This post was going in a completely different direction. It had to do with the prickly feathers of someone’s ego whisking away the ideas of others in order to bring importance to what the ego in them desires.
But then I glimpsed my reflection and saw my own prickly feathers beginning to flutter open.
I stopped mid-thought, mid-rant, and my breath held for a few seconds. What was it about this experience that irked me so much? Why did it ruffle my feathers so-to-speak? I understand that I was witnessing someone’s desire to be recognized no matter the cost. I get it. We all need to feel valued. But there seemed to be more to it.
And then I remembered.
I remember the first time my work was “stolen”. I remember the raw shock of reading someone else’s name attached to my work. It is true – feelings never die, they just get buried waiting for the opportunity to say “See, I told you this matters!”
I was a copy editor for my high school Senior yearbook. Each Senior had the opportunity to write a few lines under their photo about their H.S. experience. I was to read them for appropriateness, word count, spelling, etc. It was fun. Until I read the following:
If I am to die tonight,
never to feel the warmth of the sun and
never to say goodbye and thanks,
please remember that though things didn’t always
seem right, I tried my best to overcome.
And though I did not always succeed, I did try.
That was my poem. Mine. Not the person who used it and put her name to it. Mine. My 17 year old self was so angry! I remembered when I shared it with her and how she loved it and how she asked if she could copy it. She never asked if she could make it her own. Angry! I went to our Editor and the Teacher who headed the yearbook to complain. What I remember about that conversation is the teacher telling me I should go and talk to the girl. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe she didn’t mean to have her name as the author. Maybe she didn’t even know her name had been added.
So, maybe, I was getting ahead of myself? Maybe my anger was unwarranted? Well, then, tell that to my ego. It had already taken flight! Flapping it’s wings loudly and circling for the kill!
I did as I was asked to do. In truth, the girl didn’t realize I was reading copy for the yearbook and she didn’t think it was a big deal but she was fine with me removing her name.
Now, I could go on for pages about how I felt at the time. The thing is, the lesson I remember from that experience is one that I still find I am working on today.
My words, while important to me, matter more if they are important to you. I am not saying, by any stretch of the imagination, that you should steal them. Share them, yes. Leave my name attached to them, yes. But most importantly, let me be honored that my words create opportunity for you to stretch yourself, stretch your imagination, bring new ideas into the foray.
Let me not be so attached that the beautiful words that are gifted to me through Spirit become weapons for the ego to brandish.
I’m still working on it.
From my heart to yours, Diane
photo courtesy of Pixabay