I am always humbled to receive messages like this out of the blue!
This facebook instant message came to me tonight from Bethany. She is a family friend that grew up with my little brother and sister who are 12 years younger than me.
Bethany started kindergarden in 1997 with my brother (Micah) and sister (Miriam). 1997 was also the same year that I graduated from high school and began my freshman year of college at the University of Louisville. Bethany and Miriam grew to be on-again/off-again best friends over the years, as teenage girls do.
I’ve had the privilege of watching Bethany’s life develop as she’s grown into an outstanding young woman and assertive leader.
I never really knew that Bethany took notice of me, my life and the things I was doing. I had no idea that my brother and sister’s friends were observing me as a potential role model or someone whose footsteps might be worth following. After all, I was merely a typical college student and desperate young adult… struggling to survive, paying the bills by working low wage jobs and navigating the troubled waters of identity formation along the complicated journey toward becoming an adult.
This message means so much to me.
It’s so easy to become self-doubting and hypercritical of your own life. Looking at ourselves under a microscope, we can slice, dice, rip, tear and shred ourselves into a thousand tiny little pieces that are worthless when not considered as parts of the whole person. Like so many creative and driven people I know, I tend to be my own worst critic. Today has been one such day.
So, thank you Bethany…. for taking time out of your hectic life to say a few kind words to me. You lifted my spirits and helped me to remember that I must put some things in perspective. Namely, I am not the sum of my accomplishments, nor am I an accumulation of years, products or assets. I am not, nor could I ever be, a literal analog of my own subjectivity or identity. Who I am – who we are – is so much more. I am grateful for the reminder that I can never truly know myself, because my “self” lives in the hearts and minds of others in ways that I cannot imagine or consciously access.
Thank you for making me conscious of this, and for being generous enough to share your knowledge of “who I am” and what I mean to you. Having someone tell me that I was one of their “leading female heros” is seriously flattering. I would have never imagined myself as being this to someone….
Thank you for noticing me.
Much love, sister!