November 12th, 2008

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Pushing and pulling

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

This morning here at work, there are four repairmen walking in and out of the lobby – in and out, in and out – carrying ladders, tool kits, wire, and generally, looking confused. I have no idea what they’re doing – but they keep climbing ladders and removing the ceiling tiles and disappearing from the waist up into the space above, yelling back down to their comrades on the ground. They were here yesterday, too.

The glass doors in the lobby swing one way. Since they have probably used these doors 80 times in the last hour, one would think that they would know which side to push on, and which side to pull. But they don’t. Every single time that they walk up to the door, they do the wrong thing: push when they should pull, or pull when they should push. And a few minutes ago, one of the men ran straight into the door.

Who could blame him? Glass doors: now you don’t see them, now you don’t.

I feel agitated. These men have invaded my domain, my private sanctuary, and are disrupting my peace and quiet (and, let’s be honest: nail painting) with their… clanking. Hammering. Shuffling. And whenever they pull when they should push, or push when they should pull, I fight the urge to roll my eyes and yell, “IT’S NOT THAT HARD.”

Why do we make the same mistakes over and over again? We know better. We’ve been there before. We’ve experienced the consequences. And yet, we still mess up. We struggle with the same thing we struggled with yesterday, and the day before, and the day before. We fail to choose the right path – we forget the fallout.

Sometimes, I start to think that my struggles are hopeless – that I will never rise above, that things will never change. I push when I should pull, and pull when I should push. I know the right answer – I know the TRUTH – but I allow myself to be distracted just enough to trip. To throw my weight in the wrong direction. To run smack into the wall.

To change our behavior and our way of thinking, it takes awareness. Vigilance. Dedication. Attention.

There are many areas of my life that I could apply this to. But this morning, I am coming back to the same issue that I have struggled with year-in and year-out: the relentless issue of “beauty.” I believe lies. I buy into the world. I trust the media, and the voices in my head. And since such a large percentage of the female population feels the same way, there is no escaping it. Will it ever change?

Yesterday, my beautiful friend Emily posed the questions:

Am I willing to be the odd-woman-out and love the shell that God has given me to inhabit while on this earth? Am I willing to talk nicely to myself, in private and in public? Am I willing to ruthlessly edit the messages that I receive through media – cancel magazine subscriptions and delete shows from my DVR, if that is what it takes? Am I willing to let others compliment me and receive those kind words as truth? Am I willing to train my thoughts to dwell on the positive and stop comparing, stop chastising, stop chasing?

THIS is what it looks like. This is awareness. Vigilance. Dedication. Attention. And I want to be willing.

Push and pull, push and pull. Maybe one day I’ll get it right.