The famous 'Dear Abby' column, founded in 1956 by Pauline Phillips better known as Abigail Van Buren, is part of our culture. Every community large or small has a need for a sounding board, where readers can pose questions anonymously. Perhaps that is why advice columnists are widely read.
Enter the Martha's Vineyard iteration of 'Dear Abby,' appropriately named 'Dear Martha.' Every Friday morning ' Dear Martha' will do her very best to answer your questions and give you thoughtful advice.
Here is this week's question:
"I was headed off-island, with a boat and bus reservation. Every mile I got closer to home I realized I was transforming back in to the person I was 'before MV', I was reverting back to my childhood role. I was getting more nervous, shy and generally not the current me. I'm one of three and I was starting (even on the bus) to exhibit signs of that past version. Help - how do I introduce my past to my present and will those who've known me forever as one thing accept and love the new me?"
- Hopelessly trying to connect what was and what is
Life is tough. It wasn't meant to be predictable, easy or laid out in a fine-tuned grid of expectation, obligation, and need. What you're going through is a time-honored tradition of growing up, some call it a coming-of-age saga. No one is exempt. We all think our situation is original and therefore highly significant - did you ever stop to think that 60% (which is an arbitrary and a conservative guess) of people on the boat, bus and at Logan that day were going through the same transformation or struggle?
Let's do empathy here... my uncle, a highly highly successful and charasmatic business man, who travels the world every week of his adult life just happens to be the youngest of five kids. He was always a goof and center stage at any social and non-social event. Still, when he comes home, he almost feels obligated to be that goof... but, he's not a goof. He's an accomplished an inspired man affecting great change in the world.
I guess the moral of the story and the overall solution is no matter how accomplished, old, or aware we are of what is going on in each of our little spheres of being...at the end of the day, you create your own reality. It's soley in your hands. If you want to change the way peope think - be yourself with no excuses. Don't dress the part you once had as a kid, dress the part you are. It might take years of holiday homecomings as practice but one of those trips home you'll see that all those people who love you dearly will see you for the new and current you.
But remember, they love you to death. No matter what version you are, they love you like you can't even imagine love could ever exist. So give them a cushion, after all they probably have to blink and realize you aren't a sweet little eight year old, endearly tripping over your shoe laces and practicing spelling.
Family gatherings are tough, but what joy they bring! Most importantly, life is finite and those family gatherings will go down in your memory as some of the best times in your entire life. Step out of the equation and see that it's not about you - is about them.
Happy Holiday Hopeless ....let some hope in.