Glue. Yeah, glue. That’s what I feel like. I’m not flashy like glitter that jazzes up a craft project. I’m not as purposeful as a sign announcing a coming event, and I’m certainly not awe inspiring like da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. But I’m the glue often used to hold such artwork together. It’s an important role, but I often go unnoticed. That’s how I feel. I don’t need or want the spotlight. I just need a pat on the back from time to time. In other words, “Throw me a bone.”
I’m made to be dependable. I’m the rock everyone seeks. I’ll carry the weight of the world on my shoulders like Atlas. I’m made for that role, but it gets hard when I don’t stand out enough for people to notice. When troubles come a callin’, that’s when people come a callin’ on dependable, diplomatic me, but then they fade away as quickly as they came until the next time a need arises.
Most of the time it’s OK. Really, it is. Things naturally slide off my back. That’s the way I’m wired. But sometimes (and those “sometimes” often take years to roll around) the weight of the world comes crashing down on me. I’m strong, but I’m not Atlas. It’s not one thing “here” that gets me. Or another thing “there” that crushes me. It’s the long-term pressure of being the glue that holds things together for so many.
Not all the pressures come in the form of people relying on my to be their rock or the sounding board on which they bounce their problems. Sometimes pressures come from not being taken seriously. I have definite ideas on just about everything, but am usually not too vocal about expressing them. When I do, people tell me how easy it is to talk with me . . . even on controversial topics. However, in places where I am not valued, my input is often dismissed. That hurts. I’m OK if people don’t agree with me, but I love a deep conversation. But, sometimes people are more interested in being right than having a conversation. I’m getting better at identifying such situations and am learning that being quiet provides peace. And that’s OK. But, over time constantly listening to others while holding my tongue, I break. Thank goodness it’s easy for me to walk away. I crave peace and if walking away elicits peace, I can and will walk away.
Sometimes I don’t think anyone will remember me. I’ll never be the fun and wacky Aunt Kathy who burns moments of fun and elaborate celebrations into the minds of nieces and nephews. I’ll never be the high-school coach whose rough, but well-placed words of strong-armed wisdom change the course of a standout athlete’s life. I’ll never receive a tribute for being task-oriented wife who goes to extraordinary lengths to support her husband. I’m glue. It’s something, but it easily goes unnoticed because it lives in the shadows created by more memorable personalities.
I’m not very open. Glue doesn’t come out of its bottle until someone “invites” it. Sometimes I am the author of the distance I feel with people because I don’t cross boundaries until I know someone WANTS me; glue doesn’t flow until someone picks up the bottle, opens it, and requires it’s services. I’m kinda funny that way, but as soon as I know it’s OK, like glue I’ll flow a little more freely
I love a two-way street despite the fact I’m often moving at a slower pace than most of the people I share the road with. I don’t expect much, but I do enjoy a pat on the back now and then. Yeah, I know, it’s weird but that me. Just throw me a bone now and then, and I’ll be just fine. In the meantime, I’ll continue being the glue quietly holding things together.
©2013 Shona Neff