Once, during a psych class, we were asked to describe each other as an automobile and a flower, among other things. I was dismayed to find my classmates overwhelmingly categorized me as a station wagon and a daisy.
Of course, their choices were framed in what they considered flattering terms. I was practical, able to carry a load, and not easily stopped. (I wanted to be seen as having speed, elegance, and cornering.) As far as flowers went, I loved daisies, but wanted others to see me as something a little more unusual—or at least less omnipresent and smelling good.
This wasn’t how I saw myself. Though I wouldn’t have picked something expensive as a Porsche, I didn’t see myself as the very thing parked in the majority of suburban neighborhood driveways. I saw myself and hoped others saw me as a trailblazer—perhaps a Range Rover—practical, but ready to handle even the most daunting of landscapes and adventures.
Thirty years later, I’m ok with being a daisy. I like being the one to bring a smile to the face of casual passersby. I don’t want to be inaccessible or even less accessible.
I still struggle, though, with the station wagon moniker. I rest uneasily under the mantle of average and practical. In middle age, I still yearn to make a statement, to turn heads, and to foster admiration.
But, alas, you can’t hide from who you are. Friends don’t see us as we want to be seen. They see us—and love us—as we are. Whatever else I’ve achieved in my lifetime, I’ve been blessed with friends. If they choose to include a station wagon in their livery, I’m happy to drive it over.
© Laura Hedgecock 2013