Where do you fall in the order of life? I just figured out that my place is second. I am second to my brother with my mother. I am second to friends and their parents to my son. I am second to the father of my stepsons. I am second in the eyes of the love of my life. I am second in command at my work. I am second to my friends who cancel appointments with me to play their tennis or meet their special friends. I am second as an author, publishing with small presses with genre and regional appeal instead of a New York publisher. I am second in my online forum to the regulars who have positioned themselves with those they know. I am second at redroom.com because I am not in the author's section due to a judgment regarding my publications that puts me outside their favored publishers. Perhaps I am not second with my bird; but I know my neighbor gives her more fresh fruit and vegetables than I do.
I didn't realize the second status until I had a long drive in the car in the torrents of rain with thunder rolling through the Heavens and lightning lighting up the building cumulus. I was on the way to do a favor for one of those friends who left me in the lurch at the airport because of a tennis match with those who come first. I was going to drop off a laminated newspaper clipping to another friend but remembered thecompany, those valued more than me. I called my mother who spent most of the conversation with tales of my brother and his family without so much as a question about my side of the fence and my son, the seconds.
The melancholy derived from the squall pulled together all the second pieces into a quilt of realization. I need new friends, new family boundaries, a stronger presence in publishing and a change in employment. I am not second rate, just a little too accepting of other people's choices that put them first. I am first rate in my delivery of myself as a friend, a colleague, an author and a family member. I am ready to put aside my needs to do a friend a favor, to help a colleague who asks for an extra hand and whatever makes my mom's life better. Perhaps I need to use that little word, "no," a little more often to make room for me.
It wasn't always this way. I was once at the top of my profession, in the cutting edge of expertise. I was once first in the eyes of my spouse and the heart of my infant child. I was my mother's first child. I still share my life by phone with a long-term friend with whom we have each been "first" friends. I am a master teacher. When I wrote textbooks and curriculum, my professional and technical publications appeared in magazines that were first in their field. I was one of the "first" founding members of a philanthropic organization with today's equities exceeding $50 million and was the president of several organizational firsts that provided advocacy for communities and people needing a little extra help.
When did I shift from first to second? It was when I started allowing my friends and colleagues to influence my thinking and behavior instead of leading from my own instincts, my own self care. It happened like the boiled frog story, a litle oil gradually heating until I am nearly cooked. I am grateful for the squall that represents the squall needed in my own life to change it all. At a minimum, I need to be first in my own eyes as I pursue my future and all that it has to offer.I need to remind the universe that I am first in someone's eyes; but today, I just don't remember whose. Just like the airplane where I pull the mask onto my face before helping someone else, i need to fill my lungs with the oxygen of my own worth.
Causes DK Christi Supports