Whether we want to admit it or not, we have at one time or another held the bow or received the arrow of jealousy. It’s human nature.
“She’s such a show-off!”
“Look at her, she’s showing off.”
“She’s always showing off in front of everyone else.”
“Don’t be a show-off, dear. No one likes a show-off.”
I can hear these expressions in my head from childhood. I can’t pinpoint who said it about whom, but it was always one girl saying about another girl who was doing something that someone in the group couldn’t do. Or, it might have been someone commenting on an outfit that one girl had that perhaps the others couldn’t afford. I recall my mother reminding me that I was not to flaunt a gift from a special relative. Keep your head down. Blend in.
Kids can be mean. Girls are a tough group especially in a pack and behind your back. Whether we want to admit it or not, we have at one time or another held the bow or received the arrow of jealousy. It’s human nature.
Somehow, I always wondered why we couldn’t praise the girl who could kick the ball really far or solve every math problem when called to the board. I thought it was mean when people made fun of someone who had new clothes or a cool calculator (LED technology was so amazing!). I also wondered why I couldn’t show my friends my flower power watch received on my birthday.
With maturity comes genuine admiration, awe, and acceptance that others can do things that we might not be able to do. Others can have things that we might not ever have. And others may have worked hard for results that deserve praise not ridicule.
As I have aged and reflected on my own experiences, I have come to accept, albeit with some difficulty, that I am fairly adept at writing. I enjoy it. I work hard at it and I want to improve. I ask for help, I share my work, and I hope that by doing so I might inspire others to find an outlet for their creativity. Perhaps they may read something that I have written and find a small connection to something in their life. Perhaps they may reflect on my musings. Perhaps not.
Today, I came across a beautiful musical composition by a classmate of mine from high school days. She recently went back to the piano after thirty-nine years without one in her home and said that once she touched the keys the music flowed again. Her talent in high school appeared effortless. She could sing, play the guitar and the piano. There may have been girls who said she showed off.
I asked her if she was going to share her talents again with our group of friends and she said she didn’t want to appear to be “showing off”. Whether we are cognizant or not, the vestiges of the trials and tribulations of our youth remain with us. Lessons from our parents are ingrained and are difficult to shed.
Today, I sit with admiration for her determination to resume playing the instrument from her youth. Awe that she composed a beautiful melody that brings me joy. Acceptance that I can “show off” another woman’s talents and not feel jealous.
I hope you will take the time to listen to her music. Not for her, but for you. Realize that you too can return to a talent that you once loved; that you can take the time to practice, to hone your craft, to improve, to work at something that is meaningful to you.
Then, when you ready, flaunt it, parade it, strut it, unveil it, and show it off. Believe me, it will be worth the effort.