Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I Will Always Eat Fries - Comparison

She should be able to put the door of her house on that side

It’s her house

He sighed

The teacher didn’t ask for a Tudor or a Split Level, she asked for a Halloween House. She should know it kills a person creativity to say, “oh, I wouldn’t have done that.”

{excerpt from last night’s dinner table discussion}

I don’t know how they teach kids to be themselves creatively in school - I really can’t recall. I do remember that the boy who sat behind in the second grade included boogers in his self portrait. And I remember being very proud of a book I wrote for the Young Author’s conference. It featured a cow, but could probably (most definitely) be considered plagiarism or a least a very strongly related version of Are You My Mother. 

I also remember comparing my book to my friends’  - though, I have to say, the fact that my sister was my illustrator and she helped me bind my 1985 Best Seller with combination of poster board and packing tape probably fueled some jealousy through the 3rd grade that year. 

I found my ability to communicate through writing at very young age, which has alway been helpful because I am , well, an awkward mess otherwise. Seriously, you should hear some of the things that fly out of my mouth when I leave the safety net of my backspace key. 

In my memories my abilities all paled in comparison to my sister’s artistic gifts. She is amazingly talented and her 8th grade art notebook left me awestruck. And pretty much that is what I remember of my sister growing up - she had the ability to touch something and be perfect at it. I, in the words of my junior high art teacher, “can’t draw a straight line with a ruler” - God rest her brutally honest soul (the art teacher, not my sister). 

Things seemed so easy for my sister. She didn’t just play the flute, she was first chair and was given the honor to play the piccolo (and, of course, played that perfectly too). She didn’t just play tennis, she was a varsity player during her freshman year of high school. I think I have written about the time I was inured playing Red Rover - I couldn’t even run. 

Let me pause for a moment because my sister isn’t happy reading this. The last thing that she wants to talk about is how much I compared myself to her - how much I underplayed my abilities because they were not the same as her’s. 

She wouldn’t want to hear it because it hurts. And it hurts not because of something she did or a way she acted or any childhood baggage that we have - it hurts because she loves me. 

This evening I felt the same hurt as my teenager went through the Instagram account of another student that she looks up to because “she is cute” and “she is talented”. And because, Shelby hasn’t fully grasped that you are only supposed to post the pretty stuff on Instagram - the unflattering pictures all go on SnapChat. As I sat next to her hearing, “I want hair like that”, “I want to look like that”, “I want a room like that”, “an outfit like that” and even “a dog that sits still like that” it hurt. 

It hurt because Shelby is so completely awesome and I want so badly for to see that. 

But then that hurt turned to Oh Crap! 

How in the world I am supposed to teach her that when I haven’t embraced it for myself. How do I kill the comparison curse in her when it is still alive and well in me? 

Disclaimer: I don’t compare my kids…crap…I may have compared one child’s progress in dance this week, to another child’s at the same age. Dang it! I do as best as I can to not compare my children to each other or to other children. And when Morgan would rather do a booty shake then a pirouette, I try my best to smile and applaud her ability to be different than the masses. 

But I, myself, am a comparison junky.

I just cannot stop!  And do a listen when my sister in-law pulls my hair after I say, “hold on I have to make myself not look fat standing next to you”? No, I analyze every inch of the photograph that is later posted to Facebook. 

This evening while frantically cleaning (read avoiding the subject) my living room I thought, “It must hurt Him.” 

Him being God and pretty much Sunday school simplicity that it hurts Him when his child thinks she is less than awesome. When she down plays her abilities because they don’t match the person next to her - or hell, the person who is three states over that she doesn’t know from Adam, but feels like her dining room sucks because of a picture that random person posted on Instagram. Seriously? Why do we still do this to ourselves? 

Shelby will put the door on that side of her house because that is the way she wants her house to look. And God made my torso longer than my legs because that is the way He wanted me to look. I can’t stand over his shoulder and say, “Oh, I wouldn’t have done that.” 

I need to practice what I preach. 

I need to show Shelby that uniqueness is good. And once you find the talent that God has given you, then embrace it, live it, love it! Don’t be ashamed of it - be you, 110%. 

ugh…that is such a hard sentence to type - it’s like typing that I will never eat french fries again. I am NOT READY!!!! 

Why can’t they identify the gene that causes comparison and cure it? When they do maybe they will find the gene that causes thick thighs (don’t be coy and say “well don’t eat fries”). 

Life is hard people. And God (and my mother) is laughing as I feel my way through raising a mini-me in so many ways. 

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