When I was little, I wished I would break a bone. For real. I wished I had a fantastic story to tell about how I was rushed to the emergency room, about how the doctors weren’t sure they could fix me, and about how I was brave through it all. I actually prayed for it for a while, then I took matters into my own hands.
I snatched dishtowels from the laundry room, wrapped them around my arm with masking tape, and brainstormed my story. Then, I nonchalantly walked around the neighborhood until the kids circled around me and the dramatization began. I ATE IT UP.
I told them that they couldn’t sign it because my mom wanted it to stay clean. I told them that it looked different from other casts because it was a “new” kind.
I definitely broke my arm. I was serious. I swear. No, I’m not lying. Yes, you can ask my mom. No, she’s busy right now…
I actually did this more than once. Either the neighborhood kids were slow, or I was just that good. Keep a close eye on what you’re good at, kids…
From an early age, I wanted the spotlight. I craved the center of the action. I needed to be the story.
It’s cute when you are are in second grade and you’re teeth are missing and your mom just pulled sponge-rollers out of your hair.
It’s not so cute when you’re 46.
I still catch myself scrounging in the laundry pile of life for things that will make me stand out. I wrap myself in talents and humor and posts and tweets and stories… just so I can break out of the pack and stand out. Just so the boring doesn’t eat me alive. Just so I can get a quick fix of … of… me, I guess.
I suppose the good news is at least now I know what I’m doing. At least now I catch myself often and state the obvious: You, friend, are an attention-aholic.
It’s the first step to recovery.
Admitting it helps. Looking back on my early stories helps. Knowing that I don’t have to heal myself helps, too. Knowing the One who can break me of my pride helps the most.
I’m sure people need a break from me. I need a break from myself, often. I’m trying to figure out how to be me without wrapping myself up in a hard, selfish, fake cast.
So, I’m practicing being happy for the “lucky” girl who actually has a story. I’m forcing myself to count my blessings – and my whole, boring bones – even when I’m not in the center. I’m standing in the carport, peeling away the tape, and trying to understand what’s under the layers – struggling to find out …before I get found out.
I’m standing here with bare skin and raggedy dishcloths …and praying that I stop taking matters into my own hands.