June 23, 2017

A Short Story...

1988 - Bryn and Me
Last night I told Handsome, "Honey. This morning I woke up with a post in my head." In his most deadpan tone he replied, "Donna, you really shouldn't tee them up for me like that." It took me a second, and then I realized another way he could have interpreted my statement...and I laughed out loud. 

I told him that this subject came to mind after we attended the concert in the park the previous night. You see, something happened. Something that reminded me of how my life became joyful. It was a conscious effort, mind you. I woke up with these thoughts running through my head, and I hope you don't mind if I share them with you today.

Many years ago, I listened to a middle-aged public speaker/comedienne who told her audience that we all have a "Committee" inside our heads. You know. Those voices from our past who contribute to who we are today. All those people who are, or were, a part of your life who told you who you're supposed to be; how you're supposed to act; or just said something that stuck with you long-term. It might be a relative, friend or just something said to you in passing. 

Here are a few examples: 
My mother told me when I was a younger woman that my laugh was "too coarse", that I should "tone it down so you sound like a lady". The result was that my laugh - for a time - wasn't my own. It was hers. Of course, one was never allowed to laugh at our family dinner table, and there was a wooden spoon to reinforce that rule. I'm convinced that some parents really have no idea the negative impact they can have on their children. (Still. Put your cell phones down and talk with them!!)
When I entered my 30s, I opened Stitches. I taught needlework classes, and traveled around the country sharing what I had learned with others. My mother liked to "brag me up" to her friends, but would always add, "I have no talent. She stole it all from me." She was the first member of my Committee.

Other members my Committee? Mom Grace told me that I "was too good for her son", when I broke our engagement. Loving her son as I know she did, that must have been incredibly difficult for her to say (even if she was right). 
Grace taught me most of what I learned to begin my journey into needlework. She also taught me to knit and crochet, although I also crocheted with my paternal grandmother. Over the forty two years I knew and loved her, I frequently thanked her for sharing her knowledge with me. Her response? "It's really a case of the student surpassing the teacher, my dear."

Granddad and Me

I have more...My British granddad who always called me "his beautiful, eldest granddaughter"; or my middle aged co-worker (at the grocery store where I worked my way through high school) who shared her "rules for getting older" and a few jokes I can't repeat here, but will never forget; and always, my husband who always makes me feel loved and cherished. I always remember his words.
Are there other bad examples? Oh, heck yes, and sometimes I have to take a stick to them to drive them away. A comment thrown like a dagger from an unexpected (and unexplained) person; a word in passing from a drunk in a parking lot when I walked with a post-op cane; and of course, there are more, but I don't let them live here anymore.

I could go on with examples (some great, and some not-so-great) from people whose words stuck with me, but I think you get the idea. It took me many of my sixty two years, but I finally drove out the Committee members who brought no joy into my life. They no longer take up space in my head.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering at this point just where I'm going with all this, and how it has the slightest thing to do with our concert night this week. I told you that the conductor was a real cut-up. He had the whole audience in the palm of his hand, and his manner of introducing each new piece, in addition to being clever, was funny. I joined the audience in laughter as he made his way through the program.

At the end of the evening, Handsome and I were folding up our chairs to leave, when the lady who sat in front of me turned around and got my attention. She said, "I have to tell you that your laugh is infectious. I wish I could record it to make me smile every day. I just wanted you to know that I enjoyed sitting in front of you." I was surprised, smiled and said, "Thank you." 

As I went to bed Wednesday night, I reflected on that old Committee member who had managed with one sentence to make me so self-conscious about the simple, joyful act of laughing...and how the woman at the concert made me feel when she commented on my laughter before leaving the park.

This woman and her short interaction with me will stay with me. I'll carry her face and compliment with me to remind me that I chose joy. She will become the newest member of my Committee, and I'm immediately making her a Lifetime Member.

