I have expressed a lot of admiration for people who are unapologetically themselves, the people who “do them” at their best as well as at their worst: those unique souls who just plain are. But I often feel that not enough respect is given to those who put a lot of energy into making others happy by making compromises, suppressing their immediate emotions, and cultivating personality traits that others find attractive. This is a lot of work, and it’s one of many ways to be in the world that goes undiscussed and underappreciated.
SLO loves people. She is as extrovert as extroverts come, in an era in which the introvert is lauded. She struggles with this push-pull of the person others find attractive and the person she is. Within this constant philosophical debate and winding journey towards self improvement and self acceptance I have seen her navigate worlds and emotions I don’t have the stamina or confidence to explore. SLO takes on new challenges that expose her to other people’s ideas of fun and what makes a good quality human. She does this as much to expand her own horizons as it is to prove to herself she can take on about anything – which, I’ve noticed, it seems she can. At the same time, she works through these challenges in her own way, with her own set of expectations of success, often impressing others in the process. Like all of us, she makes mistakes, but she tries to show others the type of forgiveness she yearns for back.
How many of us avoid things that we are bad at, or refuse to do them in public? How many of us are stuck in our sediment of what we think is fun and valuable and what isn’t? It is this balance of working outside of her comfort zone with patience for herself that I think many of us – most especially me – could use a but more of. I’m grateful to have her around to show me.