I walk into a room and wonder who's going to talk to me. Inevitably, I spiral into a self-conscious moment.
I'm waiting for my daughters to finish a gymnastics class, and I look around the waiting room. The lively chatter of mothers all around me makes me feel terribly alone. I don't belong in this group; I'm an outsider to this world of sequin leotards, glitter hairspray, and the flurry of little girls trying to finish their homework before the coach calls them in.
Nobody is paying attention to me!
Sulking in pity, I overhear a little girl ask her mother the difference between a homophone and a homonym.
My specialty! I can't resist such questions. I have to assist. For the next 5 minutes, I find myself helping a 4th grader think of words that sound the same but are spelled differently (homophone) and words that sound the same and are spelled the same but mean different things (homonym).
You can't help somebody else and also think about how neglected you feel. It's a strange phenomenon. It doesn't matter that I'm supremely out of place here. I'm serving somebody, and then, everything feels right. And in a powerful turn of events, the mother who once seemed so cliquish and perfect starts telling me about her life. Over homophones, I'm learning about a lifetime of heartbreak.
Each of those mothers might have their own story of loss. The room isn't what it seems; it's nothing like it sounds. Beneath the clique and chatter, there's somebody who needs attention.
Perhaps when I feel most alone, most forgotten, I need to look up, find a way to help and bless (even if it's through homophones), and stop focusing on myself. I want to enter a room, take my eyes off of myself, and find the one who needs help. Surely, that's one way to live with flair.