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The Interview

September 27, 2016 - Betsy Bethel
My daughter interviewed me during Class Night at her school the other day. She stuck her fancy new iPad mini provided by the school up to my face and asked me such questions as: "What was your happiest day?" and "What are your dreams for me?" and "What would you like to tell me that you've never told me before?"

Although I make my living putting other people on the spot and expecting them to come up with pithy and poignant comments that will provide me the kind of article that writes itself, I dislike being interviewed. Hate it, really. One of two things happens when someone takes note of what I say and turns it into print or video for all the world to see: 1. I sound like a robot who has applied an algorithm to all the sound bytes of the world in order to spit out a comment that's more hackneyed than a politician's stump speech. Or 2. I come off as someone who has a slippery, tenuous grasp of the English language -- all disagreeing nouns and verbs, dangling participles and simplistic syntax. Either way, I don't make any sense.

So it was with some trepidation that I entered into this interview session with my daughter. I tried to answer quickly and honestly, but I stumbled a lot, took entirely too long answering some questions, and dodged one or two altogether. Emma was all business. I have no idea what she is going to do with the interview. I shudder to think.

So that is one truth about me: I struggle to speak coherently off the cuff. Successful trial lawyers, preachers and salesman astound me. Improvisational actors and rappers blow my mind. Their word gymnastics impress and delight me, but most times my delight curdles as I consider how ungifted I am in that area. (Hello, low self-esteem!)

No, let me write down what I want to say, then delete it and rewrite it, then read it aloud and tweak it some more. When I sit at a keyboard, I am in control of what is recorded for posterity. When I speak, the words are out there before I have a chance to vet them, and, like so many pebbles being flung into open water, they are irretrievable. Not only that, but most of the time, I have no accurate recollection of what I've actually said.

Written words are concrete. I always say: "It didn't happen unless I write it down." That's not just because I have a poor memory but because I can't fully experience something unless I process it through writing.

So that's another truth: I am not an auditory learner!

I am starting to process these truths in an effort to rediscover myself, or perhaps discover my true self. I know what I think about myself and what I want to be. I know, to some extent, what others perceive about me. What I am still trying to figure out, however, is who God created me to be.

Years ago, I read "The Purpose-Driven Life" by Rick Warren and took the Myers-Briggs personality test. Last year, I read "Five Love Languages" and completed the strangely ambiguous questionnaire. And of course, I have discovered through BuzzFeed quizzes the very accurate and telling assessments of what country I should live in and what Harry Potter character I am. I've written about myself ad nauseum over the years, and I've sat in many therapists' offices trying to work out as many clues as I can to unlock this mystery of me.

But sometimes I wonder: What's so important about me that I should spend so much time on myself? Is this the path to self-actualization or just narcissism in disguise?

Another truth about me: I am a bit of a narcissist.

So I must continually pray for God to rein me in should I get too self-involved and keep me on the right path to do His will on this planet in the time He gives me.

How's that for a pithy, poignant sound byte?


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