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“I think that somehow, we learn…”

2 Comments 25 May 2010

Thus begins the quote that has prompted much discussion and thought between myself and several of my friends, including my husband.  It is a quote by a remarkable woman, one that is either thought a hero or not so much, depending on your political affiliation.  Her name is Eleanor Roosevelt and if you spend just a little bit of time reading about her or reading her writings, I promise, regardless of your political leanings, you will be intrigued and, if you allow yourself, impressed.

The quote in its entirety reads like this, “I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.”  I was introduced to the quote by my fifteen year old daughter.  She is an artist and makes unique projects for her girlfriends as gifts and she often incorporates quotes that she finds enlightening or encouraging.  I saw this one at the top of her quote list on her art easel and it stuck.  The reason was simple, it was true.  This comment that Mrs. Roosevelt (You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life) had made, that someone had written down and preserved as her wisdom through the years, has become somewhat of a mantra for me as I remind myself that I am learning who I am, always, and I am living with that decision.

The more I learn and rest in that reality, the more accepting I am of who I am, who I was made to be, the more at peace I am with myself and with others.  I am completely unique.  And yet I am constantly comparing myself with someone in every single area and aspect of my life.  In each and every role of my life there is a standard bearer, there is an “A team” girl that always makes me look like I suck.  But the wisdom in Eleanor’s quote is this, I don’t have to be A team girl in every aspect of life, I have to be Jorja.

I need to learn who Jorja is and I have to live with that truth.  I can’t live comfortably with who I am until I know who I am now can I?  This has been so true of my life experience.  I’ll give you a for instance.  I took shop (you know, where you build bookends and a cutting board shaped like a pig & do leather crafts) instead of home economics when I was in 7th and 8th grades.  I love to fix things, build things and I am really great with technical stuff.  I can hang curtains, load an ipod, set up a computer, do minor plumbing, wiring, well, you get the picture.  However, give me a cookbook and you might just make me cry.  It’s not that I can’t do it if you put a gun to my head, but I really, really don’t want to do it and I don’t enjoy it!  Now, I love to eat it, but making it, no thanks.

My best friend, on the other hand, she could give Julia Child a run for her money, Martha Stewart a real lesson or two and maybe save Paula Dean from a heart attack?  She is just all that, and she keeps her house like, well, not like me!  So, I am not my best friend.  I don’t have her gifts and she doesn’t have mine.  I have learned that about myself.  But even bigger, and far more important, I am not a bad mother or wife because I lack a flair for domesticity and have a gift for techno-whatever!  Nor is my best friend an idiot because she can’t set-up the Wii or load her kids ipods the night before Christmas!  It is who I am and it is who she is, it is how we are both wired, so I am learning and she is learning, each of us to live with our respective realities by not comparing ourselves to each other.  Instead, I appreciate her gifts, and I value mine, and visa versa.

I also teach my children to value mine and encourage them to value their own, even if they aren’t the “norm.”  It is important that we teach our children to value their own giftedness, regardless of what that giftedness may be.  Each of them is different and our culture can press in pretty hard on them, and us, setting up some very distinct boundaries, at a ridiculously young age about what and who they should be.  For Pete (& Susie’s) sake, let them be who they really are, let them be who they were made to be and love them for it!  I want to keep talking about this…more next time.

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2 Comments so far

  1. April says:

    JUST what I needed to hear this morning for so many reasons I won’t go into on your blog. You get the picture. Thanks my friend.

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things to make you wonder~

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...” Annie Dillard

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