Sunday, May 13, 2012

My grown-up card got lost in the mail

I spoke in church today. It's always a bit of a-racking experience, even though I have yet to be in a church, LDS or otherwise, in which a speaker was flogged, dismissed or openly ridiculed for his or her words. To combat my nerves, I wore confidence-inspiring red high heels.

After the meeting I stood up to shake the bishop's hand and that of his two counselors. My chair, however, did not flip up as it was supposed to and was kind of in the way, so I surreptitiously used my foot to get it up.

My sexy high heel totally got stuck in the little nook under the chair where the hymnal goes. I'm standing on my bad leg in 3-inch heels. I couldn't lean on the stuck leg to keep my balance because it wasn't stable, just stuck. I couldn't pull it out; it just wasn't coming. I couldn't stop and deal with it because people kept shaking my hand. I almost fell over.

Open ridicule would have been appropriate in that situation.

When I was growing up I was certainly more than a little clumsy. (Case in point: I knocked down a table at a wedding reception, knocked over a pillar at a banquet without even realizing it, fell twice running hurdles and once trying to hurdle caution tape, and accidentally did the splits in heels while setting up for an activity. Twice. In half an hour.)

But I'd kinda hoped I'd left those days behind as I got older and learned to think -- that I would eventually become an adult with an adult job and adult responsibilities and and able to say grown-up things like, "My investment banker told me that stock is going to explode in the next five years," and "What are the schools like?"

I do have an adult job, but only because child labor laws protect minors from the kind of abuse ... uh, I mean invigorating and extremely gratifying labor of love to which a newsroom subjects its employees. As for the rest of it, I feel no less grown-up than the day I went to an NSYNC concert, ran my car into a garbage truck or chased a boy I liked around the chapel with my best friend.

Fortunately, I'm learning in my very young-feeling young age is no one else feels that grown up either. No one else feels that much different than they were in high school or college or newlywed. No one gets it. We just can't admit it.

"You will go through your life thinking there was a day in second grade that you must have missed, when the grown-ups came and explained everything important to the other kids ... the way the whole world works. But there was not such a day in school. No one got the instructions. That is the secret of life. Everyone is flailing around, winging it most of the time, trying to find the way out, or through, or up, without a map."  Anne LaMott, "Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son"

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