This past August, I turned 40! Hold on! Wait.....what?! I remember turning 30 like it was this morning. The realization that another decade of my life had again elapsed was more than surreal, and the only thing I felt had changed more than my weight was my wait!
The introverted me was blissful and bellowing the quarantine blues. Meanwhile, the extroverted me had finally agreed to put her feet up and keep calm on this 'keep your distance' train. Ah, well, it's safe to cross the soirée off the to-do list. It was official, the day would be spent quiet, and I'd be somewhere overthinking life while drowning in a cup of the finest caffeine my money could buy. However, on thee day, it had to have been the most outpouring of love I'd experienced in a very long time. Go figure.
While every message and gesture was special and deeply appreciated, one, in particular, inspired today's post. To my surprise, a prominent man in Bahamian society, whose acquaintance I had the pleasure of meeting, sent me a message. Man, talk about speechless—and that's kinda hard to do.
Seeing is believing
The message wasn't written on my wall, where scores of Facebookers were reminded to send me a greeting, but it was a message sent privately, just for me to see. Several thoughts crossed my mind as I saw his name pop across my screen. And once I read it, I was glad it wasn't a message available for public view. I was totally taken aback. For one, he took time out of his busy schedule to acknowledge me and two, that little 'ole me' had even entered into his mind for such an acknowledgement. And there it was. Problem number one—the 'lil' ole me' way of thinking.
Aside from those two things, what was even more surprising was the message itself. It was apparent it wasn't generic. You know, like the one you copy and paste to send to everyone on your contact list. It was clear this message was written with Raquel in mind! Problem number 2 was now evident. To think that I, me, could not have left such an impact on someone that I was memorable enough to be remembered.
Among some other very encouraging words that I will allow to remain sacred, the message's end is what made me ponder. While it's an old phrase, that day, it hit differently. "You are 1 in 7.5 billion", it read, and for the first time, in a long time, I stopped to consider what that really meant.
The world has 7.5 billion people, and there is no one like me! What a concept. What a thought. What truth, all packed into less than 140 characters. Not that it's here or there, but this was not one of those dudes trying to shoot his shot. Believe it or not, some men can be genuine, pay you a compliment, and not aim to know you biblically.
Finders keepers (losers weepers)
After reading the message, I was immediately reminded of the phrase, ".....it's like finding a needle in a haystack." The old cliche suggests it's nearly impossible to find something that small, lost or hidden (you) in something relatively that enormous (the world). You see, that was how I lived my life.
No matter how many stages I graced, or how many microphones I stood behind, a large part of me never felt good enough to be there. Isn't that how most of us see ourselves, though? Who me? I'm just a small fry. Who me? I'm not that important. Nah, I'm okay right here behind the scenes.
As I pondered this thought, more than it related to my talents, I remember being asked by a guy I dated, "Do you feel you're too good for me?" I replied, "No," and surprisingly, he said he felt I was. It, of course, made me wonder, was I dating below my market value? Was I settling to not be classed a statistic?
Was this pride I had in my sticktoitiveness in past relationships actually about putting in the work, or was it plainly the fear of ending up alone? Was I simply the needle, glad to be lost in the haystack because it meant I was virtually invisible? Was I in the haystack trying to blend in, when because of my obvious difference, I'd stand out?
Shrinking became my comfort zone. "No, you do it! You're so much better at it than me!" I'd say. And even if that was true, nobody (with my name or not) has more "Raquelness" than me! Yet, I never wanted anyone to feel that I felt I was better than them.
Still, I know what it is to say "yes" when in my heart, it should have been a hard "no!" I felt the effects of sadness when I was laughing with people laughing at me. I wrote the book on people-pleasing, when I based all my decisions on others' opinions or felt guilty for setting boundaries.
I can't tell you how many times I kept quiet when I should have spoken up. Continuously, trying to silence the bubbliness and the boldness that's me. While all this made me comfortable in my haystack, it served as an injustice to my 1 in 7.5 billion status.
Look, I've been at the extremes of the spectrum. While I may not be advertising my body as clickbait, my waking life had many questionable moments. When I wasn't an overly aggressive chick with a chip on her shoulder, I was the 'too passive' crew leader, letting unacceptable behaviour slide. It took a long time for me to be comfortable with my femininity.
Honestly, you don't have to be disrespectful to get your point across. The Bible is accurate because I'll tell you that a gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare (Proverbs 15:1). It takes nothing of off you to say, "I'm sorry, I was wrong." You won't die if you just shut up and listen to someone other than yourself.
I promise, you won't cease to exist if you submit to the man you choose to bestow that honour too. Now your selection process..... honey, ain't enough tea in the pot today for that conversation. Moving right along!
Can you see me now?
Picture this, have you ever been looking for something, let's say your keys. I mean, you tore the house up because as far as you remember, you put it in the same place you always do. Arrghh, it's been almost an hour, and in your 550 square feet apartment, these keys seem to have vanished into thin air. You stop, you take a breather, and you sit down. You're flustered and angry 'cause now you're late. Then you get to thinking of how you'll probably need a locksmith (money you didn't budget for). You exhale in total frustration and defeat! And then, you look up.
There, from the corner of your eye, you see your keys, on the top shelf. I mean, in the very place you know you'd just looked at least a dozen times. What am I saying? Sometimes what you seek is usually in front of your face, but it doesn't become visible until you need it. Believe me, that delay of not finding your keys may have prevented you from some irreparable damage. Just think maybe you've seen him before.
Maybe your paths crossed briefly, but the timing was not right. Yes, you qualify for the job, but maybe your personal life needed to be rid of some distractions first.
"For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought. —Edmund Spenser
Funny how this one birthday message trickled a domino-effect, and I was reminded of 3 simple things:-
People in genuine pursuit are hardly distracted. What is for you will find you. Rest assured, it will make time for you, and it won't be to busy or distracted to recognize you.
The thing being sought after is already in its state of being. The keys you're looking for has the capability of starting the car. Are you prepared to be what you're in hopes of? (i.e. a wife, a mother, a friend, a business partner, etc.)
You are not for everyone to see or find just the person looking for you. While the whole incessant need to put everything on display is trending, I realize you tend to be mishandled when you're too accessible. Especially when your value is not recognized or appreciated. Trust me, someone is praying for everything you already are.
Needless to say, as real as his message was to me, so is it for you. You are, in fact, 1 in 7.5 billion, and that's not a backhanded compliment. Everything about you is unique. Even the way you annoy people. 'Cause I'll tell ya, ain't nothing more annoying than me when I'm strong and wrong! You are 1 in 7.5 billion. That's not a phrase said then succeeded by 'but.' It's a statement—period: no comma, no hyphen, no parentheses, no air quotations.
Listen, you have to perfect the art of walking into rooms with an 'I'm bout to shift this atmosphere' mentality. Let the aura around you exude the confidence of knowing whose you are and who you are. Now, let me caution you, don't be conjuring up this mindset and don't have the ONLY anchor that can keep you grounded (JESUS).
If you thought the line was thin between love and hate, try the one between confidence and arrogance. The secret to life is not only in the knowing, but it's in the doing. Are you hiding out in the haystack, or are you bold enough to say, "Hey haystack, I'm needle and we are NOT the same!"