Forgettable or Unforgettable?

Detailed. Conscientious. Traditional. Loyal. Patient. Practical. Organised. Service-minded. Devoted. Protective. Meticulous. Responsible.

As the list was read out I sat quietly, fighting back tears. As Son#5 said afterwards, it sounded like a CV. Boring and dependable but not very exciting.

We'd done a personality test at work as part of a team building exercise. As others read out their lists they were able to be proud of such core attributes as sensitive, creative, enthusiastic, flexible, versatile, expressive. I felt like the spinster aunt at a bridal shower. Everyone else able to have fun except for me. I just wanted one fun-loving attribute ... just one that sounded as if I wasn't the serious little mouse that I am ... just one. Was that too much to ask?

The group games that we did weren't any better. The words others used to describe me included wise and a great sense of humour. Perhaps that last one wasn't so bad but it still didn't make up for all the other traits that to my mind seemed dull and boring. Perhaps it was the word that I chose to describe myself that best summed it up ... forgettable.


Fox said…
Hi Jules,

I don't post on blogs very much at all, but I had to this once. I don't think you are forgettable at all! I think your attributes are wonderful. If there is anyone who will not be forgotten, it is the loyal, devoted, protective, patient and responsible ones. They may not get all the glory... they may not be the ones that get the attention, but they are the ones people go to when they need someone they can depend on. The one that is turned to when they need a friend to listen, to help, to be there when it counts. The ones that mean so very much.

Excitement peaks and then fades away. Devotion can last forever.

I don't think anyone would describe me with exciting terms. In fact, I think I'd have a list much like yours (and I actually am a spinster Aunt so you can't take MY title!)but it doesn't mean we don't have fun. I've seen the pictures of you with your grandchildren... there is joy and fun there.

We are not all the same, thank goodness! I am glad God created us to be different so that the world isn't a boring place. Boring is everything the same! My sister is not like me... she is the fun one and I am the practical one. I can do things she can't and she can do things I can't and you know what? It's ok... it's a balance. I enjoy my sister... enjoy being around her and I think she enjoys being able to come to me, depend on me. I'm glad we can do these things for each other. Yes, I may feel bland at times next to her, but at the same time, I know God created me with unique gifts to offer to those around me, so I'm thankful I can use those gifts, even though they may not seem like the most exciting gifts to some. What matters is that they are the gifts God gave me, which make them wonderful!

I hope you will take a good look at the words in your list and what they mean, and see them as I do... wonderful compliments about a wonderful, giving woman.
Linda said…
I can relate. I feel like that on facebook. A sheltered life someone said about something I hadn't done that perhaps wild teenagers do. It didn't fit as it wasn't because of my parents or anyone that I was sheltered, I had sheltered myself! I find I have a personality that I portray, which is probably my core, but I have this whole other side that is fun, but I keep it controlled I suppose. Does that make sense? There are some people on fb that have supposedly had fun when younger but you can tell underneath they are actually less interesting to my mind, they would say the same about me of course.
winterwren said…
HI, Jules, my very unforgettable friend,

When I read that list and the first lines of your post, I initially thought you were fighting back tears because you were so touched by the wonderful things people said about you!

Fox already said it better than I could--what better attributes could their be than loyal and patient and service-minded and devoted and wise? Does 1 Corinthians 13 start out "love is flexible"? Those are the attributes I would *most* want to have!

I actually would argue that you are very creative (you are a published novelist, for pete's sake!) and sensitive (how kind you are to everyone in distress) and expressive (again, the writer thing.) And if being a mother of five, a grandmother, a quilter, and knitter, a writer, and a childcare provider isn't versatile, what is?

I really admire all of your attributes and hope that I have some of them, or wish I did. I am a bit on the other side of the fence--I always feel that I am annoyingly talkative or flighty or fickle or irresponsible or perpetually, maddeningly unpunctual (good thing I have patient friends.) I wish I was more like you, or my husband. I was complaining about this to a friend of mine, who I admire, and saying how I wish I was more like her, and she said, "are you kidding? You are flamboyant--I feel like a slow turtle next to you." Whereas I feel like I must drive everyone crazy.

So I guess the grass is always greener. But like Fox said, wouldn't it be boring if everyone was the same?
winterwren said…

Oh! I meant 1 Corinthians 13:4! I am sure you know what I meant, but I did not want to confuse anyone else. I was referring to the well known verses, 4-7, although the whole chapter is so beautiful...

Anyway, you can choose to post this comment if you think it matters enough to need correction; if not, just ignore me!
SchnauzerMom said…
Those are great attributes to have. I think you are a special person.
Sharlene said…
I must say that when I read the list I was impressed. Those descriptions point out quality that is rarely seen these days. People who are good for a laugh are rarely good for much more. I have continued to read your blog because I was attracted to wise and careful use of Scripture, your creativity -your gift of writing and beautiful hand crafts -, and your obvious joy in the things that are of true value. Take heart. People who have found you dependable to give kind help are not likely to forget you.
Really, Jules, you have qualities I greatly admire, and I wish that I didn't live so far away so that I could meet you in person.
Jules said…
I want to thank you all for your comments. I appreciate them so much and they show just how special each one of you are.

I don't know what my problem was other than I felt that I was dull and boring and that this list seemed to confirm it. I can see now that they are great qualities and ones that I would admire in others but at the time I didn't want to accept them because ... well because I wanted to be someone different. But that's not who I am.

Thanks too for saying that I'm creative. That was probably the biggest disappointment. I can remember sitting there thinking that I love to do all these creative things such as quilts, and knitting, and writing, and music, and yet I'm supposedly not creative?

And Sharlene, I would love nothing better than to meet all my blog readers in person. I have many online friends whom I'll never meet in real life but I treaure them all.
ladyofrohan said…
I guess I've always heard "fun-loving" to mean "somewhat obsessed with fun/will only do something willingly if it is fun." I don't think you can't have fun, I think you just realize there's more to life than fun.

I'd like to second what's already been said. I see a lot in you that I'd like to see in myself when I grow up. And yes, you are very creative.
Ohtawen said…
Dear Jules, this may be late, but it's heartfelt.

I think the list is full of formidable characteristics. If people in general nurtured at least one or two of those traits, the world would be a much better place. There's nothing wrong with being loyal, traditional, devoted... On the contrary, aren't those traits the ones people are supposed to look up to and try to live up to them?

Also, I'd like to add that attributes such as fun-loving and expressive are a matter of perspective. I've noticed that extroverts are generally described like that. And that's a product of their nature. They are outgoing and have no problem with exhibiting their inner selves. It's not like that for us introverts :) I behave differently when I'm with my family and friends and when I'm with colleagues. I suppose it's the same for you. And if people knew you better, they'd write down things like talented and fun to be with. We, readers of your blog, know that ;) I mean, if I knew a fraction of thing you do, I'd be proud of myself.
Linda said…
At the same time I was joking around with a high school friend on facebook with a similar background to me, and another person liked it so much they made me an admin to keep me around I suppose. You just never know when someone finds you fun or interesting. They told me about it later.

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