A few months ago, I reorganized our bathrooms, linen closet, kitchen, and files. Every item taken out. Cabinets and shelves cleaned. New shelf paper put in. Every item placed in the most efficient place and clearly labeled.
While reorganizing our files, I discovered a couple of things. 1.) We keep things we don’t need. 2.) We don’t keep things that we should. I labeled folders and reminded myself that although I loathe paper, I need to start keeping some important documents. 3.) I found in black and white what my next big step must be!
One of the things that I came across while cleaning out our paper work is a report that my 5th grade teacher wrote about me. I guess she was in grad school and had to observe and write a report about a student. Guess who she picked...me! Of course, my parents gave permission and when her report was finished she gave my parents a copy. At some point, their copy made it to me, and I stuck it in our files.
It’s an odd thing to read about your own childhood from someone else’s perspective. It has helped to give me a truer perspective about so many things, including who I am as a 41-year-old woman.
I want to share one particular part because it was a huge “a-ha” moment for me. But first, I want you to know that I have very few childhood memories. Nothing bad or traumatic happened to make me forget. I just simply don’t have very many memories. Scott remembers everything and everyone! I just don’t. So reading about situations, people, and events that happened to me is odd. It is like I am reading about someone else and as it goes, we often see things more clearly when we are on the outside looking in…and boy did some things seem clearer.
“During Amy’s social studies class the subject of shyness came up. The teacher explained that as a child their age, she was very shy. The class as a whole reacted in a surprised manner. The teacher went on to say, ‘Think of the shyest student in this class.’ Several students pointed to and replied, ‘Angelica.’ The teacher looked at Angelica and said, ‘Think of Angelica without all that talent (Angelica is extremely creative in art, expresses herself superbly in writing, and usually receives A’s on any work). One student quietly said, ‘Amy.’ At that point, the teacher made no comment but went on with the lesson. At the end of the day while the students were waiting for their bus, Amy came up to the teacher with tears in her eyes. She had her head down to her chest and quietly accused the teacher, ‘You don’t think I have any talent.’ The teacher apologized, “I’m sorry, Amy, if you got that impression. I was not indicating you had not talent. You have a great deal of talent. It’s just more hidden than Angie’s. Not everyone can be as creative as Angie, but that doesn’t mean you are less capable. In fact, you remind me a great deal of myself at your age: very shy and not sure I could do anything right. I hope it doesn’t take you thirty years to find out how talented you are.’ Amy looked up with a grave expression, nodded, and went back to mingle with the few students left waiting for the bus.
(Next day) Amy came into class with a huge smile on her face. She came to the teacher... ‘Do you remember what you said to me yesterday about having talent? Well, my talent is organizing. I’m a great organizer. I love to organize things. My mom lets me organize her things at home. Do you have anything you want me to organize?”…
My thoughts after reading these words…
1.) I would still react the exact same way. I would still take the comment to heart and question my talents and abilities. Why can’t I stop caring what others think of me? (another blog for sure)
2.) Ugh. I am 41 years old and I am still doubting myself. I still don’t know what to do when I grow up. I still feel less than those around me. I still don’t know what it is that I am most passionate about (other than being a wife and mom).
3.) Are you kidding me?! Organizing was my talent at 10 and it is still my thing. Creating efficient ways of storing items and organizing a home comes naturally to me and I enjoy it.
Last January Scott and I had our annual year-in-review and dream planning session. They are usually lengthy and we try to cover every imaginable topic. One of the topics we talked about was the feeling that I need to grow up and do something I am passionate about and that something should be how I make money. If I have to work, shouldn’t it be what I enjoy doing? We talked about going back to school…but I have watched Scott take classes for years and he squeezes hours in the evening to finish papers, watch lectures, and take tests. He falls asleep with a book on his chest and has settled for “getting it done without needing A’s” because that’s all he has to give. I have NO desire to do that! In our conversation, I shared that I like to organize and help other people. I want others to not feel overwhelmed by piles and stuff, when they don’t have to feel that way. Scott immediately told me to do it.
I started to do research about professional organizers and began dreaming (I traveled this road once before 10 years ago and stopped). Scott bought a website domain and created social media accounts, so that I could begin this dream. I began to believe and then I stopped. Fear crept in. Fear of failure. Fear of success. What if it worked and others were willing to pay for my help. Would I really be able to handle a business? Would I be able to balance my home, busy family, and still give my clients what they needed? Fear stopped me in my tracks. Research halted. Reading and fact-gathering stopped.
Then I read these words and observations of a 10-year-old Amy. In 30 years, I am still stuck. I know what I am good at and what I would enjoy doing. But, I lack the braveness to just step out and do it. I allow fear and self-doubt to cripple my ability to move forward.
I listen to my 17 year old son, and he has big dreams. I spent years trying to encourage a plan B, but now I want him to just go after it. Live his dream. I believe with everything in me that he can do BIG things and that he is talented and amazing. Why can I NOT believe that for myself?
I want to bravely move forward and take a step. If I fail, at least I tried. If I have success, then my kids can watch me have a career for the first time doing something I love doing. I need to do this for my kids, my family, my 10-year-old self... but it is imperative I do this for my 41-year-old self.
Now what? I have no idea what to do or where to start and I want to run and hide.