Okay. In my funny little life I have had the opportunity to meet some slightly famous people. And to be honest, it has not gone well. To say I get starstruck is an understatement. I get stupid. I once saw our governor at the Maui Mall and froze like a statue.
I have never been breezy. More bumbly with a hint of overeager awkward. SO I have learned to treat celebrities like cats. Meaning, I ignore them and if by chance they decide to come to me at one of our random social encounters, I will be cautiously friendly yet slightly aloof. This does not come natural to me. In the personality scheme of things, I’m a dog. Super friendly, curious and lovable. I’d like to think I’m a yellow lab but I might actually be more of a Cocker-Spaniel.
Tonight I got to celebrate Easter with some dear friends. And because one of them might be a little famous, they invited another slightly famous person and his new wife to eat with us. I’ll be honest. When they walked in the door my heart sank a little. I don’t like these encounters. They make my insecure junior high self come out so I took a deep breath and treated them like cats. It’s harder to ignore people in a crowd of thirteen but I managed it. Until we sat down to eat. And my dear friend sat me next to her, which meant I ended up by this couple. And I thought great. This will not be fun. Awkward Leslie, here she comes.
But you know what? It didn’t happen. Because this guy and his new wife were actually very charming. Down to earth. Honest. Funny. Real. They made me laugh and they got my jokes. I have a tendency to think in song lyrics and movie quotes. And this girl picked up what I was putting down.They were people of substance. And dinner was easy. Afterwards, I had a lovely chat with this new bride about Young Life, marriage and women in ministry. She is a dynamo with places to go. I love their story and of how they met. And how he knew right away that she was the one and how she begged to differ. And he kept praying and she fell in love. It gave me hope.
So as I walked down the driveway after exiting the party, I wrote a little note to my junior high self.
Dear Junior High Self,
In your life you will meet all kinds of people. Some will make you feel funny, smart and occasionally even beautiful. Find those people and spend time with them. Cultivate those relationships. Even if they aren’t the coolest or most popular people at the party. Because they are fun. They make you laugh. They get you and you make them laugh. Those are your people. They are your tribe.
Other times you will meet people who make you feel small, awkward and occasionally insignificant. Be kind to them but don’t stay long at their table. You will know when you meet them because you will walk away feeling less than and wondering why you don’t measure up. It’s ok. They just aren’t your peeps. Don’t give in to the desire to impress them so that one day they might see that you were actually really cool at your old school. It’s not worth the effort. And it rarely pays off.
Brush off the encounter and go hang out in the treehouse with the kids who speak your language and dance to the same rhythm as you. Because you are fun. And funny. And pretty freaking fantastic. Enjoy who you are. Don’t waste precious time and energy on not your people. Because you have a tribe. And they are worthy.
Love, Love, Love
Your Future Self
PS Tonight I learned what a longsnapper is.