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stories not routinely told.

July 26, 2013

Lately it's been interesting for me to realize that we all only know as much about people as they tell us. I mean sure, we can observe things and other people can tell us things.. But I'm talking what we really know about them. About their gushy feelings and top-secret insecurities and all their insides.

When we meet someone for the first time we have no idea what they have going on in their insides. Maybe this someone is a new coworker or roommate or a boy at a party and maybe something they do seems strange or rude and that's our first impression. That's all we know. But what if that strange or rude thing is the one thing they've really been trying to change? We just caught them in a moment of weakness, and who doesn't have those?

I know they all say to be kind because everyone you meet is fighting a battle. Sometimes that's hard to remember when you don't know what the battle is or that one even exists for them right now. But it does exist! It always exists. We are all constantly going through some trial. Some small or some big thing that we are trying to abandon or gain or fix.

And if I know that about myself - that I'm always dealing with something, always trying to change and be better - why can't I seem to remember it about other people? Well I want to. I want to remember it, and when it's appropriate I want to help them with it.

.  .  .  .  .

It's hard for me to give any examples about times I've forgotten to remember this about others because, well I'm the one who forgot and I probably still haven't realized that yet. And so when I give an example of someone who didn't realize I might be going through something rough I'm not judging them or saying I'm angry about it. It's just the only way I know how to talk about it right now.

.  .  .  .  .

Maybe you do or maybe you don't know that I feel like I've been having an identity crisis ever since I moved to Utah. In high school I knew who I was. I was one of few LDS kids in my high school, I was on Student Council, I was a runner, I had a group of really fun friends - those things took up all of my time. Those things were where I invested myself and all of those things helped me feel like myself. Then I moved to Utah and everyone is LDS, I don't have any of my high school extracurriculars, running in the mountains is way hard and I don't know anyone.

It's been two years and I think I'm in at least a little bit better of a place than I was when I started at BYU. I'm.. still LDS, I have two good jobs, I'm running again, and I have some pretty incredible friends. But it's still hard. There are so many people in Provo who seem to have it all together - the cool hobbies and friends and jobs and sometimes I still feel so behind, so lame.

A couple weeks ago I was hanging out with a kid I didn't know very well. When he looked at me and asked, "Who are you?" part of me knew that he was trying to get to know me and the other part of me broke down inside and screamed, "I DON'T KNOW." I've only been trying to figure it out for two years. Some days I feel more sure of myself than others, and that day I guess I just wasn't feeling it.

Seriously, it was really embarrassing. It was supposed to be simple. I was supposed to tell this kid about my hobbies and interests and passions. But when you feel like you don't have any of those or at least feel like the ones you have aren't as good as other people's.. sometimes your brain freezes and you feel like you don't even know yourself and that's hard.

This kid probably thought I was an idiot, but how was he supposed to know about this struggle of mine if I hadn't told him?

.  .  .  .  .

So that's just one example. What I'm rambling about is how we rarely ever know as much about people as we think we do. Part of that tells me I need to get to know people better if I ever want to be there for them when they need it. And another part of that tells me that when people do open up and spill out all their insides to me, that means something. That means a lot. Heaven knows I don't share my gushy insides with just anyone. It takes a lot for that to come out of me. It takes a lot for someone to get that out of me. And when they do, when they really try to get it out and they really care about what comes out.. that means so much.

.  .  .  .  .

Narrator: As he listened, Tom began to realize that these stories weren't routinely told. These were stories one had to earn. He could feel the wall coming down. He wondered if anyone else had made it this far. Which is why the next six words changed everything.
Summer: I've never told anybody that before.
Tom: I guess I'm not just anybody.

cute. good for you, Tom.

4 comments :

Lesa Emmett said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I Love You inside and out!

Lynne said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Great post Erin - really made me think. I think we can all relate to this on some level. You're sweet!

Mandy Ray said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Erin I completely empathize with this post and really appreciate it. And the 500 days of summer quote is excellent :)

Stefan Van De Graaff said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

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