Saturday, May 19, 2007

Random Thoughts

I've been scrubbing in the kitchen. Let's just say that since I don't cook much and I don't spend a lot of time in there, it was in desperate need of some TLC. Hmmm ... I shouldn't speak in the past tense. I'm not done.

But, as I've been scrubbing and sniffing the clorox (side effect, not on purpose), I've been thinking about several conversations in the last few days and an email conversation I've been having back and forth with my dad's sister. They've all been processing around in my mind and I keep having a lot of thoughts that are random bouncing around. None of the conversations are tied together, so it's been really chaotic up there.

Yesterday at lunch with a bunch of friends, I began thinking about me and how odd I really am. But, if I try to think too far down that road, I make myself more than I really am. So, I stop thinking that way. Because I'm no different than anyone else in most ways. Many of us so desperately want to be unique, to stand out in the world ... we want that 15 minutes of fame that Andy Warhol spoke of. But, do we really? We want people to recognize in us that quality that sets us apart from the rest of humanity.

Last night I was watching "Paula's Party" on the Food Network with friends. Paula Deen is terrific. I love her. She doesn't mind being who she is. There are no apologies for what she says and does. What you see is what you get with her - and she's wonderful!

I'm getting closer and closer to being that person. I don't want to apologize for what I think and what I say. (unless I wound someone - then I need to say 'I'm sorry' right now!) But, I want to live my life with the confidence that the decisions I make will be enough for who I am. I don't want to question myself or have other people question me. I want to know that when I am walking with the Lord, I am doing it with confidence. That He and I will spend time talking about things before I wade into them and that I will stroll forward knowing that He and I have discussed it first.

The day that mom told us she was dying and probably only had 2 weeks left was transformational to me. That really was a day that I made a decision about life. It was a conscious thought process that I remember. I was no longer going to be guilty about decisions I made in life. Life was too short. If I made a decision, I would stand by it until I had to walk away from it. One way or other, I was going to be assured that my decisions would be appropriate and would be guilt free.

Now, I don't always follow that dictum in my life. Sometimes life is too difficult and I make rash decisions. But, for the most part, I want to live like that and I try to live like that. I'm not going to apologize for who I am.

When I was young, I was actually two separate personalities (no, not the schizophrenic kind). I put on a persona when I walked out the door. My father was a well-respected man in the community and he had a lot riding on that respect. People needed to know that he was a good man and that his family supported his life. Mom instilled this in us from the beginning. So, when I left the house, I became my father's daughter. I was good in school, I was a talented musician, I didn't talk back, I respected my parents, I did the things that were necessary for promoting his ministry. I was head of the youth group and raised more funds for trips, etc. than anyone else. I taught Sunday School, I sang in the choirs, played handbells, directed either choir when necessary, sang in church with my sister and with every Christian group there was. I excelled in school, participated in all of the right activities. I was a good girl.

Then, I would get home and I was angry. Dad wasn't much fun at home. He was stressed because of his work, he gave everything he had to the people in his church. He and mom fought a lot ... when he was home. We were glad to have him leave to go back to the church in the evenings for meetings because we had some freedom. We could watch television without Dad thinking we should be doing something productive.

Does this fit in with the image I've painted of Dad over the last few weeks? It should ... because what Dad did was give his life to the people that surrounded him. Our family was expected to be his support system and restore strength to him when he walked in the door of our home. That was a lot to expect of small children, but mom taught us how to do it. She loved him more than anything.

I don't resent him for any of this - it's what we did to get through life. But, I made decisions during those days that I didn't like. I wasn't who I wanted to be. I was Dad's daughter - not Diane Greenwood. Diane wanted to be out partying with her friends, but they wouldn't even ask me because they knew I would turn them down ... I was Dad's daughter.

Dad didn't believe in drinking ... at all. It was such a strong belief that he wouldn't even let us shop at a local grocery store because they sold beer. Fortunately another store in town didn't. (this was the 70s). I couldn't hang out with my friends at a local pizza joint because they sold alcohol. I never ate broasted chicken because it was generally sold in bars in small town Iowa.

By the way, I did hang out at the pizza place - because mom made sure that I wasn't completely held back by my father's strict demands on our lifestyle. As long as he didn't see me going in or out, I was fine.

But, this was a weird life to live! I don't wear makeup because the one night I was putting it on for a dance I was going to, Dad told me that too much makeup would make me look like a whore! Mom tried to cushion that, but in it crept. So, makeup never became a part of my life. I will wear it sometimes, don't get me wrong - I'm not an idiot ... it's just another of those things that I left for other pursuits.

