When Secret Agent Guy & I were in Middle School we rode on the same yellow school bus. He and Hockey Boy used to sit right behind me and my friends. I could surely talk up a storm (surprise, surprise). Sometimes, they would get out their watch and time me to see how many words I could say per minute. Other times they would just count how many words I could say before taking a breath. I used to act like it annoyed me a bit, but in all actuality, I sort of liked it. I knew that I could talk really fast, and the fact that it drew their attention was sort of flattering. When I knew they were counting wpm, I would try to speak extra fast, just to impress them. Plus, I also think I secretly took pleasure in trying to annoy them with my garrulous chit-chat.
Do people really ever change? Some experts say yes, and yet others would argue that point. I am one that believes that both are true. People can change, and yet people really never change.
Our personalities seldom change. Our characteristics seldom change. These are innate traits that belong to us; they make us who we are. I believe that perhaps with life experience, we can uncover more of our personality than we may have initially thought existed. This is more of growth and development, versus actual change.
I do believe that the things we can change are our behaviors, attitudes and beliefs. It isn't easy, and it takes commitment, persistence and a strong desire to make these changes.
I remember one Saturday, as a child, I got in trouble for something and was feeling sorry for myself. I wanted some alone time, which was hard to come by with a household of 9. I remember hiding in the floor-to-ceiling drapes in the living room. That's a great place to feel sorry for oneself when you're 6 years old. Well, my dad was getting ready to run some typical Saturday errands. I asked if I could go with him. He sort of paused, knowing it would be quicker if he just went by himself. But my begging finally won him over. "Fine," he agreed. "You can come along on one condition." "Anything," I pleaded. "No talking," he instructed. I didn't take offense to his request in the least bit. I knew that I was a talker, and I knew that when Dad had a lot on his mind he didn't like to be bothered with incessant chatter. I agreed to be as quiet as possible.
I hopped into the passenger side of the little Toyota pick-up. I figured if I just stared out the window, I would be distracted enough that I wouldn't want to talk. Oh! Look at that cute dog, I wanted to say. But, nope! I covered my mouth with my hand in an effort to keep my promise. Then a big truck pulled up beside us. I wonder what they use those trucks for? No - don't ask. I must be very quiet. I remember the very concentrated effort I made in not talking. By the time we reached our destination, my Dad was so pleased that I didn't say a peep, he bought me a chocolate milk. Funny, how I remember that; it is one of my fondest memories, spending that day with him.
So, back to talking incessantly. I am still the same person. I still tend to ramble on a bit (again, no surprise). However, I think the biggest change, is that instead of just talking to hear myself talk, I try to make it worth listening to. I have also learned that just because I think it, doesn't mean I have to say it out loud. Sometimes, that is easier said than done.
In-Flight Dude asked me recently what some of my interests or hobbies were. I wasn't lying when I said, talking. I actually love to talk. I am a deep thinker and tend to over-analyze everything. So talking about it or writing about it, is all part of the process to figure out what it is I am actually thinking.
I like to be witty, clever, funny and entertaining when possible. Probably the fact that I am not as funny as I think I am makes me even funnier. I realize that most of the time I just come across as corny, which makes me different from most other women my age. In fact someone recently told me, "Corny works for you". I guess that was a compliment. I know myself well enough to realize that I talk too much most of the time. But what I find that is cool, is that there are people actually willing to listen and they like me for me; they even like my talking! I think that those who know me best realize it's a package deal: my mouth & my thoughts come with me.
So, Keenan was asked to speak in Church last Sunday. Here is how he started off: "A great instructor once said, 'When speaking in public, always engage your audience by starting off with a joke or a lie.' Well, I don't know any good jokes, so let me start off by saying how truly grateful I am to be here today." Of course, everyone laughed, and many of the parishioners made comments to me such as, "Wonder where he gets that from - ha ha" or "He sounds just like you". Was I a proud mother or what? Of course I was! I did confide to the bishop later, following his kudos of my kid, that Keenan takes after me in the sense that we actually enjoy public speaking. That's just sick & wrong, I know.
So, have I really changed all that much? I think people who know me now versus a few years ago, would say I definitely have more confidence and am more sure about who I am. That is the change that has come with personal life experience. But those who have known me a lifetime know me as the same Emma.
And just what about those boys in the back of the bus? Well, I must have made a lasting impression on one of them - enough for him to send me my favorite flowers yesterday.
Maybe "corny" works for me after all.