Not Like Me

I watched that ‘hunk of burnin’ love’ from across the crowd.  It had been a fun day, riding my bike around Mackinac Island in northern Michigan and then happening upon the outside summer concert.  I wasn’t content to just watch ‘Elvis,’ I wanted to get up close to him.  As soon as he finished his show, I made my way across the plaza to where he exited the stage.  Motioning to him, I got his attention and asked, “Could I have a picture?”  That’s not like me.

Usually, I would observe at a distance and watch other women do what I was now doing.  But since I was by myself, on my solo journey to Michigan, I had none of those well-perfected signals from my husband that reigned in my spontaneous behavior, or from my sons, since they weren’t there to hold me back with their embarrassment or “Oh, Mom!” exasperation.

Elvis gave me a sideways hug as we posed for the camera.  In that exciting nostalgic moment, I was in ninth grade, catching a dizzying whiff of English Leather and feeling my heart pound when my teenage crush asked me to dance and the newly released,“Suspicious Minds” played.   fullsizeoutput_a

Now when I look at the picture, it always makes me feel more lighthearted and glad that I wasn’t held back from what I wanted to do.  It reminds me of another time when I’d surprised myself with my uninhibited behavior.

It was back when I was just out of cancer treatment and finally able to travel.  I attended a research conference in San Francisco along with my coworker from The Research Company.  There were over 300 attendees in the hotel ballroom where the opening session was held.  Of all the speakers that could kick off that meeting, they had a breast cancer survivor who’d benefitted from clinical trials.  She was there to thank and inspire the crowd before the scientists had their turns.  Sitting in the middle of the large room, I felt like I was on that stage when she told about pulling out gobs of hair after she started chemotherapy.  Her hair was short and wavy like my new, post-cancer hair.  While it was hard to listen, it felt like she was the one person I could identify with.

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Another participant shakes hands with the speaker

When she finished, I made my way across the room to the line of people waiting to speak with her.  I’d never done that before.  I was usually content to be just one in the crowd– but not that day.  When it was my turn, I told her how I’d just finished chemo and was getting used to my new hair, too.

“And you’re a research professional?  That’s wonderful,” she said, and we chatted for a while.

I noticed a man that was standing very close to us and appeared to be eavesdropping.  After we finished and I started to walk away, he stopped me.  He apologized for listening in and said he was a reporter with the San Francisco Chronicle.  He asked if I’d mind telling him more about my experience as a cancer survivor who was also a research professional.  When we finished our conversation, he said the article would be in the next day’s paper.

And there it was.  The article pictured above had my quote at the end.  Me, in San Francisco, having the final word.  How did that happen, I thought and laughed to myself.

Now I look at both situations and think that the combination of wanting to connect with the fellow cancer survivor and with Elvis, and not being held back by being afraid I would embarrass myself or someone else, had pushed me to be a bolder person.

Someone Not Like Me.

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View of Lake Huron at Sunset the night I saw ‘Elvis’

How about you?

In what situations have you stepped out of yourself and been bolder than you imagined?

What conditions needed to be present for you to do that?

 

8 thoughts on “Not Like Me

    • Hi John,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I think there are times we may be too rigid in our behavior, especially if we tend to be shy. But if ‘opening up’ helps us to be more relaxed, fun- loving, honest– then I think it is acceptable. Best to you, Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I can identify with your words about how those closest to us in relationships – husband and children – are the ones that can hold us back the most as far as being spontaneous. It’s given me something to think about.
    Good story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Debbie. I know that I’ve held back people I’m close to as well. We’re comfortable with certain well-rehersed, familiar behaviors and when others’ step out of those, it throws us off-kilter. At least that’s what I think. One reason I find solo journeys freeing is I’m not bound by those limits that I would be if I traveled with others. Thanks for reading and commenting, Debbie. Best to you this day, Connie

      Like

  2. I believe it is the mark of a strong person when they act how they truly feel and in a way that harms no one in spite of inhibitions. Life would be mighty colorless if no one did so!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just loved this one soooooooooooooooo much. That reminded me of when I went to the cemetery in Lillington 4 years ago and saw Donnie Stanley for the first time in 43 years!!!

    I think that you might want to consider Swannanoa for your solo trip this winter/spring. Emily’s new community is more than awesome. It is a great place for the and the little wild ponies!! She has room for you and you would enjoy sitting on her huge front porch during the daytime weather permitting. It made me think of how winters must have been in West Va. for Uncle Hackney and family. Take care and have a good week!!! H

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Harriet,
      You were brave and you were able to reconnect with someone who’d been important to you years ago. I’m glad for Emily’s new home and look forward to visiting her.
      Hope you have a good week, too. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.
      Connie

      Like

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