I didn't drink alcohol until I was a senior in college - it wasn't until Dad moved away from the Omaha area that I really did a lot of drinking. I couldn't stand the thought that someone would tell him they saw me in a bar. That would destroy him!

For years I was a specific person because of the affect that my lifestyle would have on Dad's ministry and his life. I was so careful.

Here's more confession. I have a very foul mouth. I'm not proud of it. But, my husband laughed at me because my foul mouth could snap on and off depending on whether or not I was around Dad. Max told me that I had my own version of the Hays Code (Movie Production Codes from 1930-1967 that governed violence, vulgarity, nudity, etc.) going on. When we were driving up during the week after Dad's death, Max informed me that I was finally released from the Hays Code. Whatever {grin}.

But, even still, with Dad gone, I feel like I have to be a different person because people know that I am a leader in the church. I can't be real around everyone. I worry about their acceptance of me. Of course I'm careful to never do anything that would lead someone astray. I'm not stupid. That's a God thing for me. But, I want to be who I am! All of who I am. Not apologizing for things because I'm worried about what someone will think or how they will react.

I want to be wholly Diane Greenwood Muir. I'm 47 years old, for heaven's sake. I think it's about time that I quit worrying about what people think. So, if it scares you ... run from me. I don't have time to deal with that.

I love God ... I love His Word - more than I can say! I love that I can walk with Jesus Christ every day of my life. I love my husband - even though we have a very unconventional marriage - according to the world. I love my friends, even though most of them are a lot younger than me and challenge my thinking daily. I love my family, even though they may never let me be all of who I am - because they know me only one way. I love my job, even though it means that I have an expectation to be the 'good Christian girl' when I walk into the office - I beat off that expectation on a regular basis, by the way.

But, in all of those things - I'm not a skinny little thing ... spending hours each day worrying about every bite that goes in my mouth, I like adult beverages - sometimes they relax me after a stressful period in my life. I swear and curse - sometimes too much, but there it is, it's part of me. I gossip. I hate that about myself and I'm always trying to change it, but until Jesus returns, I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to be able to erase it completely from my life. I spend too much money on books, music, movies and going out to eat. I love geeky tech things - and though I should probably be giving all my money to the poor ... I fail miserably at that.

I am a failure in so many ways. It's ok! Because I tell you I accept myself the way that I am, that doesn't mean that I will stay this way forever. I am constantly trying to be better - but, by golly, I'm going to be measuring myself against God's yardstick, not the world's. I don't have time for self-recrimination, or judgmental attitudes from people around me.

I will always be who I am. For the most part, I love who I have become. All of that crap you read about my father earlier in this post? That stuff is just one of the textures of my personality. Don't feel sorry for me. I certainly don't (unless I'm hormonal and really feeling sorry for myself - and then it's simply a reaction to a chemical imbalance). Dad was a wonderful man. He was a human man. He rose above humanness so many times and other times he simply gave in to it. Don't we all?

And as for fame ... oh well. It's not all it's cracked up to be. Oh ... and Cody ... I know this is a long post and you'll yell at me about it, but, ummm ... I'm not apologizing for it!


Jacqniel said...

Not having multiple personalities is hard. I think we all have more than one, but they are intertwined. It is a way of protecting ourselves as well as portraying what we think others expect.
I occasionally allow myself to fall into potty mouth mode - although there are a few choice words I don't let loose - they make me cringe. There are just times that they seem to be the best choice of verbage!
While my dad wasn't a preacher, he was fairly visible in the community and also gone from home alot because of these 'committments' - so I can relate.
I, too was the 'good girl' in high school and didn't drink, etc. until college. While I wasn't a wild thing I certainly enjoyed my new found freedom in a different town.
I enjoyed your random thoughts - and Cody will probably think my comment was too long. ;-) Oh well.
Love you - Jacque

Diane Muir said...

So ... here I am ... 47 and finally trying to blend all of my 'personalities' into one. I like the thought that we are protecting ourselves. And you're right on the portraying ourselves. I watched a documentary on Kate Hepburn. She carefully crafted her personality for people to see. That was interesting to me!

Rebecca said...

This blog gave me courage so thank you!!! It is a returning thought in my mind that God created us each uniquely and all our quirks are little beauty marks to Him.... and I try so hard to remember that on horrible days when I find I have conformed to fit or fill a role or need...but what you wrote is what I hope will seep into my soul over the next few years... as I learn more about my body... I realize taht we are amazing creatures... and should not apologize for any of it!

Bravo to you girl... you are amazing and I am truly truly inspired by you all the time!!!