It’s okay to be you. No, it’s great to be you. ALTERNATE TITLE: People can be fartknockers. (SENTIMENTAL ALERT! SENTIMENTAL ALERT!)

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I like to keep things funny. I like to keep things light. I like to talk about things that go bump in the night.

(No, I don’t. I never talk about things that “go bump in the night”, because what goes “bump” in the night?? Things get bumped. You might bump your knee on your way to sit on the pot, but nothing goes “bump”. Does it? I don’t want to get into a red-faced argument over this one, but I’m thinking not.)

I wasn’t going to write a post tonight, but I am. I mean…the fingers are typing away on this computer right at this very second, so I might as well see what they want to say.

“Fingers? What do you want to say?”

“We don’t want to say anything, ya freak! We don’t have mouths!”

(My fingers are super rude.)

I think this urge came from a couple of things. The first reason was Delilah. I blame Delilah. I heard Delilah on the radio in the car earlier tonight. Does everyone know Delilah? I used to think that little heifer was only using her soothing voice here in Houston, but, APPARENTLY, she gets around all over the country. You can’t imagine the devastation, the betrayal I felt when I knew she was talking to you about your hopes and dreams on the east coast as well as here in Houston. You know her, right? She is the DJ on the soft rock station. The one that always talks about her son, Zach? She makes up words with his name, like “Zachtastic”? I don’t know if she’s used that one, but if she hasn’t, she probably will soon.

Delilah is a little cheesy, is all. The thing is, people love the lady. I listen to her, too. Most of the time, I’m actually just waiting for her to close the yapper and play Toto’s “Africa” song. “I guess the rain’s down in Africa…” Man, I love that song. If she doesn’t play that one, I’m equally hopeful for “Drive” by Cars or “We Built This City” by Jefferson Starship. I do like her encouraging message, though, and sometimes we all need to hear it.

We need to be encouraged, right?

We all have different life circumstances, no doubt. Some of us have had it really, really rough. I know so many firsthand stories of devastation, loss, sadness and on and on. WE ALL DO. I work around it just about every day, too. I am a speech pathologist in a hospital and evaluate people with swallowing disorders after strokes, being intubated (put on a ventilator), etc. I see people who have recently tried to commit suicide way too often. Sometimes I hold my breath when I come around the corner into those patients’ rooms. I think, “What does a person look like that wants to kill themselves? Will they be disheveled? Will they be put together? Will they smile? Will they make conversation?” I never know what to expect. I almost feel like I’m looking at a ghost because they came thisclose to ending their time on this earth.

And I feel helpless.

And I begin to think about what brought them to that place.

And I begin to think of my family, my parents, my husband.

My children.

And I wonder if my children feel loved enough, feel lifted up enough, feel cared for enough, feel liked enough.

Enough.

Enough.

Enough.

And I realize that I am only one person and I am but a grain of sand compared to the number of people that have walked on this earth. There have been billions of us. What can one person do? What can I do to make someone else feel like they are “enough”?

To make my children feel enough?

I know I can’t do it alone. I know that I am powerless all alone. I know that God is greater.

And, so I pray for my kids.

But, do I pray enough?

Enough.

Enough.

Enough.

I don’t think I do. Before I went to sleep as a child, I had terrible anxiety. I wanted to make sure I prayed for every single  person I knew. I wanted to make sure that I prayed that an army of angels would envelop my house and protect everyone inside. I prayed that no one in my family would be taken suddenly because I couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t take it. I cried at the thought.

I got older.

I started realizing that life is incredibly short. I started to realize that life gets taken before we are ready for it to go. I started seeing that babies die and old people continue onwards. I just had a conversation with a 96-year-old lady just today. She’s still going.

And, it doesn’t make sense.

Not here. Not now.

My brain can’t contain it all. I know that my brain is finite. I know that I can’t fathom why things happen. I just know that I have to continue looking up. I tell my children all the time that we never know when our time will be up. It could be tomorrow for any of us. I tell them that we have to enjoy each day that God gives us and make the most of it. We have to love deep and laugh loud and hug tight.

But, we don’t have to be anxious about it. We will never love, laugh and hug enough.

It will never be enough by our human measurements.

We just have to keep going forward and touching the lives God puts in our path in a positive way. We just have to pray for more opportunities to touch the lives that God puts in our paths.

And, we have to know that people will let us down.

People do that.

People can be fartknockers.

We do that.

We can be fartknockers ourselves.

I have let people down.

I have been a major fartknocker a time or two. Or three. Times a lot.

Perfect example… I let my 4-year-old down tonight when I got angry. When I raised my voice too loudly and told him that I was going to put him in the bathtub with all of his clothes on his body if he didn’t get his little behind in it RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND.

I will fail again. I will be a fartknocker down the road.

We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to be somebody we’re not. We don’t have to be the absolute best at everything and patted on our backs at every turn and recognized for this or that every single time.

We don’t have to be the life of the party. It’s okay to be shy sometimes. I watch my oldest son as he adjusts to his new school of only a few months. I get a knot in my throat as I think about how hard it would be to switch schools. I feel for him as I watch him try to mesh in with kids who have known each other forever. I know he will be okay. I know it is okay for him to make his way slowly into relationships.

I know I can’t live through him. I know it’s okay if he struggles and if he’s sad and if he feels left out sometimes. We have all felt that way. He will be okay. He will make friends. I don’t have to be anxious for it, but sometimes I am. I want all to be great and happy and awesome right away.

But, I know this isn’t how it works.

Do you know in middle school I overheard a boy say to his friend, “Kelley Holt is ugly”? That hurt my dingdang feelings, y’all! Got me right in the heart! Right in the stinkin’ TICKER! It’s not like I didn’t feel that way anyway, but then he had to go and say it? I wanted to karate chop him in his right scapula! I wanted to break all of his Number 2 pencils in half! Right in half! Take that, ya fartknocker! I didn’t, though. Pretty sure I just stood there like a nincompoop while tears welled up in my eyes.

People can be fartknockers and that’s all there is to it.

That doesn’t mean it’s not awesome to be you.

So, like I suggested on the Kelley’s Break Room’s Facebook page tonight, let’s all stand in front of a mirror like Stuart Smalley did on SNL and say it together,

“I’m good enough. I’m smart enough and, doggone it, people like me!”

(You can add in “And people can sometimes just be fartknockers and that’s all there is to it!”, if you’d like.)

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