Tuesday, July 21, 2009

De-fense! De-fense!

I am a people person. Over the past three nights without my boys, this fact has been quite obvious. The silence around here is making me crazy. Oddly enough, when I was a child I was extremely shy and loved nothing more than coming home to recoup from being with people. Alone time was my favorite time of day. It's not that I didn't admire those that were outgoing and chatty because they were outrageously cool to me. Those that could perform on stage or skate at the Olympics or could be an actress were my heroes. But I never dreamed that I could be one of those people until the year that I was in seventh grade.

It was my first year at a new school and for the first time, I saw cheerleaders. Now in the early eighties at a small Christian high school, cheerleading was not the extreme sport that it has turned into today. I didn't have to do a flip or get tossed in the air by a hot guy. I only had to be brave enough to stand in front of a hundred fans on a good night and cheer for our boys at soccer and basketball. Without a doubt I wanted to be in that uniform. So I announced to my parents a few weeks before tryouts that I wanted to be a part of it.

I cannot imagine the shock my poor parents had. The girl who looked away if someone spoke to her? The girl who was oddly gangly and tall? The girl who could not speak above a whisper? Right. They encouraged me to try, but I can imagine many conversations behind closed doors about my obvious possibility of failure. In the end, I worked hard. I learned the cheers and the moves and found out that I could do the splits. I watched and listened. I made the junior high squad for Calumet Baptist High School.

And I found my voice.

I credit much to those many years of being a cheerleader (or yell leader as my mammaw always called it)...Confidence in myself and my abilities. Communicating to people during frustrating practices or leading a crowd in a cheer. Being part of a team and knowing that the bottom of the pyramid would fall without me. Supporting others with posters on lockers and excited talk before a game. Finding the humorous side of myself. Learning to tell a joke or telling a story to a crowd.

Sometimes, though, it is good to be alone. I have to remind myself of that. I cannot always have my boys around me nor do I constantly need to "be busy." I do need to stop and slow down. Often, I realize that I tend to use people as a crutch and don't allow myself that alone time. This week will be a good push for me to reflect, think and stir up my creative juices again. I can see already that is has stirred up the writer in me again. And I have some new project ideas buzzing around in my head. So, here's to possibilities for a wonderful week alone.

I promise to not talk to myself that much.