I Am Who I Am

I Am Who I AmDanaRongione.com.jpg

Over the Christmas holidays, my brother-in-law was telling how he bought my sister the entire series of the old show, Little House on the Prairie.  “Oh, I love that show,” I confided, “but I can’t watch it anymore because every episode makes me cry like a baby.” He laughed.  I laughed, but inwardly I cringed a little, thinking ‘So what?  Who cares if I cry?’  Then, I realized I do.

This year, for me, is about getting real, about accepting who I am and who God made me to be.  So, here’s the truth of the matter:  I am the biggest cry baby on the face of the earth, and believe it or not, most of my tears aren’t those shed in sadness over my own circumstances.  No, most of them are either shed for others or tears of joy.  This is why I sob like a baby when I watch the touching episodes (which they’re all touching to me) of Little House on the Prairie, When Calls the Heart, Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman and the like.  I have even, on occasion, sat and cried over a commercial or a cartoon.  Don’t laugh; I’m serious.

But, get this.  I do everything in my power not to cry, or at the very least, not to let others see how choked up I’m getting.  It’s embarrassing.  I don’t want people to think I’ve lost my mind (after all, enough people already think that about me).  I want to be “normal,” and normal people don’t cry over cartoon characters, right?  Can I get an “Amen”?

The more I’ve thought about it, though, the more I’ve wondered, ‘What is normal?’  We are all different.  We were created to be unique individuals, not multiple copies of a single template.  We have different personalities, characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, quirks and more.  There is no normal or abnormal.  There is only who and what God made us to be.

As for me, God gave me a tender heart, and when I say “tender,” I mean TENDER.  If you cry, I’ll cry with you.  If you hurt, I feel your pain.  When I can’t empathize, I sympathize. It’s just the way I am.  It doesn’t matter if the subject of my attention is a person, an animal or a character portrayed on television.  My heart breaks for the brokenhearted and rejoices with the joyful.  And the more I think about it, the more I realize that’s not a bad thing.  Yes, it makes me more emotional than most.  Yes, it means others may ridicule me for crying over a commercial.  But that’s okay because it also means I relate to people.  It shows that I truly care and that God’s love is blossoming forth in my heart.  So, if that makes me weird or abnormal, I’m okay with that.

What about you?  Do you have a characteristic or quality about yourself that you’re embarrassed about?  Do you hide your true self because you fear what others may say?  If so, I urge you to take a closer look at that quality and see if there isn’t a “good side” to it as well.  In fact, you may find–as I did–that the good of it certainly outweighs the bad.  God made you to be you, not someone else.  After all, there’s only one of you in this entire universe.  If you don’t be you, who will?

As for me, I’m taking my motto of  “Get Real” to its fullest extent.  I’m ready to be “me” instead of being the person I want everyone else to see.  I want to be the Dana that God intended for me to be.  So, if we’re at an event together, and you’re wondering which person is me, look for the redhead with splotchy cheeks, a red nose, and watery eyes.  That’s me. . . the real me!

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
— Psalm 139:14