The sub-head for my blog is "...thoughts on a joyful and creative life." That's why I'm sharing this with you today. I decided long ago not to lug the boulders of sadness, frustration or downright despair around with me any longer. I left them behind nearly a decade ago. Please don't waste another moment of your life clinging to that which no longer serves you. Let go of the hurt. Let go of the words that keep you from living a beautiful, wonderful, juicy and joyful life. You deserve it. We all deserve it.
I'm a big fan of the movie "Somewhere In Time". In the movie, Jane Seymour plays the actress, Elise McKenna. She has a rather rotund suitor who pays entirely too much attention to her, and it's most unwelcomed. However, she's expected to return his affection. In a scene with a fellow actor, she's asked, "Surely, there must be something you like about the man." to which she replies, "Yes. His absence." That's how I feel about my evicted Committee members.

Thanks for letting me put this out there today. I appreciate that you stop by to see what I'm doing, and I also appreciate your visits. Be well. Be brave. Choose Joy.


15 friends clicked here to leave a note for me:

C Reeder PhxAz said...

An amazing post. Brought back my own committee- many who are evicted permanently. Just didn't refer to it that way but I love the way you have voiced this. Thank you for sharing.

Sharon J. Hughson said...

Thanks for that blog post today. It could not have come at a better time for me. Serendipity!

deb said...

I needed this, too! Thank you...

Terri said...

I also needed this! I really enjoyed this post, too! Thanks!

Darlene said...

Thank you so much for sharing your short story! You have no idea how much I needed this and truly enjoyed it this morning!

Oh those committee members - some simply won't leave no matter how many times I evict them.

Again, thank you, Donna!

In Friendship!
Darlene wabbit4412@aol.com

Createology said...

Thank You Sweet Donna. Your words are so very powerful and this post is something I need to know, learn, and review over and over again. My "committee" is heavily weighted with those I need to evict and never listen to ever again. Words are powerful and can be hurtful or they can be loving. I believe parents have the greatest responsibility in how they raise a child and how that child treats others and the world we live in. You, my friend, are JOYful and wise and wonderful. Thank you so very much for sharing your insight and for helping me to be a better person. I love you and your spirit! XO<3

Mary Ann said...

Great post...something I am going to ponder on! I really needed this!

Marguerite (Tina) Smith Hart said...

Donna I so related to your post today and actually at 66 am only now evicting the obnoxious commitee I have traveled with all my life and allowed to take up residence in my head fro far too long! It sure is nice to know that I am not alone in that challenge and that there can be success in the end! Thanks for sharing your thoughts today, they were very welcome!
Tina xo

Jane said...

Thank you for sharing this powerful message today, Donna! I hadn't thought in terms of a committee in my head, but that's a great analogy. Much food for thought here. Keep on choosing Joy! Jane

Sewing In CT said...

I had trouble posting a comment this morning but made a point to remember to do it now! I love this story/post. Yesterday I decided to quit Facebook after 3 months because I don't love it and it doesn't make me happy. In fact, it made me unhappy and it took time I could not spare. Doing that was easy. How do you disregard those things that are in your head? I'd love to hear more on this topic. Do you just decide something, like I did to quit FB?

Beverly Wood said...

I don't comment usually, but I wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog. Today's post is particularly appropriate and thank you for sharing.

mray said...

Many years ago I was determined to oust out of my head the free loaders who were keeping me awake at night, who got in the way of me having a great day, and continual negative comments from them kept me from my true self and personal joy. Your amazing post today knocked me over or shall I say back on my heels.. I guess what was the most alarming to me about the committee is how they take over and "we" allow them to stay. I had the impression somehow I was the only one .... NOT. Thank you for a beautifully written post dear friend!!

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Good gracious...I think this has been a month of kicking out Committee members. I told David the other night that I just want to laugh again. A full on, LMAO with giant snorts until I almost pee. It's been a long time since I've had that kind of joy in my life.

Loved this post and love you to bits dear friend. Thank you for sharing it.
Shelby Marie

Buttons said...

Just reading this now. I never thought about those voices as the committee. I guess I've got some "rearranging of the board" to do. I've always thought of you as a strong and wise woman ( and so much more). This is exactly what I needed to hear, so thank you for sharing!

tja said...

what a God send Donna, thanks for posting. Perfect timing as well - I am facing a surgery where they must go through the heart to accomplish the repair - I just last night stated that any negatives or people bringing me issues were going to have wait a month or so - I didn't need it. That I needed my mind to be free and at peace when the day of the surgery arrives.

Thanks what a needed boost and GOD given post for me and I suspect for many others....blessings


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