My grandma used to say, "jEEEn-i-fer, slow down. You are slurring your words, grandma can't understand you."
As if the emphasis on the jEEEn would remind me that my name had an elegant, soft "e" in it instead of the southern-drawl "i" that I had given it.
Jenny not ginnee.
As if telling me to slow down would make me any easier to understand. The problem was quite simple people: my brain was moving faster than my mouth. I can't help it that I was born into brilliance.
That is an example of a joke that most people will take seriously.
"Poor Jenny, she says she could never communicate because her brain was faster than her mouth. It must have been so tough on her being a child."
When in all reality, the line in italics is a joke. Sarcasm. My attempt at, or, more accurately, my first, blunt, un-rehearsed response to myself. I was not born into brilliance. I made an 820 on my SAT's. I just talked too fast because I was hyper and excited and later in the 90's they decided to call this ADHD and give kids drugs for this, but this was way before my time. So I was just hyper, excited, and distracted.
So the line about being born into brilliance? It was a joke.
On Feeling Misunderstood
I am feeling misunderstood lately.
By lately I mean the last 25 years or so.
I am almost 29.
The new jab in the band is, "That was a Jenny joke." Meaning: no one understands that was a joke, someone needs to explain it to the rest of the world, and yes, you probably offended someone in the process of making your sarcastic joke that no one else understood to be funny.
The babysitting blog.
I so love that each of you came to my rescue, told me to hold out hope for a good sitter, said you would never do the things I mentioned like stealing cookies, and told me of your own horror stories so I would not feel too bad. If I ever feel awful about life I will turn to each of you... you are bright spots of encouragement and love and I appreciate that about you guys. You make me smile.
But this time, in this past blog, I was ratting myself out about the horrible things I did during my years of babysitting (i.e. stealing cookies, Cheetos, writing emails, watching TV more closely than I watched the kids, and unfortunately following my all too nosey nose around the nooks and crannies of the house) and I was being dramatic as I poked fun at two slightly ding-bat, but otherwise normal 15- year-old girls who babysat my daughter the same way I babysat someone else's kid fifteen years ago.
The point of the blog for me was more: what goes around comes around.
The Rogue Blog
Don't get me wrong. The two hour early bed time, purplish legs the next morning, and 90 minutes of unadulterated TV for my four month old was not, umm, the best job that could have been done by any means. Still, she was alive, we were happy to have a night out, and once I wrote the dramatic re-telling of the evening to give myself a good laugh, I moved on. The blog which for me was funny and sarcastic took on a rogue life of its own.
Nearly a week later, I am still getting emails and calls from friends and family promising to come and babysit and apologizing for the awful experience. People are truly concerned.
Ryan says from now on I need to give disclaimers: This is supposed to be funny. This is spoken with sarcasm. This in tongue-in-cheek. This has been dramatized for the writers satisfaction. This is not really a serious issue.
As he told me about the so-called disclaimers I should be giving I tried to tell him, "But Ryan, it was funny. It was pointing out the circle of life. You are a bad babysitter, then you have to leave your kid with a bad babysitter, and then the karma comes back to bite you and you come home to no Milano cookies, and blah, blah, blah..."
All the while he kept talking about how I really needed to clarify myself better, a message I've consistently gotten from so many people, starting with my stinking grandma at age three.
Finally I snapped, "Ok fine, I get it, nobody understands me, I don't communicate the right way. Fine, just stop talking to me now."
Of course this is not a nice thing to say to your husband who is only, sincerely trying to help you clean up your un-rehearsed, rather rough-around-the-edges image.
He got quiet. I hurt his feelings. I did not mean to hurt his feelings. In reality, my feelings were being hurt. I was feeling awkward about myself and frustrated at my uncanny ability to make jokes that are not funny, to speak sarcasm that is taken as truth, to dramatize things that I believe are not as dramatic when the rest of the world experiences them, and to communicate in a language that sometimes, few understand.
He was trying to protect me, but in so doing he hurt my feelings. Upon which, I hurt his feelings and somehow at the end of that car ride... I was the bad guy.
Does anyone know what I am talking about when I say it is such a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach to feel misunderstood? To feel like you need to clarify what you say or how you say it? To feel like you constantly need to explain yourself, your actions, your beliefs, your personality to the rest of the world?
It can be tiring to feel this way. I know it all too well. This game of trying to be less of me because it is simply more easy that way... the less "me-ish" I am, the less explaining I have to do to the rest of the world who does not get me.
But God Does...
get me, that is.
I truly believe this. It's not just spiritual mumbo-jumbo I am saying to make myself feel better. He really is the only one that truly gets me.
There are passages in the Bible, when if read correctly, present the intimacy between God and his people in very intimate, almost disturbingly passionate (maybe even sexual?), deep ways.
I mean, don't throw a red flag on me yet, we are called the bride of Christ. The Bible talks about the excitement the bride has for her groom, the passion they have for one another, the commitment, the intimacy, the wedding night... I don't think he's just talking beaver-cleaver separate twin beds here people.
I think God is saying "take the most intimate relationship you know on this earth: marriage, and that example of intimacy doesn't even scratch the surface of how intimately I know you, love you, and long to be known by you.
(Recap please? Why is marriage the most intimate? Because you are having SEX. There, let's just say it. You are intimately connected to each other through sex, kissing, making love, holding each other, walking around the house naked, whatever; and you are emotionally, spiritually connected in a battle to stay in love with each other, to keep the peace in your lives and homes, to grow into more loving, humble, mature, God-fearing, people-loving, community-building, church-building, child-raising, friend-raising, people. marriage is intimate. Being a bride or a groom is intimate. Severely, painfully, awkwardly, beautifully, intoxicatingly intimate. And, my Bible says I am the bride of Christ himself.)
God knows me intimately. He just does. He knows the hairs on my head and the thoughts in my cluttered, sporadic, un-funny head before they even have a chance to make their way out into the world. He knows my pride. My lust. My arrogance. My ignorance. He knows my passion. My unbridled love for people. My innocence. My joy. He knows exactly how many drawers I snooped through as a babysitter and he knows the secret longings of my heart that no one else can understand.
My husband loves me. Deeply. Incredibly. Passionately. He knows me.
My God knows me more. He gets me more. He loves me more. Deeply. Incredibly. Passionately.
And thank God for that. My husband could die. We could divorce. We could grow a part. Or we could love each other with every ounce of wisdom, trust, passion, and effort until the day we die... still, he will not know me the way the Lord knows me. He will not love me, accept me, forgive me, and delight in me the way my God, my creator, my savior does.
He is simply a Ryan. He cannot fully understand a Jenny. I cannot fully understand a Ryan. He can try. And he does. I can try, and I do. But I am known, he is known, truly, fully, known...
loved, accepted, and cared for by God himself. I am his bride. He is my groom. With him, I am never misunderstood. In fact, I am more fully known and understood than I myself can even know. God knows me better than I know myself. God loves me more than I love myself. He gets me. When no one else does, God gets me.
And He reminds me of that when I feel the weight of the world bearing down. When I hear the voices that say, "No one gets you Jenny. Just be quiet. Clarify yourself. Just don't tell jokes, you're not funny. Do you need a translator? What planet are you from? Slow down, grandma can't understand you. " The voices. God the voices are always there aren't they?
But then God is there too. He is here. Reminding me that he gets me. He knows me. With Him, there is no need for a translator. There is no need to slow down. There is no need to sort my thoughts out and make them pretty. He just takes me like this... because HE MADE ME LIKE THIS. How could he not get me? How could he not get you? He made you, friend.
And dangit, he laughs at my jokes.