When we can't see people, literally
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Monday, June 04, 2018
By Joy & Charley
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If only I had a penny for each time I said Literally. I’d have a lot of pennies. Literally. I think it’s one of my favorite word because it adds so much emphasis on anything you want to say. Literally the coffee was amazing! LITERALLY I feel like I’ve been punched in the face. Literally I say the word too much. It's a screaming word, and adds drama to anything you are trying to say. I don’t even know I say it anymore. It’s like saying the word “the.” Do you count how many times you say the word “the” each day? No, You don’t.  I, literally, don’t realize I say the word ALL THE TIME, but I do. 


And literally, I am driven by efficiency. If there is a faster, smarter way to accomplish any task I can see it. I am more efficient and productive than the average person, it can be quite a gift at times. You know a to-do list? Ya, I crush those. The downside is that I really can’t stand or even have the patience for dealing with people who take their sweet time or are honestly just trying to help but moving at molasses pace. It is such a struggle most days for me to sit idly by and watch people try to problem solve. I want to push them aside, literally, and take over. My mom is the most detailed anal-retentive person you will ever meet. I say this fondly. Honestly, I do. But if I have to watch her organize the kitchen pantry, I might as well stab my eyes out. She takes 4 days to complete the task with three runs to the container store, and one label maker purchase. She color codes, size compares cereal boxes, and becomes distracted at how many processed foods are in her house, then vows to never buy a Dorito bag again, and begins researching what it means to be paleo. Her pantry will end up immaculate, and she will vow to never have it be in chaos again and informs my dad that he can no longer eat grains. It will stay this way for approximately 6 days. I just can’t watch her organize a thing. Because this task would be completed in a total of 45 minutes with an Amazon pre-order to ensure I had every single organization item I needed to start the project. No, it would not be as detailed as hers, but it would definitely be organized. I am not saying my way is better, it’s just more efficient. Trust me, my mom can run circles around me when it comes to details. I am a big picture person, and small details as much as they are important make me yawn. 


As I write this, I am sitting at a local Charlotte bakery, because I know if I go home and try to write, my eyes cannot un-see the clutter of a household that contains, two adults, two messy children, one dog, and one cat I despise. Plus I rushed out of the house, which means there are dishes in my sink.  I simply cannot do ANYTHING creative if there are dishes in my sink. It’s kinda a joke at my house, like “don’t leave dishes in the sink or Carla may cut you.” So anyway, I’m sitting here in this coffee house, contemplating writing and of course the wifi is locked. I look around, the two people next to me are both on their computers. I politely ask the lady to the right of me if she knows the wifi password. She starts a 5 minute search to divulge the information, and the entire time I’m thinking it would’ve been faster to just go ask the people who work here. I literally have to take myself out of rushing her. She is helping, Carla. People are important, Carla. You asked her, Carla. Remain Silent, Carla. Patience Carla. She is more important than the wifi password. 


I say these things over and over again to myself numerous times a day. Because so many times in the past, the task at hand was made more important that the person in front of me. Which, I have learned makes that person feel not important and I come off just plain rude.  It has been a real struggle to put PEOPLE before tasking.  The struggle is still real! I don’t want to come off rude and dis-engaged so I have to adamantly work on this problem.  I did not recognize this about me for the longest time, but the more I get to know myself, the more I can present a btter version of me to others.


Just yesterday, I listened as my two kids played legos. My son, who is 6 years older than my daughter, lives and breathes legos. All he wants are Star Wars Legos. His younger sister adores the ground he walks on, and on this particular day was building her own unique creations at the same table as him. From the other room I hear a loud CRASH, with a scattering of plastic pieces sliding across the hardwoods, with a yell from the eldest. “GEEZ EVY!!! YOU SHATTERED MY DROID FIGHTER!” (I’m inserting droid fighter here, because as much as I enjoyed the latest Star Wars movie that just came out, I have no idea what spaceship title he actually yelled out.) But I knew exactly what broke and who broke it. 


After being screamed at and most likely feeling like her brother hates her, she screams at him “I didn’t mean to, Austin!!” and storms upstairs.  I yell from the kitchen. “Austin, the legos are not as important as your sister! Believe or not, she is MORE important.”


Yes, we are a house of screaming people, I am aware. 


I walk in the other room, help him piece together the droid figher/spaceship thingie, and explain yes this is important to you, yes you want it done perfectly, but SHE is more important. People are always more important than things. He calls her back down, apologizes and they continue to play legos for the rest of the afternoon. He literally melts my heart because he gets it. 


SHE is more important.


HE is more important.


PEOPLE are more important than that thing you are trying to get done.  


Can we just stop for a second? Can we take a moment, in the middle of our busy, anxiety-causing schedule and just push the PAUSE button and SEE people. For this task orientated, get it done, to-do list addict is has been a hard lesson to learn, literally.

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