Destroying Angel

What gifts was I given

when all the talents were handed out?

Do I have a talent?

Looking at my life I have some doubt. Continue reading

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Hidden Talents Might Be Too Well Hidden

I was sitting in a circle of women and we each had a question to answer.  My question, typed on a strip of paper was, “Name one thing you do well.”  We were at a get-to-know-you Relief Society Meeting and the object was to answer the question (not mentioned but kind of implied to answer truthfully).  I happened to be the second to last person in the circle so I had plenty of time to think.  I needed more time.  I couldn’t think of one single thing.  This is a relatively new problem for me.  I used to be able to divulge my many virtues at the drop of a hat.  But alas, my cockiness has been knocked down a few degrees.

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The potential inside

“She needs to toughen up,” my co-worker surmised after sharing a story about her daughter.  Apparently, her fourteen year old daughter’s feelings were hurt by a remark her friend said.  Her mother told us the remark was not that big of a deal and that her daughter is “too sensitive.”

Too sensitive.  I’m aware of that phrase.  I have poured out my soul in prayer to my Heavenly Father pleading to toughen up.

But as my co-worker described her daughter I had a new take on it.   Perhaps, and stay with my ramblings here, perhaps sensitivity should not be viewed as a character flaw.  What if sensitivity is a character strength given to a few souls to make the world a better place?  What if it’s our responsibility to bring some tenderness into this hardened place we call home?

Instead of stamping out this God given attribute, what if we are to learn how to share it?  True, we need to learn how to cope with this gift.  I can understand why the common belief is we need to toughen up.  That prevalent belief is for a sensitive’s soul own good.  Less heartache that way.  But isn’t that forcing someone born with the gift of sensitivity into someone he or she is not?  There has got to be a way to be a happy thoughtful soul who shares the gift of tenderness.

Shortly after this conversation, I went to see Disney’s Frozen.  (By the way, I recommend this movie.  The best Disney animated film I’ve seen since Tarzan)  The movie seemed to continue my train of thought.  I don’t want to be a plot spoiler so let me just sum up by saying it’s about a girl who can’t use her innate talents and is forced to hide.  She becomes somebody she was not meant to be and does not live up to her potential.

Is that what happens to most of us?  We are afraid to use our abilities or maybe we don’t understand them so we live half-lives never reaching our full potential.  We stamp out our gifts until we conform to the world’s standards.   Perhaps we feel if we don’t possess the right talents we are not good enough.  In reality, we just need to learn how to use our own gifts.

Anyone willing to weigh in on this?

Want to hear a song from Frozen sung by the character I mentioned?

The Log Ride and Only Child Syndrome

guest blogger

By Marilyn Lee

My mother never liked heights…or any amusement park type rides for that matter. Because of this, I grew up thinking that I didn’t either. On ninth grade Lagoon day, I was dragged onto my first roller coaster and loved it. I believe this is where my adventurous spirit was born. Since I realized that thrill rides were a fantastic way to spend time, my mother, being the good sport she is, decided to take me to Lagoon the same summer I discovered my inner thrill seeker.

We got to Lagoon and went on a few not-tall, non-loopy rides for her enjoyment. However, my soul thirsted for more adventure. On our way to Rattlesnake Rapids, a pretty calm water ride, I saw an awesome ride opportunity. A ride called the Log Flume begged for my attention. I asked my mom if she wanted to go. She declined because it went too high up. No matter, I would just go by myself. I traipsed right over and got in line. I was unaware that it was two to a seat. I awkwardly stood there while the ride attendant asked the other line-waiters if anyone wanted to accompany me. A nice twenty-something man was kind enough to help a sista out. I awkwardly sat in front of him on the seat and enjoyed the exciting Log Flume Ride.

There’s lots of statistics and stereotypes about only children. Especially being an only child with a single parent. They aren’t always uplifting and often mention “only child syndrome”. This syndrome commonly refers to only children being bratty, selfish, and spoiled among many other glamorous personality traits. However, after years of being an only child, I have developed my own theory and definition of my personal only child syndrome. The story above is an example of my only child syndrome. I pinpoint this experience as my growing-up realization that as an only child, independence comes naturally and if I want something done, I don’t need to rely on anyone but myself to get it done. If I desire an outcome, an experience, or an emotion I am not going to wait for anyone else to join me if they don’t want to. I will do it alone and I will love it. Life is meant to be lived and sometimes, no one wants to experience what you want to. Will this stop me? No way.

Another only child syndrome symptom I believe I have is relationship bonding and because I never had a legit sibling bond, I grow really attached to my friends and create everlasting bonds with them. Not in a creepy way, but in a family kind of way. I also like to have lot of friends to compensate for my lack of sibling-ness. I love to be around others. I love to meet people. Growing up with a wonderful yet introverted mother, I had to often step out of my shell to create smooth conversations with store clerks or waiters. Because of this, I have become outgoing and find it pretty easy to strike up conversations with strangers. Don’t get me wrong, alone time is also something I yearn for seeing as that is what I grew up with, but there’s only so much alone time I can handle before I crave conversation with others.

This post was not meant to be a bragging outlet for me. This was to alert those who may stereotype us only children that sometimes, statistics are wrong. I love being an only child with a single mother. I would not have my life any other way. I am who I am because of it. I truly believe that the traits I exhibit are because of the only child circumstances in my life. And frankly, I’m proud to have only child syndrome.

