“No one told Julia that middle-aged women weren’t allowed to hog the spotlight…” writes Karen Karbo. Julia wasted no time whining that there were already too many cooks in the kitchen(s). She made space for herself.
I don’t remember worrying about hogging the spotlight or being the center of attention when I was younger. As a toddler, I didn’t seem to mind being center stage on my grandfather’s lap.
Later, when I was a single mother, I signed my three-year-old twin sons up for tap dancing and I got roped into joining an adult jazz class.
I didn’t dream we’d be asked to squeeze into red sequin-spangled spandex dresses. You can see that I wasn’t built for tiny tube dresses. My arms weren’t made for long sleek gloves. Still, I was more like Julia then. I focused on the fact that I had all the right (if not right-sized) equipment, the correct costume, and I knew the dance steps. I lit a smile
and sashayed onstage to I Will Survive.
In the years that came next, when I prepared hundreds of sack lunches and mated millions of pairs of socks, I forgot what it was to be the center of attention unless it was focused on other people’s needs, wants, and desires.
Julia’s principle reminds me that it’s not only sometimes necessary, or acceptable, to hog the spotlight, getting attention can be fun. Take a new haircut, for example, which I happened to get today (I show a little lobe now!) or getting a massage. My brain races like it’s in NASCAR trial. Or when my brain slows down, words pop up one by one like the old “bouncing ball” reading filmstrips you may be too young to remember. Filmstrips? (They were a real treat when I was in fourth grade.)
I feel uncomfortable in the spotlight even when I’m supposed to be the center of attention. That’s why Rule #9 is such a great chapter for me to tackle: I need to remember that the pearl doesn’t worry if it’s outshining the oyster. Like Julia, it just takes the space it needs to become what it is meant to be.