Dull Your Sparkle

Have you ever noticed when you meet new people, start a new job, or go into a new situation, you try to tone down your personality? I know I do. I am often quiet, dress “normal” and try to be as bland vanilla as I can. It is only after I know people for awhile that my sparkle starts to break through and people get to see the “real me” – sparkle and all.

I’m normally a very talkative, sarcastic, and opinionated person. I am not one to bite my tongue or agree for the sake of agreeing. I do like to keep peace or find middle ground. But I am not willing to go against my own grain just to fit in. Which isn’t always been. I desperately wanted to fit in when I was little, and especially in middle school. I watch my youngest son struggle in 6th grade to find his niche. To find a way to fit in and yet still be himself. And it’s a little sad for me. He is a wonderful kid. He loves to make bad jokes, talk Minecraft, and laugh. He is fascinated by tons of subjects and loves to talk. He talks over his age because he has an awesome vocabulary. Which to me is a good thing. But apparently it is not so good to kids his age. So I hear him try to use the slang he hears the other kids use. Not always successfully. But it is amusing in a sad way.

I think it was about 5 years ago when I stopped really caring what other people thought of me. But I’m also getting up there in years. I dyed my hair blue, let my sparkle shine, and stopped worrying who knew I was a Pagan. I started talking about my beliefs, my opinions, and my life. I stopped worrying so much about what people would think or say about me. Because “those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter”. My youngest son told me one day “Mom, I’m so glad you are so brave.” I asked him what made me so brave, as I was simply sitting at the table doing bills. Now I realize that trying to manage our bills with our income is akin to slaying dragons, I didn’t consider it brave. So he told me “You must be brave to go out each day with blue hair and not care what people say”. Hmm, I guess to him it was a pretty amazing thing. I personally just considered it part of being me.

The saddest part to me is that I had to wait until i was almost 50 to sparkle. I know not everyone worries about fitting in. I also know that there are many who sparkle all the time. But for many of us it is a struggle to balance letting their light shine and not blinding those around us. At least not before they know us. We are not an accepting society. We as a whole are judgmental and critical of others. Especially as children. Elementary and Middle school can be cruel and harsh times for kids. Not that high school is a cake walk. How do we teach our kids to accept others and let their own light shine? I guess it starts with adults who are comfortable enough to let their own personality sparkle.

Remembrance

Usually on 9/11 I try to remember. I try to remember those who lost their lives, those who gave their lives trying to save others, those who survived. I don’t try to figure out why it happened, hate those who did this or figure out whether our government was involved. I don’t try to fear if it is going to happen again. I use the day to be grateful for those I have in my life who I love. I try to look at the world around me and feel blessed.

Yesterday I was working my 15 hour shift at work. It is a long, challenging day in my work week and I have a lot of paperwork to do. The kids I work with keep me very busy and don’t allow a lot of time for reflection. My day starts at 6am and often doesn’t end until after midnight. But each time I wrote the 9/11 date on a piece of my paperwork I remembered again what day it was. It seems so long ago. Another place, another time, almost a whole other life. Lots of things have changed in my life and I don’t really think I’m the same person I was on that day. But one thing has not changed. I still have many people in my life who I love and hold close.

I try to avoid going on the social media sites and sifting through all the postings that happen on 9/11. All the pictures, videos and comments. Not because they don’t matter, but because I always end up crying. But I have noticed something – they seem to be fewer and fewer each passing year. We remember – how could we forget? But what do we remember? Has it just become a day to mark on our calendar? Another day when we honor those who were heroes? How many of us truly stop and remember. Stop and think about that day. Stop and replay the happenings in our head and in our hearts and truly feel grateful for our loved ones, our lives, and our safety? I’m not saying we should spend the day wallowing in sorrow or grief. Although I’m sure there are some who do feel the lose, the pain strongly. Those who lost someone close to them. Those who were touched directly. My heart does go out to those who did. I am sure the pain is still there.

But ask yourself – did you remember yesterday? Did you take any time to stop and reflect upon your life, your blessings, your loved ones? Since I didn’t get the chance yesterday, I decided to stop today and take some time to reflect back and think about my life. And remember that I am a truly lucky person. I have my family, my life, my job. I am able to reach out and hug my kids, tell my parents I love them, spend time with friends and family. Not everyone can say the same. So while the fear may fade, the posts may get fewer, and some may forget, I remember. Do you remember?