I really don’t think I get embarrassed all that easily.
Growing up as a middle child in a family of six children I survived a myriad of embarrassing mishaps, including skipping into a glass door in front of my entire family.
(They eventually stopped laughing and were able to ask if I was okay. ha)
As I got older, my skin got a little thicker and it took a little more to really embarrass me. (My siblings continued to find ways–we are all masters. haha)
To be truthful, I couldn’t even really remember the last time that I was really embarrassed.
Until this week.
I have never been a terribly efficient “texter”. I don’t like the text short forms, and I’m not quick on my keyboard. That being said, I text people all the time. I like that it’s a fast and easy way to reach someone, and I love to send little messages to check in with people.
Like the Hubster. I often send him little messages throughout the day just to say hi and let him know what Ruby and I are up to. Instead of writing “I Love You” to one another, we often just write “Love!” and send it back and forth.
As I’ve been preparing to come back to work, I’ve been in touch with some teachers I’ve worked with at various schools in my board. Included in that group are a couple of department heads I’ve come to know in my travels.
A few days ago I received a text touching base about my return to work, and I responded with a professional message detailing my schedule and expressed gratitude for their continued support. After proof-reading and confirming that it was an acceptable message to send to a colleague / higher-up whom I only know professionally, I sent it.
I then decided to write a quick message to the Hubster, so I switched conversations, typed out “Love!” and hit the send button.
…except that the conversations hadn’t switched. It took me a minute to realize that the conversation thread I was in was not with the Hubster and I watched in horror as my message of love was sent to a former male colleague.
I desperately tried to cancel and delete the message, all while cursing my phone and it’s little quirky glitch that I know all too well. If I try and type before the conversation has fully loaded the new recipient, it reverts back to the original thread. It started doing this a while back and while I was aware of the issue, it had never been a problem.
I stared at the screen as a little green check mark appeared beside my message of love and I wanted to melt into my couch. So, naturally I went with the appropriate response and started laughing hysterically. Alone. In my living room.
And then I did what any rational person would do to fix the situation. Instead of just sending a quick note explaining that the message had been intended for my husband, writing a mass text pretending that my phone had a major bug felt like the better option.
T’was not one of my finer moments. He works at a school I am at fairly regularly and may be able to help me find a full-time gig, so I just hope that he either a) missed the message completely; b) ignored it; or c) found it funny.
In any case, at least he knows he is loved.
While studying for my exam tomorrow morning I came across a quote that I really liked but somehow never noticed when reading through it for class. It’s from Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery:
“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
I have a good friend who is going through a difficult time, and I’m hoping that this will comfort her as it did me when I was going through my own heartache. Gene, my rock throughout my high school years, sent me this when I went though a terrible break-up, and I’ve kept it and have read it so many times as I’ve gone through challenges and struggles that I pretty much have it memorized.
You know that pain you get in your ribcage when you’re (emotionally) hurt? It kind of feels like something in your chest is going to explode. Unless maybe you could find a way to scream loud enough or cry long enough and somehow just push the pain out of you, as though it could be liquefied or turned to breath and just expelled. And you’re sure if you really could do that, you would flood the world or cause some disruption in the weather pattern because the force and depth of that pain is just SO BIG. And if the world could not survive it’s unleashing, then surely you will never survive its captivity in (what must be) your heart.
We call it heartbreak. Aptly named, really. We feel it near our heart and it does hurt so something must surely be getting irreparably damaged. We are warned about it from the beginning and watch our friends and family suffer from it even before we ourselves are its victim. We are taught that it is a bad thing. To be avoided at all costs.
Maybe we were taught wrong.
What if I told you that the pain in your chest isn’t your heart breaking, it’s just your heart stretching?
When you think about it, those situations and experiences that cause us “heartbreak” are always the ones that require us to grow in some way. Maybe we are learning to love bigger and broader. Maybe our heart is widening its boundaries to accept a new and different life. Growing pains for grown-ups.
And if you’re skeptical, think of this – don’t you get the same kind of pain in your chest when you witness something really beautiful? Like a child being born or watching that last guy cross the finish line at the Ironman?
The problem is, we’ve been taught to call it heartbreak and there’s a negative connotation to the word “break”. As a result, in seeking to avoid the deep feeling that may bring us pain we also cheat ourselves of all the joy that it will also bring us. That’s why the people who cry at sad movies are usually the ones who cry at happy ones. And some people just don’t cry at anything.
Our feelings can’t be selectively filtered, except by depth. If we keep our deepest feelings buried, then that includes the joyful ones as well as the painful ones.
If we stop thinking of the pain as something bad and think of it as a part of our growth process, maybe we wouldn’t be so afraid of it. Maybe we wouldn’t be so afraid of getting attached to people. Maybe we would stop alternately hiding ourselves away from the world and searching desperately for ‘the one’ who won’t ever cause us such pain. Maybe we’d get better at following our wildest dreams because we wouldn’t be so worried about rejection. Maybe we’d tell more people we love them without fearing that it would be seen as a romantic overture. And maybe we would become comfortable enough to hear that someone loves us without running away. Maybe we would learn to say “no” more when we normally say “yes” and “yes” when we usually say “no”. Maybe if we let our hearts out to stretch once in awhile, we would all learn how to love better – ourselves and others.
I think it’s really another matter of perspective. If what you see is what you get, why not look for the pleasure in your pain? Sometimes life hurts. But nothing is going to break.
So, go on, stretch a little.
I found this and thought it was really cute… it’s just some words to live by:
Smiling is infectious– you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin,
When he smiled I realized I’d passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile and then I realized its worth,
A single smile, just like mine, could travel ’round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected,
Let’s start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!!