So I know some people aren’t fans of PDA, but I’m not talking about the kind of PDA that grosses people out on buses. No this blog is not about public displays of affection, but rather public displays of affirmation.
Public displays of affirmation embarrass me. Private displays of affirmation embarrass me. Affirmation embarrasses me, get it? I become an awkward mess if people compliment and affirm me, for something I’ve done, who I am or even what I look like; affirmation is kind of a thing that I just don’t want or need to hear.
But the annoying thing is, over the last few years, as I’ve become more aware of who I am as a person and professional, I’ve realised that actually, regardless of whether I want to, I need to hear words of affirmation; especially when it comes to work. My old boss used to make me stand in her office and accept a compliment before I was allowed to shuffle off in embarrassment. Sometimes it is when we least want to, that we need to be forced to hear the words of affirmation people are speaking over us.
Almost a month ago now, something horrible happened. Something that knocked my confidence so badly that I am still unsure of how I will go about rebuilding who I was. Something that meant I forgot the words of affirmation that had been spoken over me in the past and don’t quite know how to hear the ones people are trying to speak at the moment. I’ve wanted to write about the situation, to try and rationalise and make sense of some of what I’m feeling, but I simply don’t know what to say and don’t really know if I want to say anything. Suffice to say, I’m tired, hurt and a bit broken.
I realise that the only way I’m going to regain some confidence and learn to be me again, is by remembering the countless people who have made me who I am. There is a cast of thousands (literally) who, over the years, have loved, encouraged and shaped this girl into being. So, if you’ll forgive me, I’d like to indulge in some PDA with this open letter…
To the one(s) who spur me on…
To the ones who share my DNA, my name and my short legs. You are the ones who have taught me that our blood and our love is so much thicker than what the world throws at us. With you fighting (amongst yourselves) in my corner, I know there is nothing I can’t face. You spur me on.
To the one who has always been there and always will be, you are the best. We have stood side by side, facing life’s changes together and for your hand of friendship during those times I am forever grateful. You know me in spite of my masks and knowing you love me even if we haven’t checked in with each other in a few weeks gives me the courage to keep going. You spur me on.
To the one who is closer than she used to be, I don’t know what I’d do without you. You make me want to be a better person. You know exactly the right thing to say, even when it isn’t the right thing to say. Because of you, I look for solutions, instead of simply seeing problems. You spur me on.
To the one who is further away than I’d like, you encourage me to continue loving what I do. You gave (and continue to give) me hope at a time when things looked petty bleak. You were my friend when that’s what I really needed. You spur me on.
To the one who hurt me, you gave me a passion, a mission and a voice by trying to silence me. You aren’t in my life but because of you, I am who I am today. You spur me on.
To the one I used to want to be, you set me on this path of adventure. You inspired me to believe that I could do something I was good at. You spoke more words of affirmation over me than were ever necessary. Because of you I know what it is to love going to work. You spur me on.
To the ones who I’ve not known long but see everyday, you make the ordinary, extraordinary. You have taught me what it looks like to be good at your job, even when your job isn’t good to you. Because of you I laugh every day. You spur me on.
To the ones who have adopted me, who treat this sometime waif and stray like one of their own. You’ve taught me the complexities of what “family” sometimes looks like. You love me when you really don’t have to and often probably shouldn’t. You are incredible, grace filled, forgiving people. You spur me on.
To the ones who have taught me, you have shaped me and left me in awe. You ignited in me a thirst and passion. You showed me what it was to work hard and what it means to achieve. Because of you I understand the joy of imparting knowledge and guide learning You spur me on.
To the one who is my male counterpart and the one who is basically my sister, you are some of my best friends. You get me when nobody else does and you find me funny when nobody should. You remind me where I’ve come from and model what I can push for. You spur me on.
To the littlest one who fits snuggly under one arm. You show me how powerful love is. Your smile speaks louder than any word of affirmation. I would do anything for you. You spur me on.
To the one, the one holding the big picture, because of you I know what it is to have faith that in spite of this current situation things will be ok because they have to be. Because of you I know that I am loved, I know I’m forgiven, I know that I am called and equipped, I know that I am blessed beyond measure. Because of you I live. You spur me on.