She tells me I’m so happy and free spirited. My smile is glowing, I’m always singing and laughing and joking. She says it fills the room. I’m so confident and fearless. She says I can do anything.
I thought, my God, this woman doesn’t know me at all.
My Aunt Kelly can see right through you. She can see exactly who you are. She doesn’t see your self-deprecation, your anger and contempt for the world or the terrible ways in which you abuse yourself. She doesn’t see the person you’ve convinced yourself you are. It’s not that she’s easily fooled or naïve or that she ignores it, she just can’t see it. The bright lights she sees shining from your soul blind her to all that other fake bullshit you put out into world.
All she sees is your light.
My sister and cousins and the neighbourhood kids and I spent many weekends putting on skits and plays and singing made up songs to her. We would do anything to make her laugh or growl or to shock or annoy her. Anything to get a reaction. She delivered smacks on the bum with a slight grin on her face put there by your mischief.
She saw me when I was new and bright and shiny. She saw me when I was exactly who I was naturally, easily, freely.
What she doesn’t know is that I glowed before I came to the realization that I was:
Too short legged
Too damn ugly
Too masculine, really
It was before my body became bigger than my soul.
It was before:
My hair got too curly
My feet got too gnarly
My skin got too many scars
My legs got too hairy
My teeth got too yellow
I became bad at math
Bad at science
Slow at reading
Awkward at parties
Before I became basic
You see, my Aunt Kelly doesn’t know me at all.
She remembers me though. She remembers a proud 5 year old girl who came in second place in the community bike rodeo over all the other boys (except that one boy). She remembers the 13 year old who carried the school’s tuba home on the bus because it was cool and I wanted to learn how to play it. Have you ever seen a tuba? Have you ever been on a school bus? The two make for a tight fit but how else was I going to be as awesome as this tuba?
All of this; however, was before clear, logical reasons (not fear, of course) kept me from the awesome things reserved for awesome people. Yet again, I suppose all the years self-deprecation, shame and embarrassment of myself haven’t served me well. They probably dimmed that light a bit. I know that, really. She knows that.
If only we could all be a little bit more like my Aunt Kelly. Only able to see the light and the bright of each other. And tell each other about it. There’s the key.
She sees it in you. She sees it in me. She sees it in her Alzheimer’s patients. She sees it in that mean man who hates himself and that young woman who clearly doesn’t have her shit together. She sees it in the biggest A-hole on the block.
Does she see it in herself? Well, aren’t we all learning to be?
She knows exactly who I am.