Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cut and Dry

I've been thinking a lot about who I am and who I want to be lately. 
It seems like we always find groups of people with cut and dry labels.

In Sex and the City, you've got Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte, and Carrie.
Samantha is the wild one.
Miranda is the smart & sarcastic one.
Charlotte is the conservative girl-next-door type.
Carrie is the witty writer who doesn't take herself too seriously.

You'll always find people who claim to be one or the other. Personally, I've been called a Carrie but I don't think it has anything to do with my wit or writing skills. Maybe I'm easy to relate to. Maybe not. Julie and I decided that every woman can find a piece of each character within herself.
In Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants you've got Lena, Carmen, Tibby, and Bridgette.
Lena is the beautiful artist girl-next-door.
Carmen is the writer.
Tibby is the sarcastic one.
Bridgette is the wild athletic one.

In high school, one of my best friends, Ruth decided to delegate these characters to herself, Julia, Kelsey, and I. According to Ruth, she was Carmen because she was "the writer." Julia was Bridgette because she played soccer. Kelsey was Lena because she was sweet and into the arts (music). I was Tibby because I hated my job and complained about it a lot.

Now, I love Ruth to death but I feel like she severely mislabeled all of us. Sometimes personalities are too different to fit into some previously constructed mold. Ruth was much more sarcastic than me. Julia was really not defined at all by sports and she certainly wasn't wild. Now while I think she was right about comparing beautiful Lena to beautiful Kelsey, Kelsey was more about science anyway. And just to point out what I feel to be a valid point, I write quite frequently. Creatively, academically, and in blog form. 
Okay, okay because I'm on a Southern Belles: Louisville kick....We have Julie, Shea, Emily, Kellie, and Hadley.
Julie was the gorgeous model.
Shea was the spoiled princess.
Emily was the wild child.
Kellie was the divorcee.
Hadley was the All-American girl-next-door.
Notice a pattern?

We can typically tell what "type" of person someone is by being around them for awhile. But then again, we will never fully know them. Just like we may never fully know ourselves. 
I believe a person is more than just location, the clothes they wear, the things they believe. 
How would they respond to a life-or-death situation? Would they panic? Would they help a stranger? Would they risk their own life to save another?
Hopefully we won't have to encounter split-second-decision kinds of moments like these. But I think that tells a lot about someone.

There's a quote from Eckhart Tolle that says:
"See if you can catch yourself complaining in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness."
It makes me think about all the things I complain about. Work. School. The weather. My lack of money. I think I say "This sucks" at least once everyday.
One cold, barren night outside at work, I noticed myself complaining. Again. About how I wish I could be asleep at night like normal people, inside, and in a warm bed. I instantly thought, "That quote is so wrong. I can't change this situation. I have to work here."

But oh how wrong I was.

I am working for my college tuition. I want a degree worse than anything else right now. If it weren't for this opportunity, I wouldn't be able to do that. I don't have to work there. But if I didn't, I would be placing myself in a position to where my desires could not be fulfilled.

Then I realized that Eckhart Tolle is a genius.
Back in the 90's, there was a fashion trend for these little plastic chokers that for some reason reminded me of barbed wire.
I thought they were cool so I had them in many different colors. Black, rainbow, beaded ones. I even had a matching light purple set that included a bracelet that the girls wore pushed up on their biceps to look like a trashy tattoos for minors.
I would put them on in the morning, head out to elementary school, but once I approached the entrance, I was too scared to wear them. So I quickly removed the plastic contraptions, and hastily shoved them in my pocket. I couldn't have a teacher see me in one of those. I mean, they would think things.
Wonder what that says about who I am?
Today I am me.
Tomorrow I hope to be a better version of me.
Someone who stands out in a crowd as more than just a "Carrie" or a "Tibby." 
But rather a "Lauren."

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