When Marvia Davidson suggests something, I am in. This is a particularly brilliant idea. She started a link up called Real Talk Tuesday. This week we are talking about shame.
We’ve been to the pool 5 of the last 6 days. I keep waking up and asking the girls if they want to go to the movies or the park. They keep telling me they would rather just get their suits on. It’s not worth arguing over, and we have already paid for the pool.
At the pool though, sometimes I am transported back to my youth. The smells and sights and sounds are all exactly as they once were. Especially the sounds. The feet patpatpatpatpat against the pavement, slowly gaining in speed as they head for the slide until TWEETTWEET the whistle, WALK! Oh, yes. pat pat patpatpat.
The whistle, OH! The whistle. One big long whistle to signify time to jump in and another to signify a ten minute break. (I’ve learned to bring a snack for each break we are likely to sit through. It keeps everyone much happier.) Then in between a constant barrage of tweet-tweet to remind everyone of the rules. But I hate the whistles. The first two days I was at the pool I looked up paranoid at the lifeguards every time the whistles blew. I grew pre-emptively embarrassed and even threatened to leave and never come back when Juliet escaped from my hands and dove headlong into the pool in the midst of a break. I was mortified. No one had to blow the whistle. I was doing it to myself.
TWEET you’re doing it wrong
TWEET your body is wrong
TWEET you’re parenting wrong
TWEET your oldest is too friendly and adventurous
TWEET your youngest is too timid
TWEET everyone is looking at you TWEET everyone is judging you TWEET you are violating rules you don’t even know about TWEET wrongwrongwrongwrongwrong TWEEEEEEET!
You see, I got the purpose of the whistles mixed up. They are only designed to enforce the rules that keep everyone safe. If me or my kids are getting tweeted at, it isn’t to tell us to go home, but rather to remind us the best ways to stay safe.
Somewhere along the way I got confused about the whistle, at the pool and in my life. I thought correction was telling me to give up and go home. If I couldn’t figure out how to do it perfectly, I was out. (Take for example, this post, Real Talk Tuesday on Wednesday, but that is okay, I am still doing it!) I thought the whistle meant STOP THAT YOU ARE SO BAD! When really it just means HEY! That isn’t a good idea, try another way. Whistles are important, and life saving, but we can’t interpret them to think we should just stay out of the pool.
The whistle for me has been when people I love imply that I don’t know what I am doing but should. It makes me feel shame. Instead of support I felt condemnation; instead of encouragement I felt the need to withdraw.
It is tough to push back on those that love you but it is not healthy for the relationship if you don’t. It took me a long time to be willing to do so.
You speak life into my heart. Every day. Thank you for this reminder.
This here sister is why I enjoy reading your words!!! You keep it real and true. I think I’ll go swimming this weekend and remember to just enjoy the moment.
Oh, yeah, I know that whistle!! Well done, Abby – as usual.