How Do You Like Your Eggs?

A while back, maybe a year and a half ago, I had a conversation with Beth McCord, an Enneagram Coach, because I wanted to know for sure that I was a 9. I was pretty sure, well, almost completely sure, but I was having a hard time taking that definitive step and saying yes, that’s my number, because I didn’t want to be wrong.

During our conversation, she used an example to describe an Enneagram 9 as Julia Roberts’ character in Runaway Bride who, every time the reporter asked an ex-fiance how she liked her eggs, it was exactly like his.

In the end, she tries all different kinds of eggs and settles on what type of eggs she likes best, not the type of eggs that she thinks she should like best because it’s what someone else likes.

I’ve spent a lot of time liking other people’s eggs.

In Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, which I read more quickly than any other book in a long time, she writes about the difference between fitting in and belonging (see also her newest book, Braving the Wilderness):

“Fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. In fact, fitting in is one of the greatest barriers to belonging. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”

When you’ve moved around as much as I have, belonging is a lot harder to come by and fitting in is–in the short run–is a lot easier.

  • Go to a church where women aren’t allowed in leadership? Sure, I can find other ways to use my gifts.
  • Live in a town where there are unwritten rules and expectations that aren’t to be questioned? Sure, I’ll just keep my thoughts to myself.
  • Go to a Bible study that feels like it’s at the pre-kindergarten level? Sure, I’ll just read on my own. It’s all about meeting new people.

There are some advantages to adapting to other people; you can find common ground and you really will have something in common, and you don’t always have to get your own way in everything. The disadvantage is that it makes it difficult to differentiate yourself from others and to understand your own identity, and you can never really get too close to anyone to truly share what’s on your heart and mind, because the fear is that if they knew, they’d think less of you, you’d stop belonging, you’d be disconnected, you’d lose people, and you’d be lonely.

However, it’s more lonely to not be able to be yourself.

It’s also exhausting, because you have to spend a lot of energy wondering who and how you have to be based on other people’s expectations and standards instead of truly learning who you are.

This is a lot harder for women, I think, because we are often the primary caretakers of our homes and children, and so much of our energy is expended on other people, and various churches will see that as what we are primarily supposed to do. They even have moms groups for us where we can get out of the house and have adult conversation–about our kids. Have you ever found a church with a dads group that talks about changing diapers and sleepless kids? No? Think about that.

I have spent a lot of time in places where my identity is wrapped up in that of being a coach’s wife and a mom; there have been relatively few times in the last thirteen years where I haven’t met someone because of those two parts of my identity.

And so, I learned to adapt and take them on as my full identity, shoving the rest of me aside as necessary. Not all of the time, of course, but a good majority of it. It’s only been in the last two years that I’ve really started to feel more free to be who I am, and it’s often a daily struggle.

In a recent episode of the Typology podcast, author Marilyn Vancil spoke about being a Type 9 and the vague sense of self that comes along with that. She said:

“I didn’t even really know how I feel about anything. I don’t even know what I want. I don’t even know what I care about…I didn’t even know what my agenda was, let alone have it matter.”

It’s easier for us Type 9s to understand and know what we don’t like/want instead of what we do like and want, and so I’m now trying to figure that out for myself.

One thing I know for sure, though, is how I like my eggs:

  • Cook 1 hash brown patty in a frying pan and break it apart.
  • Add 1 egg and scramble it together.
  • Mix in approximately 1-3 teaspoons of salsa, depending on how much you like it and how spicy it is. I prefer Mrs. Renfro’s Ghost Pepper Salsa.
  • Top with a handful of shredded cheddar/taco/Mexican style cheese and mix in until melted.
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Never Good Enough

Last week, I wrote that putting together everything I know and have learned about myself is like putting together a puzzle. Part of that puzzle is understanding how to take what I have read and understand where it fits in my life.

One of the books I love and have read twice is Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.

The problem is that making the connection between understanding and relating to the book and applying it in my life has been difficult.

In the introduction to the book she writes:

If we want to know why we’re all so afraid to let our true selves be seen and known, we have to understand the power of shame and fear. If we can’t stand up to the never good enough and who do you think you are? we can’t move forward.

I don’t really think of myself as a fearful person and I’m not even sure if shame is something I’d describe myself as feeling, so I’m not entirely sure how I might have experienced the shame and fear that she mentions, but for many reasons, the “never good enough” has been something I have struggled with throughout my life. I don’t really know why; I don’t know if there was one event that triggered it that I don’t remember, or if it is due to how I have interpreted different events that have happened to me over the years, such as the breakup of a best friendship early in high school, sitting the bench playing softball, a sport I loved, or hearing a message from the church that my gifts and interests were not all that welcome because of my gender. It could be any and all of those, plus others I haven’t thought of yet–or just don’t want to write publicly.

As an Enneagram 9, the message that my voice isn’t important is one I have somehow internalized over the years. While it hasn’t been constant, it’s been regular enough that when I have started to realize that my voice does matter, it’s always wrapped up in doubt. It is difficult to break free from that, but over the last year it has been happening; I am a person who needs to hear something a LOT before I let it sink in and truly believe it.

I posted this on Instagram one day, because this experience has been instrumental in helping me realize this:

 

I have been able to explore this part of myself that has been buried for so long, and other conversations and experiences I’ve had in the last couple of months have also helped me to confirm that I need to stop ignoring myself for the sake of other people.

Something I read recently that ended up being instrumental in helping me move forward is from Isaiah 43. It’s nothing new; I wasn’t unfamiliar with it; but I read it again on a day when I needed to hear it (despite the context of it being about Israel, not me–you all know I’m big on context).

“I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.”

I love you.

The message of God’s love is one I’ve known and believed for my whole life, but just like in any relationship, you don’t want to be told only once that you’re loved; it’s a message that should be repeated frequently.

When you know you are loved and valued for who you are, it gives you that courage to stand up to the “not enough” and “who do you think you are?” 

Let’s keep moving forward.