What's Your Name?

Sometimes people get my name wrong.  Sometimes I correct them.  But my absolute favorite is when someone calls me "Christian," and I never, never ask them to change it.  It is my favorite!  There is a lady at Synergy.  I didn't know her name until I'd been interning for all of about 6 months.  (It is easy to miss things in that place!  I also didn't know, for months, my work bestie was married to a co-worker OR that two a-stinking-dorable other co-workers were dating!)  Anyway, when I finally figured out her name, I was so proud I had to share it.  Every time she would walk by my office, I would shout, "Hi, KAREN!" like I deserved an award for being so smart.  She's a diva, and she's super sweet, so she got a big kick out of it, and she took great pause to shout back, "Hi, Christian!"  (SERIOUSLY LOVE her!!)

When someone accidentally calls me "Christian," I beam inside, and I tell myself the mistake is "Freudian."  I choose to believe it is that person calling out what they see in my make and my demeanor.  Like the kid who called me "Mother Teresa"...man was that an HONOR!  Or the one who said, after all this time we've been at Synergy together, "I've NEVER heard you cuss."  Isn't that just EXACTLY what I want to portray?  The legacy I'd like to leave behind.  "Mother Christian."  Yep, that about sums up my heart.

Of course, it feels a little hypocritical...especially given the whole I-flew-the-bird-in-a-tense-and-irate-driving-fiasco this week.  I wonder if Mother Teresa ever flipped off anyone.  Or cursed?  Man, sometimes, I find myself searching for the ship, because I'm pretty sure I just opened my mouth and a sailor's voice came out.  Fortunately and apparently, it is rarely to never in the presence of those whom I might influence. But...would all these people continue to esteem me so highly if they were present with me in my car or out on the baseball field?  In these instances, it's like I morph out of my skin, and I'm a totally different person.  🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️

Honestly, though, I try to be genuine.  My favorite book is The Catcher in the Rye for reasons beyond my favorite position being named in the title.  I ABSOLUTELY HATE ALL THINGS disingenuous.  Well, only if you equate "disingenuous" with "phony," because if I'm honest...I'm disingenuous ALL the time, since, according to google dictionary, disingenuous is "typically" demonstrated "by pretending to know less about something than one really does."

If I'm totally bare before you, I do (quite often, actually) pretend I don't know things that I do.  But I don't really consider it phony, because I use it for grace and not evil.  For example, if I know that you did something really, really bad, I might pretend I don't know about it so you feel more comfortable in my presence, because I don't really care what you've done, I will always love you and give you empathy and compassion, regardless.  Or...if you are a cop who pulls me over, I might (not-so-inadvertently and with the hopes of being extended the same intensity in grace) over-emphasize my misunderstanding of the rules so that I can feign an extension of INTENSE gratitude that you exist and took time out of your indescribably busy and important day to help little ole me improve my understanding and better protect myself and everyone I might meet on the road in the future.  That's not phony.  That's just survival skills 101.

The kind of phony I'm talking about...the kind I REALLY hate...is the kind where you try to make yourself look better (smarter, nicer, kinder, richer, more attractive) than you actually are.  Brick facade, for example.  Composite giving the impression of quality.  Plastic surgery.  Tammy-Faye-intense makeup.  (Did I say that out loud?  Apologize in advance.  It's just MY perspective.)   It's just not me.  I want the REAL THING.  (That's actually the line that won my hand.  The most profound and moving thing anyone ever said to me.  "Just remember, I am REAL," he said.  And from that day on there was NO looking back, no matter what.) I NEED honest.  I DESIRE genuine.  I REQUIRE real.  It's part of the recipe that makes me.  And I cannot squash who I am, because that did not work out for me.  I've tried.  I have to be real to shine, and boogers and toots are just part of the package.  (No...did I say THAT out loud?  SMH.  Seriously...what are we gonna do with me?!!)  Take me whole or take me not at all, 'cause I CANNOT be fake.  (It's also a trait that won my hand.  He prefers me all natural.  No make up.  No hair dye.  No nothing.  At first, I just thought he was weird, but over time, I realized he loves me REAL...when I stink and when I smell pretty.  He is down with my bad self.  And I am only content when I know that I am loved despite myself.)

And it all REALLY comes down to perspective and connotation.  What is phony to me may not be phony to you.  And vice versa.  Mother Teresa to one...that crazy B who flipped me off to another.

Actually, I LOVE connotation.  I prepare my students for their first interview with a lesson on creating an image through specific word choice.  For example, in an interview, you have about 30 seconds before the gavel is dropped.  10-15 minutes at best.  You HAVE to give everything a positive spin.  Everyone has bad qualities.  Everyone has weaknesses.  Your potential boss does not need to hear them all in the first meeting, or the consequence is that it will probably be your last.  Give yourself a chance by letting your positives shine.

Like this: I am probably the most stubborn person you will EVER meet (ask my husband...or my Mom!).  However...I'm not going to walk into an interview and tell that as my weakness.  Rather, I might say about myself..."I am the most persistent person you will ever meet.  I do NOT quit until I get the job done, and I get it done WELL."  Is that a lie?  No.  That is very true about me (ask my boss).  Is it phony that I don't tell my interviewer I will also storm out from the bleachers to the plate and let the umpire know very clearly my desire for him to either call them loose or call them tight but for-the-love-of-all-things-good please get some consistency in your calls, or I WILL get between you and my son on the mound as many times as I have to until you pull it together?  I say, "not phony."  I say it is just presenting one perspective in a situation where it is VERY appropriate to give only one perspective.  There IS such a thing as "levels of disclosure".  It's social etiquette, for goodness's sake.

There is only one person that gets all of me, and that is the one who has earned my trust that he will remain despite the worst of my worst.  Does that make me phony everywhere else?  I don't think so.  He's the only one who gets it all, really, and that is for your sake as much as mine.  Because, trust me...you do not want my all.  You would completely reject my all, or in the least be offended by it.  So, tidying up my appearance for you...That's not phony.  That's just considerate.

Ah, well...perhaps this is all just me justifying my own personal hypocrisy.  Glazing over the fact that I try to be a role model and have an impact, when the reality behind the curtains is a complete debauchery.  (Ok, well maybe that word is a little intense in relation to my bad, but I adhere to the "if you are angry at someone, you are basically guilty of hate and murder" Jesus-style expectations.  Perhaps I am too hard on myself? Or am I too easy on myself?!  It's hard to say.  🤷‍♀️😂  I guess I will just keep on striving and stretching to be the best me possible, acknowledging, apologizing and then forgiving myself for the times (every hour) I fall short...however WAY short that might be.

And I will take the little compliments and ego boosters along the way as trophies of my own success.  At the end of the day, that's worth a heck of a lot more than a pay check to me, because no matter how hard I ever tried, things just DO NOT satisfy and pleasures always end or fall short of my hopes.  So...I don't focus on the next fix any more.  I just mindfully appreciate the good while it's here and I try to view the bad in a way that connotes some sort of hope and purpose.  (Some people call it having a "positive attitude.") And as long as I am doing that, I will continue to imply my own success.  'Cause it's really all about how you choose to name it.