Turn Down for What

The song playing in this cozy coffeeshop. Not my musical scene, but a great writing prompt.

Sometimes, oftentimes, I feel like I overwhelm people.

And so I retreat, into my shell.

My son says “tu-tle” for turtle. It’s adorable. I record these words in a notepad, hoping they always sound as precious and babbly, yet refined as they do now.

But I don’t want to be a turtle.

I don’t want to turn down my temperament, my who I am.

I want to live in a constant state of refinement, turning up all the things.

What makes you, you?

What are the things that make you come alive, that define your character, that detail how you respond to the world and see the world and move amongst the world?

The words, the sounds, the mental pictures that people carry when they hear your name brought up in conversation…

Often times, at least for me, these are the very things I’m the most afraid of turning up.

Maybe it’s that insecure, messy part of me. But lies whisper loudly, and sometimes it is hard to cover my ears.

Eleven months ago we moved from a place where this was easy and safe for me to turn up…my family may have even joked that we were recluses in the mountains of California…but it was living with dirty feet and open hands and unlocked doors and the still of the starry night without a whole lot of fear of judgement or intrusion on the “noise” I was bringing and finding and holding…

But with intention, right off the plane, I knew I couldn’t retreat or I might very well lose my noise forever.

I had to ask myself, what–or who–am I turning down for?

To please people, to make a good impression, to fit into a backwards world, to not step on toes, to live without egg-shell walking?

Well those ways of living have always been fruitless and disappointing and lonely.

So I’ve been intent on keeping my volume turned up, and when it starts to fade, I take William by the hand and we have pajama dance parties and bring all the life to the living space with ridiculous, out-of our shell, tu(r)-tly dance moves.

In those moments I see myself as I was created. And when people hear my name they will probably have a laundry list of words, sounds and mental pictures come to mind.

Messy. Shy. But not. Open. Too open. Rambles a lot. Adventure-seeking, but a pretty big home-body. Creative. Intentional. A feeler. Or emotional? Reactive. Dramatic. Outdoor lover and easily amused. Lacking humor. Doesn’t get sarcasm. Faith-fixed and seeing. Wide, open space dreamer. Disorganized but likes lists. Family is her everything. Knowing people is priceless. Authentic living. Simple cook. Lacking salt. Well-conscious. Asking questions. Probably too many questions. A horrible dancer who really likes to wiggle. Sometimes awkward. Open door to a prayer…

These are (parts of) me.

Who are you?

Celebrate what makes you, you. I used to tell my students,

there will only ever be one of you.

And now I tell my children the same.

I will speak life into their bones and tickle them until they come out of their shell.

Their refining, tu-tly shell.

With a lot of noise I hope they never turn down, except for naps.

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