No matter how one feels about monarchy, one must admit there continues to be a fascination with royalty. We use it in our everyday speech as a compliment. I often hear “Good morning, Queen!” from a nice young man when I am dressed fashionably or a “I hear you, Queen!” when I say something intelligent or witty. Last week, my cousin used “Queen” to describe me. I then told him my crown was bought and paid for. I just had to start wearing it. In my reply, I realized that although I was in possession of a crown, I had not been wearing it. This caused me to examine why.
It has been always been my belief that we all have crowns. I think deep down most people feel this is the case, but do we walk around on a daily basis like royalty? I didn’t. People were seeing it in me, I feel it is there, but I was not wearing my crown. When I was younger, I was known as the smart kid, teachers pet, and all those things that go along with being a bright student. Although it was a good thing, this caused me to be teased by other students. Being the smart kid wasn’t the popular thing to be. So I took off my crown. It started with self-deprecating humor and dumbing myself down to be what I thought to be more acceptable. As I got older, being smart was cool again. I reached for my crown and starting wearing it proudly. Then there were other times I felt undeserving of the crown upon my head. I would respond to a compliment not by simply saying “Thank you”, but by pointing out a flaw in myself. I wanted to let people know that although my royal blood is evident to others, I doubted it. I am ready to start wearing my crown at all times, at all functions, and in front of all people. Are you?
Some of us are afraid to touch it, some of us are intimidated power and responsibility that comes along with it, and some of us don’t feel worthy of wearing it. We all own one. Start wearing it!
I have made a huge change in my life. With this change came a lot of work that I needed to do physically and emotionally. I will first explain the physical work. I made a physical move. My son and I moved into another home. Our new home was very close to the old one so I didn’t plan on hiring movers, and there was no deadline for me to leave my old home so I could take my time. I packed our essential things gradually leaving the things we needed readily accessible in place. I had no clear-cut plan on how the move was going to get completed. I just relied on the fact that there was no rush. I had time and I was only moving a few miles away. So I packed my nonseasonal things in boxes and drove them to my home each day over that span of several weeks. I chose not to fill my fridge with groceries as I would be moving it to. Although I still had no plan on when and how I was going to do so. The same went for my large furniture items. I knew I would have to move them eventually, I didn’t want the shell out the cash to pay for movers, and didn’t feel the pressure of time.
A few weeks went by, and I was still a one-woman caravan for my manageable items, but the larger items remained and I was starting to feel the effects of being unsettled. I was rifling through packed boxes to fish out things I needed, but had packed because I believed I would only have use for them when I had completed the move. As my frustration started to build, I began to wonder why no one had offered to help. Everyone in my circle knew I was moving. They all knew how I was traveling back in forth with my mid-sized SUV packed to the hilt. They had all seen me stooped in pain from carrying boxes back and forth, loading and unloading. I was getting upset with everyone around me for watching me struggle with this move.
Then I realized that I had never asked for help. Not only that, several times in the past, I had refused help when it was offered. It didn’t click with me at the time that my constant refusal of help may have been a signal to all of my friends that I didn’t need the help. I was responsible for how they were treating me, but being the stubborn person that I am, continued to move unassisted. I moved beds, a coffee table, shelving units, boxes, all by myself. I even carried a six-drawer dresser up six stairs into my new home.
Eventually, I hired movers to move my refrigerator and sofas. I have no idea how I was able to do so much, but I paid that price. I visit a chiropractor twice a week now. I could not walk the day after I completed my move, and two days later I couldn’t stand upright. Was I proud of what I had done? Yes. Was it stupid? Yes. Was it necessary? No. Could I have asked for help? Absolutely. Have I learned my lesson? Not yet, but I’m working on it. Old ways die hard and I am certainly open to suggestions.
Today is my 50th Write on Wednesday! To celebrate this milestone, this prompt is dedicated to my 9th grade English teacher, Georgia Butler. For many years after graduating from high school and graduating from college with a degree in English, I search for all of my English teachers specifically to tell them how much they inspired me to pursue writing. Ms. Butler left my high school to take a position as a principal in a neighboring town shortly after my 9th grade year. I lost touch with her and was unable to find her. About two weeks ago, I ran into her at the grocery store! She could not believe I recognized her. It has been 30 years since the last time I saw her but, I recognized her immediately. I couldn’t wait to tell her what I was doing and that writing and education is still a huge part of my life and that I now work in higher education.
I have always valued education in all forms but, I have a tremendous amount of respect for those who teach our young children. As with my first Write on Wednesday post I honor a teacher who left a lasting impression on me, but there is also a prompt in line with the them of this post.
Today’s Writing Prompt: Write a Lesson Plan
Teaching takes time, planning, dedication, and effort. It is not a small feat to create a lesson plan. Pick any subject you like. Take into account learning styles, audience, and objectives. This is a great writing exercise to practice something different. It will work every area of your brain.