The Return of Ms. Cranky Pants

So, Ms. Cranky Pants has reared her ugly head again.  I think I’ll blame September.  Due to staff changes at work, plus a couple of road trips, sprinkle a little family drama and September kicked my butt.  By the end of the very long month, I anxiously wanted to say a not so fond farewell to September 2012.  And anyone who had to deal with me probably wanted to say a not so fond farewell to Cranky Pants.

I hoped the new month of October would see the demise of Ms. Cranky Pants.  Personally, I don’t care for her.  She’s a little too irrational and moody for my taste.  Not to mention she rides the self-pity train a bit much.  Plus, out of the Pants family, she’s not the one I want to be known as.  I’d prefer her lesser known sister, Charity Pants.  Or even more well-known sister Smarty Pants.  Unfortunately, I’ve never been mistaken as either of them.  Only Cranky Pants.

I knew if I allowed her to move in, I’d be labeled as Cranky.   You know, the person people feel comfortable enough whisper about when she’s out of the room but when she walks in they try to avoid at all costs.  I also know how hard it is to shake a label once branded.  No, I’ll have to evict Ms. Cranky Pants immediately.  Do you know how hard it is to get rid of Cranky?  It is no enviable task.  She’s kind of stubborn and takes root rather quickly.

I can do this.  One huge step will to be to control my tone of voice.  Snarkiness just seeps out.   What can I say?  It’s a talent.  I’m not sure I like what it says about me that it takes more effort to be a nice person than a cranky one.  But I got this.

At the very least, I can be Ms. Nice Pants.  I like the ring of that.

In Hindsight…

Somewhere, sometime in my younger days I had a lesson on talents.  I can’t remember the exact setting.  I might have been in the end of my Young Women’s era or in the first days of my institute years.  It was, however, definitely a church-oriented message.  The gist of it entailed me praying earnestly for the gift or talent I most wanted in life.

We all have certain gifts already given to us.  But if we apply ourselves and pray with pure sincerity, we can acquire more talents.  I took it to heart.  I came home, knelt by my bed and prayed one of the most heartfelt prayers I have ever uttered.

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The Quest for Beauty

(fiction)

Dylan knew something nobody else realized.  She knew there was something inside her.  Something trying to find it’s way out.  Something beautiful.  And she just knew, if she could find someway to let it out, it would touch other people.  Maybe even help them.  There were only two problems: 1) she didn’t know how to get it out, and 2) she didn’t exactly know what it was she needed to get out.  But she knew something was in there.

 

One day, she heard a beautiful song.  “Maybe,” she said, “my beauty will come out as a song.”  So she sat down at the piano to  compose a beautiful song.  The only trouble was, she didn’t know how to compose music.   It didn’t matter to her, she moved her fingers along the keys just like she had seen her sister do.  But her mom came in and told her to quit pounding on the piano.  “Maybe,” Dylan said, “my beauty isn’t a song after all.”

But what could it be?

A few days later, her mother read her a bedtime story.  Dylan noticed her mother sniffing.  “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“This is such a beautiful story,” her mother smiled through her tears.  “It’s been my favorite since I was your age.”

A story can be beautiful?  Dylan thought.  Oh, yes, I will write a beautiful story.

The next day, Dylan sat down to write.  But she didn’t know what to write about.  She kept thinking about the story from the night before.  “I can’t write a story that’s already been written,” she decided and put her pen and paper away.

How was she ever going to let the beauty out?

A few days later, her parents took her to a play.  The play made her laugh.  At the end everyone clapped.

“Beautiful,” she heard someone behind her exclaim.

Beautiful?  Dylan thought.  Maybe I can be an actress.

The next time her school had a play, she tried out.  But didn’t get a part.

That night, her mother heard her crying in her bedroom.

“What’s wrong?” her mother asked gently.

“I don’t know how to get my beauty out,” sobbed Dylan.

“Your beauty?” her mother asked while dabbing Dylan’s tears with a kleenex.

“I tried composing a song, but I can’t even read music.  So I tried writing a story and I couldn’t think of anything to write.  So I thought I’d be an actress, and I didn’t get a part in the school play.  Maybe there’s no beauty in me after all!”

Her mother hugged her gently.  “There’s beauty in you.”

Dylan looked at her mother.  “You have to say that, you’re my mother.”

Her mother smiled warmly.  “Hey, I happen to know it’s true.”

Dylan looked down at the floor, still unable to believe her.

“Some people have to compose a song, write a story, or act in a play to let their beauty shine, but you don’t.”

Dylan sniffed. “Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

Her mother hugged her again.  “You don’t need to do all that, you have a better way to let your beauty out.”

“I do?”

“Of course.”

Dylan waited for an explanation.  “How?”

 

Her mother gently clicked foreheads with her.  “Through your smile and laugh.  Everybody loves your smile and they love to hear you laugh.”

“They do?” Dylan asked hopefully.

“They do.  People tell me all the time what a warm smile you have.  I know for a fact, it has cheered up many people.”

“It has?”  Dylan couldn’t help but smile.

“See,” her mom grabbed a hand mirror off the dresser.  “See what other people see?  That right there is the most beautiful thing.”

Dylan couldn’t help herself and looked in the mirror.  She had to admit, It was a pretty good smile.  She might even say, it was beautiful.