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Wallflower.

People have the wrong impression of me.  Truly.

From what I can gather, most folks think I am loud, brazen and I speak my mind.  It’s true, I am all that. As I have gotten older, I have gotten more confident in my voice.  I have become comfortable with my size, my sexuality and just who I am.  I can be all of those things…when I am convicted by someone else’s ideology, when I am cornered or when I become protective of those I love and those I stand with.  I become the person that others think I am.

I haven’t always been that person.  As a younger person, I was shy, awkward and completely invisible. I preferred it.  see me, in the corner, big glasses, braces, no boobs, too skinny and painfully socially awkward.  I know this, because with the advent of Facebook and the ability to tag people in pictures, I’m in very few.  My thing was band. I was a decent student and I loved to read.  I didn’t work at the cool retail stores at the mall, I worked at Target…I worked at the rodeo.  And I absolutely love my history. I love who I was. I needed to be that person, it made me stronger, it made me depend on an inner strength that let me know I was…well, okay.

when my baby sister was born, I faded into the background.  That sounds way harsher than I mean it…I willingly went there, even at three…I’ve always been the one in the shadows, watching, protecting.  First with my baby sister, the with my own children.  Don’t believe me, ask the guy I pulled out of the Vanston Field House and made cry…all because he made MY baby sister cry and called her fat.  He cried like a three-year old.  I think he’s still scarred by it.

once I found out I was pregnant with my daughter at a relatively young age, I knew…I just knew…there was another life I was responsible for, that would depend on me and the strength I had within me.  To love her, to protect her and to teach her.  She has been the most lasting love I have ever had and my daughter is my North Star.  She will always be my point home.  I would walk through fire to protect her.

I found myself pregnant again, with the son.  I knew there was enough room in my heart for him.  That I had something to give him.  To teach him.  I knew my love for him would be as different and yet as ferocious as my love for my daughter.  He is my knight in shining armor and my happy.  I smile when I see him.  I tell him I would slay dragons for him. And I totally would.  I would even run….I never do that!

I have a family that defines me.  They are loud, crazy, opinionated and typically looking at me to fix something.  My role in this insanity has been the fixer with a dose of crazy and irrational to level the playing field.

as I have gotten older, I’d like to think I’ve gotten wiser.  I have opinions on everything, sex, love, politics, religion…all of it.  I don’t normally offer these without provocation and I can do so quite passive aggressively at times, other times, I will slap you in the face with it…depends on the mood, the subject and how passionate and/or irritated I am at that moment.

A couple of years ago, I took the Myers Briggs Personality test.  My teacher pulled me aside during a break and asked me a question…how did I feel when I got home at the end of the day, was I completely exhausted?  I just looked at him, dumbfounded, and said “yes!”

He went onto explain that my test results were so hard to read, that my results were all so close to the center, my individual traits were so balanced, that when he got the results before I got there, he made a note to meet with me to discuss it.  He explained that I am actually quite introverted naturally. That my job, my role in my family and what others needed me to be was extroverted.  That over the years, I had adapted to being what the others needed, more so than myself. That by going against my natural tendency to be introverted, I simply “wore myself out!”

But at the same time, I was so personable and friendly, he found it quite amusing.  That here I was, in his class, being extrovert extraordinaire and my test didn’t fit who was in front of him.  He had seen it before, but not often, most folks were true to their personality traits.  I prefer to be called an enigma, but he laughed and said “no, that’s not it!”

He told me I had natural leadership abilities and instincts that were the complete opposite of the spectrum for my personality. I was naturally more comfortable with facts…that my reading obsession has sharpened my instincts and decisiveness….and those abilities made me more comfortable as an extrovert in a business setting.  And with being this way, I was a bit of an overachiever and control freak.  I grudgingly agreed and still do.  damnit.

Ask Bossman…I am a complete know it all at work. And I’m always right.  Go ahead, ask him…I’ll wait.

The wife and I were talking about it tonight, that when I get in a social setting, I seem to shut down.  She called it “act butthurt”…I had to explain that as I walk into certain situations, MOST situations, I have to get centered, I have to get my bearings and shrink back a bit, just to take it in.  I explained that at a party, I can sit in the corner and watch everything and not speak to more than two or three people…and have a blast.  I will sit and watch. I will make up stories in my mind about people’s lives, what they do, where they go, what their relationships are like.  I make up stuff about who does the laundry, who pays the bills, who apologizes first in an argument…just stuff.  Some may be dead on, some may be whimsical. But I am completely at peace.

Once I get comfortable, I will come out of my shell. I always do.  Sometimes it’s quicker, depending on alcohol…but I digress.

The wife gets it.  She centers me and accepts me, quirks, waistline and bad eyesight. She is my passion in life and my forever love.  I told her, you just need to hold my hand, hold it until I let go….when I do, I’m okay.  She worries when we are out, if I am quiet, whether or not I am having a good time…I have to explain that I am, simply watching her work a room, interacting with people, watching other interact. Just let me get my bearings.  She is simply the ying to my yang.  Perfect fit for me.

I can be at home at night, sitting on the couch, the son in his room, doing God knows what (he IS 15) and the wife at the other end of the couch…some nights, we don’t even turn on the TV.  Some nights we barely speak…and I am completely okay with this.  It’s not out of anger, it’s out of a need for the quiet.  Even the son will come in the room, sit and just read, play on his iPod or just relax, all without saying  word.  It’s peaceful and connected.  Not many see this side, many more won’t believe it.  Yet, it’s there.

yes, I am a self admitted wallflower.  I will bloom, when it’s my time to shine.

just watch….me.

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