I don’t mean to be the wrong Alice

20 Jun

It is nice to take walks by yourself on occasion. It gets you thinking. Here are some things I thought about tonight.

Well, as I always do first on such occasions, I went through the day and scolded myself for all the stupid things I did.  I felt myself blush thinking about this or that stupid thing I said to people I am trying to impress and I vowed to never make a fool of myself in front of them again in the hopes that  they will forget the stupid things I said.

Then I started thinking about a line from Alice in Wonderland (I was walking home from the dollar theater after seeing it for the first time) that I found particularly profound. Somewhere at the end of the beginning, Alice says “I don’t mean to be the wrong Alice!” I can relate to the poor girl.  I rarely feel like I am being the right Annette for the group of people I am with in any given situation.  I am too sarcastic, not sarcastic enough, too peppy, too serious, too quiet, too talkative, too aggressive or too passive. I have a knack for saying the wrong thing.

I seem to alternate between dominant and secondary personalities at different times in my life.

Growing up, I was described as “freakishly shy.”  I have heard those exact words. I fit under this description until I was almost 15, when we moved to New Mexico.  I was praised by friends and family for finally “coming out of my shell.”  And perhaps a small percentage of that sudden burst of outgoingness that resulted in my becoming a class president, section leader, a steady girlfriend, and an active athlete had to do with a sudden conviction to break out of whatever shell I had before.  However, I believe I have a more probable explanation.

You see, I have noticed a tendency of mine to sort of shrivel away when I am in a group with a more dominant personality than I feel equal to. If there is someone more dominant than me, I don’t even try.  And my whole life I lived with an older sister who is the most dominant personality I have ever encountered.  The reason I never talked during Sunday School, Young Women’s or bore my testimony on Fast Sunday was because I had a sister who did it much better than I could.  I never did extracurricular activities because how could I even hope to be successful compared to my sister, who everybody knew and admired.  I don’t mean this to be accusatory to my sister at all.  She and I get along fabulously and we always have.  She has never felt a malocious or mean feeling in her entire life toward anyone.  But, as previously stated she is most definitely a dominant person.  And I never felt a reason to do or say anything because what was the point really?

So, then I was 15 in a new state and my sister was away at college.  No one knew about her. I remember panicking my first day in Sunday School as it began to hit me that it was up to me to make an impression on everyone about what this new Harris Family was all about.  I spoke up, answered questions, and got involved. I started actually talking to boys and learning to flirt.  I wore make-up and took it upon myself to liven up every dance I went to.  I wasn’t that I was too shy to do these things before, there was just always someone else to do it first and better.

It has taken me a long time to get to the point of this story, but here it is. I become “outgoing Annette” when there is no one around to fill that role.  Otherwise, I become passive Annette.  This summer has been a little hard for me because my coworkers are all pretty dominant personalities, and I have been having a personal crisis trying to get myself to match them in such a short amount of time.  I often feel like my comments are misunderstood and my sarcasm taken as offensive.  And then I feel like a terrible person so I stay in my room, which I am sure doesn’t help any. ha ha. Dear coworkers…sorry…I’m working on it.

I also think I have lost a lot of my “muchness” (also an Alice in Wonderland reference) this summer. For example, back in the day I was a piano player. I mean, I was defined by my piano playing. I was introduced to people like this “This is Annette, she is my friend the piano player.”  But I have not played the piano in months. MONTHS. That is just wrong! And what is even worse is that I haven’t even thought about it that much. That is a quintessential  example of losing one’s muchness.

See! The piano is my natural habitiat! I bet I can't even play "Mary had a Little Lamb" anymore!

Then I got to this part of the sidewalk with INTENSE sprinklers and I tried my best to dodge them but failed miserably and giggled everytime I got hit by one.  I started wondering if I would have giggled if I had been with other people or if I would have just pretended to be annoyed. I guess it is something we will never know.

Then I started noticing benches along the sidewalk.  One of these days I am going to walk down that path with the express purpose of sitting on every one of those benches for at least 5 min so they are used for more than midnight DTRs or depressing break-ups.  I wonder how awkward the walk back to the Riv is after a bad DTR on one of those benches. Also, there is the bench in the middle of the grass, facing the street.  Just sitting there. No bus stop, no path. Just hanging out. I especially want to sit on that one.

Then i walked past the street I always turn on too early when I am driving to Helaman Halls and I thought how silly it is that I always make that mistake.  While walking, it is so obviously the wrong turn, but while driving things go faster–details are missed.

As I stood by the snow cone shack, waiting for the little walking man to appear in the other side of the street signaling my assured safe passage across, I realized how pretty traffic lights are.  Like…the actual lights are really pretty. And before I knew it, I had missed my legal chance to cross the street.  But I don’t regret it because seriously…how often do we get to stare at green lights? Like never! Because we always drive through them as fast as we can.

So, there you have it.  After tonight, I am convinced most great works of literature were began by leisurely and lonesome strolls.

Oh, and I liked the movie quite a lot. It certainly was imaginative, and I thought it was a very pretty movie. It made me feel like a little girl again, and I was really disappointed when the super market was closed upon my departure from good ole Provo 8 Cinemark because I wanted to buy a coloring book and crayons.

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5 Responses to “I don’t mean to be the wrong Alice”

  1. Megan June 20, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    ok, i seriously love this, and i love you. you’re amazing and i feel so lucky to know you. 🙂

  2. Megan June 20, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    We are soooo related.

  3. Elisabeth Hieber June 20, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    This is boss. You are only 19, yet you are so very wise. I think you are the perfect Annette!

  4. Danielle Feldman June 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    ANNETTE!! I had no idea you have a blog too!! And an excellent one at that! I can relate to this post, it actually was something that I really needed to read right now 🙂 Thanks for being awesome girl! I’m glad we are blog buddies!

  5. Ariannethelibrarian July 26, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    I love you. Especially for this post. I honestly didn’t think anyone else had the dominant vs passive problem but me.

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