In my previous post, I ended with how I needed to gain control over my emotions. I feel that control over my emotions is something I will never have, but I do have control over how I allow my emotions to affect my life. If you follow my blog and read any number of my posts, you are familiar with my season of unfortunate events. That time in my life was a period of reflection, introspection, modification, and liberation. It was a necessity for me to gain control over how I allowed my emotions to affect my life, but I was failing at it. I looked great and no one could tell that I was going through my emotional turmoil. Actually, I made it my mission to look my absolute best, have the best attitude, and appear to have my act together. The more my world fell apart, the more I tried to hide it. I was doing a great job until my health started be affected. I was getting sick often, getting various infections, viruses, and inflammations. I was not in control of my emotions. I was still feeling these things, but I wasn’t dealing with them properly. I was pushing them under layers of stylish clothes, Ruby Woo lipstick, and halo of perfectly coiffed, but gradually thinning hair. It wasn’t until I got tired of sweeping tumbleweed of my beloved kinky coils off of the floor, that I realized something had to give. I needed to regain control.
I had to realize that I had to do something about what was happening to me. There were some things I couldn’t control in my life, but there were also things I could control and that’s where I started.
I’m a woman. As a young girl I was always encouraged to be “lady-like”. I was told to sit with my knees together and if I were to cross my legs, I could only cross them at the ankle. I was told to sit up straight and practice great posture. My mother told me all of these things not to conform to some idea of what it meant to be feminine, but for my health. She always said these things were lady-like and good for me. She told me sitting up straight would train me to have good posture and that crossing my legs only at the ankle would ensure proper blood flow. She also said these things showed everyone else that I cared about myself. She was right. In addition to these things being good for my health, they also put out a message.
My mother also taught me to let myself be heard, and not to cower in fear of what others may think. This is a lesson that took a while to learn, but it wasn’t hard. I realized I project a certain confidence that I often found lacking in myself. I have been told that I “carry myself” well, or that I look like the type of woman who “don’t take no mess”. I have taken my share of messes in the past. It often puzzled me that people at first meeting found me intimidating. It was not until I saw a video of myself walking to my car shot by a friend of mine. I was standing talk, back straight, chest out and thought to myself “Who is that?” I could not believe my eyes. I could now see what everyone else was talking about. I looked more confident than I was. This video was a game-changer for me. That day I decided I was going to be the woman I had trained my body to be.
I was never a push-over, but I wouldn’t say that I was the most assertive woman either. It took a lot for me to step up and make myself heard. I knew that part of me needed some work so I used the antiquated term of being “lady-like” to my advantage. I took a page from my mother’s book. She described the confident posture and demeanor that I now possess as “lady-like” because, I feel that she subconsciously believed that to be a less threatening term for a woman. What she was teaching me was to convey confidence in a non-threatening way. I had to learn to be assertive.
Being assertive for an introvert has its challenges, but it also has its advantages. As an introvert, I tend to sit back and observe. We introverts make lots of mental notes in our heads and tend to not act on impulse, thus making our assertion more effective. We can be calculating and often let all the dust clear before sweeping up the pieces and putting them in order. I use the “lady-like” approach. I wait my turn, smile, and never raise my voice. This is not a sign of weakness, but of control. I can maintain my composure while making myself heard and commanding respect. I have been amazed at how well this works. I believe once you lose control of your emotions, you being to crack the shell of your defense. I was able to convey a confidence and even intimidation just in the way I walked. It wasn’t because of anything I said. It was because I was in control of my body. I learned that I also had to get that same control over my emotions.
We all have some type of ritual. It could be a daily walk, a morning brew of coffee, or a complex set of steps that you must complete before moving on to the next thing. Write about one of your rituals and what it means to you. Why do you feel it is necessary? When did it start? What would happen if you didn’t do it?
The other day my son and I were driving home from church. We pass a very small, modest house and my son said “That’s the kind of house I want!” I was a little shocked as the house was very small and nondescript. My son is academically gifted and I had visions him being a CEO, famous artist, etc. Basically, I visioned him having a lucrative career and along with that, I did not envision such a tiny, unremarkable home. I asked him why that house appealed to him. He then went on to tell me big houses require a lot of work and money to maintain and he did not want to spend his time, money, and energy maintaining and extravagant house. He would much rather travel, and work just enough to afford the things he enjoys. Spending so much money on a house did not make sense to him.
This day I learned that my dreams for may child are just that – My Dreams. He has a mind of his own and, from what I can tell, a pretty good plan. I work in higher education and I often encounter parents pushing their dreams onto their children. I try to encourage the parents and the students to make decisions they will be happy with in the long run. Although I never tell my son that he shouldn’t take a certain path or judge his decisions, I do realize that I may imply my disappointment, but saying things like “Why would you want to do that? I have to be careful with my tone because I have always told my son that he would be free to do anything that does not harm himself or others. I will always take into consideration his best interests and will guide him along the way, but I will also trust that sometimes his vision for himself is what’s best for him. It is his life to live and I want him to be happy.