Friday, May 8, 2009


Have you ever had someone shower compliments on you that you knew you didn't deserve? Like, for the store-bought cole slaw you dumped into your own bowl and brought to the potluck? Or the witty remark you heard on the morning news show and injected into a conversation?

I just got in touch with another old friend on Facebook. She commented on our virtual reunion in her status statement and said this about me: "She was one of the sweetest girls around -- real, true sweetness of a rare kind."

Wow. I mean, wow. I can't decide if I'm more moved by that comment or aghast at it. Lord knows, I've always tried to be sweet to everyone. But He also knows the actual lack of sweetness beneath it at times. The descriptors "real" and "true" make me a little uncomfortable.

If there's one thing I've tried to become more and more as I've matured, it's real. I'm such an approval junkie and people pleaser, I've made a conscious effort to not put up an image to others that is not genuine. What good is it to know that people like a fake version of me? I try to show the real me . . . and if they don't like it, I don't cover it up -- I try to figure out why and if there's something I need to learn from that. Not that I always succeed in this endeavor, but I know I've improved.

On the other hand, I know there's a lot of people that really don't want to see the real me -- all my "stuff", all my ugliness, all my issues. (Another FB friend posted today, "I don't have issues . . . I have subscriptions." Amen!!) Sometimes, I may put on a smiley-face front not to cover up my flaws, but to shelter my companions from having to deal with them. It takes discernment sometimes to know which friends want the real answer to "How are you?" and which are making small talk.

Blah blah blah. In any case, I guess I'm glad that my school mate experienced sweetness from me. We all need kindness from others. I'm just quite aware that this sweetness was not inherent to me, and I won't take credit for it. I'm not the sweet one. I hope I get a chance to explain that to her sometime.


Anonymous said...

Great post Gwen, I agree with it all. We had a couple of "ugly" times in high school didn't we? Such drama queens we times:) So glad we were able to get through those times. Just so you know, I really do mean it when I ask how you are. Good, bad, ugly I care a lot!!!!! Have a MOST HAPPY MOTHERS DAY SUNDAY!

Meredith said...

Hmmm, Gwen. This makes me think. But I think my conclusion is this: I'd rather be the "sweet" girl people liked. Whether or not it is the real me...I guess I feel like I'm mean or NOT nice a lot so it's nice to hear what the outside world thinks of me, and that it's NOT how I see myself. I'd be worried if they were describing you as that witch from high school everyone hated, LOL! I think you have it pretty good with "sweet" :) In college I once heard a description of me in high school from someone I never knew that well. They described me as "nice and smart" I ruminated on that and decided that while that wasn't how I would describe MYSELF, it was not a bad description!