Friday, May 24, 2013

Don't Hate Me Cause I'm Beautiful...True Story #1

I attended Temple University around 1979, just around the time when Punk and New Wave music was making its mark. I loved it. What people now call Goth, whatever, we called Punk. I wasn't into Sid Vicious. Yikes, no way. Too scary. But I did love New Wave. The kinder, gentler Punk. I wanted to look like JoanJett/Blondie/ChrissieHynde/PatBenetar....bad ass enough, but not heroin user- killer look nonononono.....I also aspired to have Jon BonJovi's perm. Big hair. Big perm. Enough makeup on my face to look like I was auditioning for Cats. Oversized, mens' jackets I bought at thrift shops and I would then cover (jackets) with pins collected from New Wave shows....Elvis Costello, The Ramones, The Clash, all of them. All over me.

Back to Temple. Anyhow, while sitting in the auditorium style classroom for my Psych class, a few rows in front of me was this jock. What can I say? This big, blonde, hulky, white bread, corn-fed, letter wearing jacket jock. And every day he would turn his head and give me the hairy eyeball. Every day. Now just because I was from SW Philly doesn't mean I wasn't a scaredycat. 'Cause I was. First though, I was angry, like HEY JOCK, stop giving me the hairy eyeball! Then I would think oh jeez, I am wearing so much makeup and crazyhair and crazyjackets, this jock is gonna jump me. And hurt me. But days would go by, he would turn around at the beginning of class every day and stare at me. Hairyeyeball and all.

One cold winter day I was walking to the subway station after class, and who sidles up next to me. Ugh, that mean jock. Crap. I am literally shaking, not from the cold, but from what's going to happen next. When, he opens his mouth, I am thinking, 'ohboyherewego', but he turns to me and says, quote " You are the most beautiful girl on this campus". Unquote. What??? Hairyeyeball waspy blonde loving jock thinks punk, ala new wave girl (me) is beautiful??? And the most beautiful girl on campus??? Temple's campus?? (Temple was mainly a commuter school in 1979, but there were alot of people) Alot.

Stumped, speechless. Someone thinks I am beautiful. Wow.

I didn't know God then. Not really. Not the way I know Him now. I didn't have the good self esteem thing going for me either. So I was stunned. And beyond flattered. And we dated briefly, but I ruined that... self sabotage...That can happen when you don't see how beautiful you are through the One who created your beauty. You ruin good opportunities, good relationships, good everything when you don't know your beauty, your worth. Your worth because of and through God.

So now I know. And guess what? I am beautiful, 'cause my Father made me that way. Thanks Dad.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Feel Ya

I talk to people all day long. Mostly about their problems. Sometimes self-imposed and sometimes happenstance. The people are usually confused, frustrated, angry, depressed and anxious by the time I answer my phone.

Sometimes I answer and I am the one who is all of the above..

Sometimes, I get the opportunity to talk to people that have been thrown a curve ball, and I mean a crappy curve ball;  lost their job, lost their spouse, lost their health, and yet, don't bemoan their circumstance, of course they're not happy about it, but they are grateful for any help I can any way. And even if that help is just me picking up the phone, listening to their sad/bad circumstances and letting them rant, me relating to their situation, maybe even making them laugh or maybe even letting them cry. We do both.

It's usually then, when their grateful attitude brings me to tears, quite often actually. Usually they don't know it. Mostly because we are talking on the phone. So I can hold it together, hold back. I do what I can then I am obligated to move the work along. No time to keep in touch.  I have spoken to some folks face to face and some over the phone, many I will never forget. It's like God put me there to meet them, hear their story. Feel their pain. And through feeling their pain, heal mine.

 I've received many thank you notes over the years, but two stand out, funny and touching, both authentic and intentional. One said: "Mr. C-------; Please be happy."

They spelled my name wrong. And clearly they thought : a) I was a man, which happens quite often with my husky voice, and b) I am not happy...? Did I reveal a secret suppressed unhappiness? They included a picture of themselves surrounded by a lovely park-like setting. This note is hanging on my drab, gray cubicle wall. It's a keeper.

The other note is from a woman around my age and to paraphrase, it simply states: "even if at this point, if I can't get any other ..... then thank you for being you. You are one of a kind."  The notes like this one bring on the tears.

I feel their gratitude, their love. Hope they feel mine.