Last night Mr. Nielson and I, along with another couple
hosted a block party for our neighborhood.
We had the BBQ smokin' away, tunes playing, adults chatting
(and sweating in the relentless humidity),
and a thousand kids running around with sparklers and balloons.
It was a classic American summer evening.
It was nice to chat with my neighbors and put names to faces.
Most everyone already knew me as "Angus's mom."
Angus is apparently famous in our neighborhood.
Neighbor: "So you are the mom of the big black dog
who ran into my garage the other day."
Me: "Noooo, not Angus, you must be confusing him
with another giant black dog."
Neighbor: "Oh, I know your dog Angus because he barked
at me when I was getting my mail."
Me: "Couldn't be Angus, he never barks."
And now Angus is forever grounded.
There is nothing like a good gathering that brings people together
even when we don't exactly see eye-to-eye on everything.
For example, strict leash-laws (cut us some slack, we went from
NEVER leashes on the ranch to ALWAYS leashes).
We're doing our best.
After the party was over and cleaned up, Mr. Nielson and I
climbed into bed and discussed the evening and the party.
I confessed to Mr. Nielson that I felt super anxious the whole evening.
You may not know it, but I am not a social person. I dislike large
groups and small talk. I told him there were a few times
that had to slip away from the party to my house across the park
to sit on my couch back home for a few breathers.
I really struggled with depression and anxiety
after the accident- embarrassed of who I was
and what I looked like. I HATED going out and seeing people.
That got better once I started accepting and loving myself.
But now I find myself back in a similar place.
People here don't know me, or they have never heard of my story.
I certainly don't expect them to, but it's easier to feel
comfortable around people who know me....you know?
Moving to a new life is always hard, but this element
has made it truly difficult for me.
People don't know why I am burned (or have a missing finger)
and they don't ask, either. It's a weird feeling because
I don't really want to talk about why I look the way I do,
but it's the elephant-in-the-room thing.
I know with God's help, I can overcome it.
A scripture in the Book of Mormon came to my mind as I was
sharing my feelings with Christian:
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.
I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace
is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they
humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will
I make weak things become strong unto them.".
I think I will probably always have a slight obstruction to social events
but I love people and deeply enjoy one-one conversations.
But like all my trials, I know that relying on God- and only Him-
will help me not only find the confidence I need to love myself and
develop and grow in hard situations,
(like block parties and back-to-school nights),
but also to allow me to share my light with others and help them
know that they are loved and recognized by me too.