Sunday, December 05, 2010

Sandy in the Swing

When I was in elementary school, there was this sweet friend of mine named Sandy. Now, I call her a sweet friend, but I have the sneaking suspicion that she took pity on me and let me tag along. I don't say that to sound pathetic, I just now see it through adult eyes and can interpret her actions through my lens of experience. You get the point...

Sandy was well-loved by all. Girls wanted to be her and boys wanted to be with her. Yes, even 3rd grade boys knew a good thing when they saw it. But, the funny part is that she wasn't super-cute. She was...average, but with tiny, buck teeth. But she had it all: money, confidence, sass, etc. and even the teachers loved her. Where am I going with this?

I wanted to know Sandy. Being on the periphery was not enough for me. If I couldn't BE her, I wanted to be right next to her. Even if it meant that I was more like her sidekick. Her shadow. I remember the day I went to get my hair cut in a bob--JUST LIKE SANDY--I told my mom, despite warnings that curly hair (mine) and straight hair (Sandy's) were two very different animals. And hey, it was the 80's...bobs were in, right? Wrong. I felt so luxurious as he chopped off my hair and razored it. He even straightened it to look JUST LIKE SANDY. Then I went home. You know how you always feel that you can never style it like they do in the salon? Well, that saying is a massive understatement in this here 'got-my-hair-cut-like-Sandy's-but-it-looks-more-like-Annies' story. The sun'll come out tomorrow indeed...and shine itself down on yo' fro that your mom warned you about. I didn't want to go to school--I didn't even want to look in a mirror (thus beginning a long, tumultuous relationship with my curls, but that's another story for another day).

Who cares about your 3rd grade hair anyway, Katie? You're 32. What gives?

The other day, I was having a little breakdown in front of my sister, so we prayed and asked the Lord where these intense feelings were coming from. Why was I so distraught over such a seemingly meaningless exchange? What came to mind was Sandy. A memory of her on the swings. I waited in line for her to get off her swing, so that I could have a turn. And finally, she did. She was OVER the swings. Her paparazzi asked, "what's next?" and she moved on to the slides. I jumped in the swing, but instead of enjoying it, I felt like I had just copied her. Like a SHADOW. I hate feeling like a shadow. Plus, the admirers had all deserted the area. So, I followed her to the slide...and you can guess what happened next, can't you? You bet. I turned into her shadow, always being mildly satisfied with her leftovers, but always hating myself for not getting there first. Ah, the beginning of female competition. yuck. What the Lord spoke to me in that memory was that I kept waiting for SANDY'S swing (talent, money, voice, personality) when I should've grabbed my OWN swing right next to her. If I swing my swing and stop competing with the Sandy's of the world (you know who I'm referring to: [insert that girl's name here]), I will not only glorify the One who gave me the talents & personality, but probably enjoy myself in the process. Plus, I would've saved myself the torture of a curly bob and even channeled 'The Birth of Venus' as a 3rd grader.

I was planning to write this blog last week when it happened, but so much has kept me from writing publicly lately. This very story is why...and then I happened upon Lauren Chandler's blog last night. I read one about 'Constructive Criticism' and found the courage to write again. I don't know Lauren, but after reading her writing, I sure do like her. And not in an 'I've-found-a-new-Sandy-at-32' way, I promise.

Her May 2007 blog 'Constructive Criticism' (in case you want to read it from the source)