Pete sort of awkwardly backed into his position on the executive committee several years ago, and last night was the third event we've attended. But it was a new experience for me. In the past I have felt uncomfortable, out of place and terribly insecure. I lost my identity in a sea of women with plunging necklines, backless dresses and much much older husbands, who were all drinking themselves silly. I talked only to those I was introduced to, and those who sat at our table. It was exciting, but I felt like a timid mouse amongst prowling cheetahs.
But motivated by Mara, who once sat next to the founder of Google at brunch, and Jacy, who is determined to make friends everywhere, I decided to approach last night's event with new eyes. What I'm about to say are words that a year ago, would have just been more words to me. But a combination of life circumstances and inspiring people have given these words meaning.
People are people. They have stories, feelings, souls. Last night I looked past the cleavage (figuratively) and into their faces, and I talked in an engaging and meaningful way. I made eye contact. I smiled a lot. I focused on beauty instead of fault-finding. And the entire evening passed in a pleasant and enjoyable manner.
I have a brother-in-law who has made the assertion that wealthy/famous people “crap in toilets just like us.” While this is obviously true, sometimes we combat our feelings of inferiority by belittling others or demeaning them. By noticing their flaws, we think we will feel less inadequate ourselves. But what I think I'm getting a glimpse of is equality. Neither inferiority or superiority. Just plain equality. Not only are wealthy people tolerable, I discovered more often than not, they are friendly, kind and actually interested in "little ol' me."
It sounds so obvious, but these ideas are just beginning to manifest themselves in my behavior.
I can't help but feel that when we can drop all our baggage of insecurities and judgements, it is easy to see how we are all united for a cause. I'm proud of Pete for being a part of this organization and I'm grateful that I could take part its noble efforts last night.
Before I sign out, I'll just mention the two things I tried to keep in mind last night, (and even today at church.)
1. Own my self-worth. I had to have enough confidence to see myself as an equal, to value my own contributions to conversations and the influence of my mood/vibe on others.
2. Appreciate everyone's worth. They matter too, the same as I do. They are more than the immediate impressions or stereotypes I am tempted to assign to them.
If you have read A Blog About Love much, you will recognize themes from Mara. I want to be sure to give her due credit for the wisdom and example of her life and stories that have greatly influenced me. Along with: Mac, who first introduced me to ABAL and is incredibly inclusive, Jacy who has a heart so big and so compassionate I can hardly believe it fits inside her, and Scabs who probably without intending to do so frequently reminds me that love comes first, there will be time for advice later.
**There are others who I admire, who inspire but these are the women I thought of today who have most affected me in this area of my life.