So when you look at my face
You gotta know that I'm made
Of everything, love and pain
These are the pieces of me
--Ledisi, "Pieces of Me"
Yesterday, I went out to lunch with my brother...which turned into dinner because we run our mouths way too much, but I digress. As we blabbed about everything under the sun, the topic turned to the way people perceive me. My brother said something that stuck with me for the rest of the day:
"There's your forward personality--quiet, laid back, relaxed vibe--almost shy. But there's this other side of you that eventually comes out--outgoing, sarcastic, all of that stuff. It really does take time to get to know you."
I can't stand it when he's right.
The truth is (no Fantasia), there are times when I feel like I have to be tough. We'll call this side of me Sheba. Sheba does not take any nonsense from anyone. She walks into the room and dares anyone to disregard her presence. Sheba is arrogant--she knows she has a lot to offer, so she expects respect in every setting. Got something to say? You better say it good. The very second you pause to take a breath, Sheba will swoop in and cut you down to size. Sheba just doesn't have time to play games with anyone.
Then, there's Tender Heart. Tender Heart just wants everyone to be happy. She goes out of her way to make sure people know they can count on her. If you need something done and Tender Heart's schedule is completely booked, she'll find the time to do it. She doesn't like to let anyone down. She DESPISES confrontation. She's easily offended. She's even a little insecure. Tender Heart cares what people think about her, perhaps too much.
I realize I'm no different from the millions of people who inhabit this planet. If you're honest with yourself, there are at least two sides to your personality. However, my problem lies in my inability to mix and match so people get an accurate depiction of K. Marie.
Translation? Lately--in my career, friendships and ESPECIALLY in the dating process--I feel like I've shown too much Sheba and not enough Tender Heart.
It used to be quite different. Back in the day, Tender Heart ruled me. I allowed people to use me up until there was nothing left. I found myself in a pit of depression so slippery and treacherous, I wondered if I would ever break free. When I did, I promised myself I would never go back to that place.
Sheba seemed like the answer to my prayers. I would just use my abrasive side to prevent people from getting close to me. I would hurt people before they could hurt me. To be honest, I would have probably kept going on this path had it not been for a conversation with one of my newest friends. He referred to me as The Mean Twin, and I took offense.
"You're way off base, homeskillet," I replied. "I'm the nicest person you will ever meet."
A small, still voice in my heart offered its own reply:
If that were true, you wouldn't have to say it. Your actions would show it.
I'm on the playground of life; Tender Heart and Sheba are on the see saw. Most days,they know how to balance themselves. Sometimes, they don't. One gets an urge to go higher than the other one. When that happens, I don't yell or get upset; I just call the ORIGINAL manufacturer and ask to speak to The Carpenter. After all, no one knows the product better than Him. I explain my situation--the sides won't stay balanced. He patiently listens and then tells me the solution: adjust the settings in the middle. Turn it to the left for forgiveness; to the right for patience and understanding. Soon enough, everything is the way it's supposed to be.
To those I have offended, I apologize. To those who have hurt me, I forgive you. My name is not Sheba or Tender Heart, it's K. Marie. That's who you should get to know. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.