Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Am Who I Am

I am often accused of making mountains out of molehills, of making too much of things. It is probably true of me, but I no longer feel the need to apologize for it. It is who I am, it is what makes me me. I have embraced it, created a blog so that others, if they so choose, can see the way I go from small to big, how exactly I reach the mountain from the molehill.

It begs the question, though, when others accuse us of thinking about things in a way they might not understand, that they abhor even, but that we like in ourselves, what to do. It is hard to explain to others why we finally, late in life, are beginning to accept our defining traits, appreciate them even.

The problem is, we want others to see us positively, to appreciate us, to want to know who we really are. Though it's not always possible, it is certainly something to strive for.

Yesterday morning I spent some time with my friend, the school librarian, looking for library supplies but also chatting about the trials and tribulations of being who we are. We are enmeshed in one another's lives only through storytelling, which allows us the distance sometimes lost when meshing more completely with friends. It is great. I owe her a gold star nearly every day.

In the library, I did in fact give a gold star I owed, was reminded of it by a young teacher I had seen the day before wearing a full glittery party dress and heels, to teach. I had complimented her heartily, giggling at how great it was. She was a little bit of glammed-up Dorothy on an otherwise dreary day. I had told her she deserved a gold star, that I would get her one later 'cause I didn't have them on me. She reminded me of this.

"You definitely deserve it," I said as I placed a big gold star on her shirt. "Great dress, good for you for wearing what you feel like wearing, whatever makes you feel happy."

"Some days, if you're feeling down, you just need to dress up..." she said.

I couldn't agree more. My one friend, knowing I subscribe to this theory, is skeptical when she sees me all dressed up.

"You okay?" she'll say, leaning in as if there might be something I have to share. For the record, it's not always true. I always like to get dressed up, it's only sometimes that I really need to.

I headed, then, straight to the gym, eschewing a coffee shop as I am currently, sadly, steering clear of coffee. The GERD rears its ugly head...I walked in and handed my card through the window to a young trainer I had seen around, said hello to on occasion.

"Aaaah," he said, taking the card and smiling, "now I know your name...Stephanie Thompson." As he ran my card through the computer, he looked at the screen. "And I know your address too..." he added flirtily.

I laughed. "Uh oh. Am I in danger now? I'm a little scared..."

He laughed and buzzed me in, narrowing his eyes dangerously.

I went about my workout and, after a bit, the trainer walked through the weight room where I was busy on the Lats Pulldown, the machine I believe helps me fight against the inevitable pull of gravity.

"Oh, hey," he said casually, "happy belated birthday!"

At this, I threw back my head in laughter. "Wow. Is there anything you don't know about me now?" I said.

"Nope," he said, waving, back to the front desk.

A little stalkerish, granted, but funny. Very funny. It is, to me, the ultimate compliment, when people want to know about me, when they seek to get the information that will help them know me. And this guy was straightforward, honest in his interest. He could have looked at all my stats and not let on, like we all do all the time, googling who we are curious to know about in private...but he didn't. For that, for his boldness, I gave him a big gold star on my way out.

He was excited, had seen the stars on others at the gym. Now he was in the Gold Star club. He knew, about himself, that he was deserving, in this case, for wanting to know me.

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