20 May 2012

People are People

Pete is on the board of a local charity organization. Every other year they host a formal, black-tie gala to raise funds for community service groups. They invite the high rollers from the city, businesses pay $250 a plate for their executives to attend and bid on expensive auction packages. It's big.

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. 


  1. I love this, Jane. Your posts never cease to inspire me. You always seem to have such a classy, chin-up tone, and I don't know if you realize how much I admire you for that. Thanks for the great perspective. And ... go YOU rockin' it at that gala, girl!

    1. Thanks Angel! I'm glad that I can come across with a chin-up tone, because I'm sure you can imagine I don't always feel that way. But I do really WANT to feel that way. (Gotta fight off that nasty self-pity I struggle with.)

  2. This is so true. We all have our insecurities hiding under our skin and put-together appearance.

    PS--I will now be singing Depeche Mode the rest of the night. ;)

    1. Yep, it's been stuck in my head since I wrote it. :)

  3. Jane, this was a really cool post. Funny how the things you are learning from the world of porn addiction can come to your rescue at a gala! I'm so glad you shined along with the best of em'!
    I loved this, "I focused on beauty instead of fault-finding." I think this is key in our marriages, our friendships, and basically all encounters. It's simple, but key in how we treat others. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. It's true- when I thought about this post I thought "This doesn't really have to do with addiction" and yet I only had these ideas and hopes because of the things I've learned and people I met through this mess.

  4. Way to go Jane! This post made me get teary eyed.... THIS:

    "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"

    Isn't SOOO strange that all of the sudden, the world seems so much differently than it did before, even that it did just yesterday? Every single day I am learning and growing and changing and am continually being in AWE at the amazing people I am meeting... it's unreal how much my life has changed in 2 years.... I feel like an entirely different person almost... well, not really, but just more compassionate and aware I'd say.

    You are helping so many women Jane... you are enlightening and strengthening and I bet, if I was a fly on the wall, that you were GLOWING at the gala. I am so proud of you...!!! And I am even more proud that you are rising above and becoming a light to those around you, when it could be so easy to shrivel down and hide behind all this crummy stuff we endure.

    People are people. And behind every single smiling face is a story... a story of some sort... isn't it awesome when we look past our initial thoughts and discover what we would have never guessed? Or deemed to be impossible?

    AWESOME post girl. I loved this!

    Thank you for the kind words... they mean so much to me... I feel that I am no different than any of us, but I will graciously accept your thoughtfulness Jane. From the bottom of my heart.

    Love you lady... Honored to be your friend.

    1. Sorry for the typos and grammatical errors. :) I'm sure you got the drift :)

    2. No worries about typos. It's the SOUL of your words I love. :)

  5. I started bawling when you included me in that list of women! Really? Thank you.

    Such a powerful thing to learn in life. That we are all people, high and lows included. And we all want to feel good about who we are and what we contribute to the world. The pure love of Christ, right? He didn't care who you were, you were awesome, loved and included. I'm so lucky he isn't a respecter of persons or I'm afraid i wouldn't be on his list of friends.

    love you!