There was nothing cute about what I said.
I lashed out at someone I love, who was simply trying to help me.
It all started with an eyelash. A small, renegade eyelash that was stuck on my nose. No big deal, right? Just wipe it away, right?
Except since we can’t see our own faces (unless we’re totally vain, posing in front of a mirror all of the time), we need other honest and loving people in our lives to point these things out for us. And if they really love us, they’ll swiftly take care of the situation all together in order for us to avoid embarrassment.
I get that…now. Hindsight wears Warby Parker.
The incident, however, looked more like this…
- A fingertip touched my nose
- “What is it?” I asked
- “An eyelash”
- “Well, get it”
- “I’m trying”
- The finger moved with more diligence, like a windshield wiper blade: back/forth, back/forth, back/forth
- “Still not coming off”
- Still in a public crowd
- The fingertip was licked by its owner’s tongue and then
- AW, HELL NO
Okay some background for context. Amy and I have this inside joke about our mom: we used to refer to her as “the claw”. (Try not to read too much into that after “Roots and Wings”.) Anyway, she was constantly touching us in public. Fixing a flyaway hair before Communion, adjusting a rogue collar at a school performance, looking at a homecoming dress a certain way and then pulling and pinching and DOING STUFF. Often in public. But her favorite gesture was to grab the upper arm of either my sister or myself and latch on… “the claw”. All of these annoyances made me feel insecure…did I ever look right? I would think to myself during those angsty teenage years.
I’m a mom. I get it now that Mady’s getting older. The more they don’t like to be touched, the more we look for motherly gestures to get away with holding onto them.
So when my eyes saw that my nose was about to be publicly touched by a saliva-stricken fingertip, I digressed to my former angsty teenager voice.
And I barked, “God, just get it off already! Does it have to take you a friggin’ hour to get one friggin’ eyelash off my damn nose?!” Or something like that. Trauma affects memory. 😉
Anyway, the point is, I was mean to someone I love who was only trying to help me.
I recently watched “Set It Up” on the plane ride back from Hawaii. It was cute, but not that cute. But I did grab one poignant takeaway from it: a new bride gives a toast and offers some sage advice from her grandmother, “We like because. We love despite.”
There are lots of reasons to like the people in our tribe.
But love is harder. Love needs to be unconditional. It cannot be proud.
We have to love not only ourselves but one another, despite our idiosyncrasies and our quibbles.
So keep liking your people because. And keep loving them…despite.