly – like parenting, cleaning, decorating, cooking, writing, or even loving. And yes, my default setting is to speak authoritatively about any and everything I know – even I get annoyed at me – but I do know that I don’t know it all…like how to comfort someone in their grief, or how to help my children when they struggle, or how to fix the healthcare system and the economy. And I know that I don’t need to be the center of attention all the time – I don’t even want to be some of the time! It’s a lot easier to want attention when one has a reasonable expectation of the recognition being positive…which is so not always the case.
So, I know a whole bunch of stuff that I don’t really necessarily approve of in myself. Is GI Joe really right? Is knowing half the battle? What do I do with this stuff I know? How do I use it to make sure that I don’t alienate people? I still feel like the 13-year-old I once was who made mental notes of all the things I was never going to do or say. Though I have indeed done or said lots of those things, I’m still making notes in my head about who I’m not going to be. But not being something isn’t very helpful. No one wants to be known as “not-something;” we want to be known for who we are. I could describe my husband as a not-doctor or a not-engineer…but that’s not informative about him at all. So I guess I can’t just be a not-perfectionist or a not-attention hound. Adam is a pastor. That could make me a pastor’s wife. And I am. And I’m not as bad at it as I feared I might be…. But I still don’t really want to be defined by what someone else does any more than I want to be defined by what I’m trying not to be. (I suddenly feel like I’m writing the paper from The Breakfast Club. Am I the brain, the freak, the criminal, the princess, or the jock?) I guess knowing might be half the battle…but half a battle doesn’t get me anywhere. I’m a woman, hopefully a lady, and a mom and a wife. I’m a reader and writer and a talker. I’m a truth-teller and I can often fake being a mind-reader – at least with people I know pretty well. And because I am not perfect, I’m an apologizer and beggar of forgiveness. I hope I am also a granter of it. And because I am a hopeless fan of cultural references, “When everything’s made to be broken, I” (like Johnny Rzeznik) “just want you to know who I am.”