Carrots or Kelp? Why people don’t always get you
I have a not-so-secret obsession. I’ve tried to stop, but I can’t seem to help it. I am compelled to collect words — especially quotations. There’s just something about stumbling over a thoughtful phrase that perfectly describes something I know to be true (and could never say as prettily) that thrills my little heart!
Here’s a recent favorite:
I complained about this recently to a friend,
this disconnect between who we are and how others perceive us.
I said: “The trouble is, I’m a fish,
but everyone thinks I’m a rabbit.”
The friend just looked me in the eye and said:
“Then why do you surround yourself with people
who can only give you carrots?”
(from I Knew You’d Be Lovely by Alethea Black)
Rabbit or Fish Moment
I had a carrot vs. kelp moment not too long ago. It was a wintry Tuesday night, and I was sitting in a metal chair in a drafty basement, surrounded by a crowd of women.
It was a community choir rehearsal, and our regular director was out of town on a much-needed vacation. So, a visiting conductor was leading. You only had to listen to him for a minute to tell this was a jolly man who knew music well, longed for us to love it like he did, and aimed to create “community” as well as “choir” with his rehearsals.
Before warm-ups he had the idea that we should introduce ourselves and share the last piece of music we’d listened to.
I was seated about two-thirds of the way through the group, and as the introductions began, the entire room turned into a Reality TV Voting System. When one person announced her music choice, some voices would agree, others would titter or comment, and the collective ooh’s and aah’s rose and fell based on how “acceptable” the piece was.
My cheeks grew warm, and I fidgeted as I waited for my turn because:
- I hate “judge” situations and try to avoid them as much as possible.
- My every day allows for little music listening, and I was having a hard time remembering the last piece I’d heard.
My turn came, and after I said my name, I blurted out “Pandora” (partly because it was the truth, and partly because I felt a little bit rebellious). The room grew quiet, and the director blinked at me blankly for a few seconds before nodding pseudo-enthusiastically and moving on.
Changing the Lenses
When I think of this silly, small event, I’m drawn back to the carrot quotation. In that moment, sitting in the metal folding chair, it dawned on me that many of the people in that room saw life a certain way – through a Music-Is-Ultra-Important lens. And while I used to wear those glasses too (like when I was taking 15 years of piano lessons, winning state competitions, earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts, doing music ministry in church every Sunday, singing in traveling groups, soloing in a women’s ensemble), I’ve taken them off.
I value other things now. Not because I suddenly hate music or anything — just because I know myself better today. Now I know more things I truly love, know who I am, know clearly what I was created and called to do.
Do you ever feel like the people around you just don’t get you? That maybe you view life from a far different vantage point than they do?
Are you ever confused about why people keep handing you carrots when you’re a radiant angel fish?
You should never have to convince yourself you love orange with stripes when turquoise with bubbles is more your style. No one deserves to be force fed. That’s why knowing who you are and what you’re specifically created to do is so important.
You are marvelously and intricately created by the Greatest Designer in the world who’s never made a mistake on any of His works of art. Maybe it’s time to swim out to sea a little? Find a new circle or two? Or perhaps take some time to sit and ponder what you really love and who you truly are?
That’s one of the first steps toward life in Canaan – embracing who you are and what you love, and doing what you were created to do.
(Psst… pass the kelp, please.)