So there is this other Melanie out there.  She is organized and timely, she packs days in advance, gets her work done, she spell checks everything and knows proper comma usage.  She works out, eats well, lesson plans, drinks in moderation, never sneaks cigarettes, and never, ever drops her cell phone in the river…repeatedly. 

I know she is out there and there are moments of grace when all my powers combine and I am her.  Brief, well thought out, hard to achieve moments when I feel on top of my game; fulfilling responsibilites…taking care of my work, myself and the people in my life.  That Melanie is capital R – Responsible.

With students and staff I have to be capital R – Responsible in a way that is completely  unnatural for me.  But I bust my ass trying to be that Melanie.  I have learned over the years through f*ups and guidance how to keep all the balls in the air. I make lists and double-quadruple-gazilliondee-oople check them.  I set up reminders, and ask staff to follow-up, I memorize phone numbers, procedures, students heath issues, and I maneuver the details while holding the “big picture” frame against a backdrop of workshops, no sleep and heart opened to each student.

Then there is the one task that fell off the to-do list, an unexpected friend who comes to town, the speaker that canceled, or a van that never shows up.  I miss one important pass and the pins the ground with a resounding thud.

I make mistakes.  Good god I make mistakes.  I agonized over the mistakes I make.  I’m disappointed, frustrated. Defeated.  I kick myself for not being that Melanie.  Who can do all those things.   Berating myself for not being that Melanie who is a rockstar educator and program director. For not being organised and for spilling food on my shirt, for losing my car keys, and having unfolded drawers, for not printing the e-ticket and for not always showering when probably I should. I’m exasperated by the idea of that Melanie and intimidated by her because she shows me what I could be, and how much more I could be doing. If I just…tried…a little…harder….. 

So I sit there with the bruised shins of self deflation, whirling down a shame spiral of all the things I’ll never quite make it to be. Wishing had more capital A  – Ability to dance with my Responsible.

That Melanie – the idea of that Melanie…it’s exhausting.  I’m ready to give up that ghost.

Not being that Melanie has put me in situations where I’m so uncomfortable and worried and overwhelmed – there is no way I could be who I am – if I had been her.  Not being that Melanie has made me crazy creative and a friggin’ good problem solver.  Not being that Melanie has taught me to turn fear into adventure and every foible,  fumble or flop into opportunity.  My world is full of “lets see where this goes”.  Dude – I am a bad ass reframer.

That other Melanie were she here right now, would be preparing for the conference I’m running on Wednesday and not writing a blog. In fact, that other Melanie would not have missed her flight this morning.  She would have double confirmed the car service reservation, and she….well…she certainly would not have had too much to drink last night.

But this Melanie, this one right here – hung over in the airport having missed a 6 am flight to a Wisconsin wedding and paid an ungodly amount of money get on the next flight –  I ran into my sister’s dear friend while eating a drippy airport breakfast.  I shared a meal, some laugher and reconnected with someone who helped me look forward while wading through the swampy muck of teen-hood.  This Melanie? I might be in the red and I might lose a cell phone (or eight) along the way, I might always design workshops last-minute, and might not be entirely sure what got packed at 1 in the morning; But I’m doing just fine, kids.  And I’m having a damn good time.

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