This all started on January 19th. I frequently joke to both men and women that most men really never mature beyond 7th grade. This comes up for a variety of reason in a variety of situations. When your husband farts at the dinner table and is laughing as loud as the kids is one. Or when you when you realize the belching contest isn’t being led by your son. These are just a few examples but you get what I mean. It turns out that women can regress to 7th grade, too, but in a typically more emotional fashion. My first job was to invite 8 -10 women to participate in my circle. Preferably, I was asked to find people who knew me in different capacities- I guess this would paint a clearer, more well-rounded picture of me. So that list of local people was kind of hard. The insecurities of junior high came flooding back- only this time it wasn’t about my new jeans--will anyone notice? Will they see how my comb matches my shirt? No. It seemed so serious and what if those who I felt were my dearest wouldn’t or couldn’t come? I realize it wasn’t a funeral or a wedding or even a significant celebration, but it many ways it seemed way more important. I included people farther away- my sister for one, but knew the distance skypng thing might be too weird. So I focused locally, on those who’ve been around me in the last 7 years in Winona. I knew I had 3 that I could totally count on and these 3 women were the people (in town) who knew me best. But five more? I have friends and working at the store has introduced me to many community people and a long-standing book group has really given me some rich relationships- but it just seemed like so much to ask -- give up three hours of their life for me? It really seemed like the most selfish thing I could do. I kept trying to turn the tables. I would have done this for any one of the people I invited. Truly. So…I just asked and everyone said yes. How crazy that seemed to me-perhaps I wasn't quite the schmuck I tend to think I am. And if I am, I apparently hide it well.
The Big Night:
I can't say that attending this felt like an execution, but I did feel a bit like that poor dead frog you dissected in junior high. People were going to dig into me and see what they could find. But it really wasn't like that. No...if it weren't for the task at hand and the focus on me, it might have been sort of fun. Imagine a warm cozy room filled with your closest friends, a roaring fire, some tea, and chocolate cake. It had all the makings of a better than average evening. But then dear Katy gets it going. She wants to know how everyone knows me, what words they think of when they think of me, decribes the places and events that youv'e witnessed Lisa "light up" or be in her "zone", and how they might finish this thought: what do you find yourself wondering about why Lisa doesn't...... I had to give a bit of my back story- how I got to where I am today and what I might be hoping to get out of it and that was that. We started this conversation at 7:30 p.m. and after 30 minutes my clock watching kicked into gear. How long could these people talk about me? Apparently awhile. We didn't end until almost 9:00 p.m. and I was so glad. Honestly, detassling corn was more fun despite the soggy pants, humid weather, and cuts on my arms. I found myself wondering if the person they seemed to describe was the same person. Honestly, I don't suffer from low self-esteem. I am pretty aware of what I can and cannot do and where my strengths lie, but it is an out of body experience to hear people describe you in a way that makes you think, "Hey, she sounds like someone who would be fun to be with- and a good friend" Surreal.
So that was done. Now the hard part. What does this girl need to do? Why is she restless? What path can she take? What is stopping her? How can these fabulous ladies help me? The tough questions that I have been avoiding for awhile were just smacked right down in front of me. Ok-- smacked is dramatic but I was the one in the hot seat. Yes- I know, I know. I willingly put myself there. Fortunately, time was up and people were going to be pondering these for me- as would I, of course. Based on themes that kept coming up throughout the night, where might dear Lisa like to go? Home was my first thought. Get me out of here!