And I want it back.
I used to be a woo. According to
Gallup’s StrengthFinders evaluation, that’s what I was.
Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don’t. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection.
I was tagged a woo during my senior year of college. The description seemed to fit, so I did my best to wear that label proudly.The problem was, I was often ashamed of my woo-ness. Being a woo meant I was often the obvious one trying to entertain or persuade the masses, and as a result was too loud, talked too much and laughed too long. I didn’t want to be a woo. I wanted to be a good listener. I wanted to be the wise and steady-handed type others turned to in moments of chaos and struggle. At the very least, I wanted others to believe I was competent and responsible.
A wise man I have often referred to as the Vocational Guru urged me to cherish my woo. “Never let anyone force that out of you,” he would tell me.
So I took my woo and all the rest of my stuff and moved to
When I had to move back to the States rather unexpectedly, I had to leave a lot of my stuff behind. And apparently I left my woo.
This past weekend, I had to retake Gallup’s strengths evaluation and this time I came up as strategic.
The Strategic theme enables you to sort through the clutter and find the best route. It is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking, a special perspective on the world at large. This perspective allows you to see patterns where others simply see complexity. Mindful of these patterns, you play out alternative scenarios, always asking, “What if this happened? Okay, well what if this happened?” This recurring question helps you see around the next corner.
Sounds a little more like the responsible and competent I was going for. Even though it seems I’ve become more who I’ve always wanted to be, I can’t say that I’m entirely happy with that. A woo is fun, social and can sell ice to Eskimos. That part of me, I did like.
My friends have hinted for months that part of me was missing. Well, now
Gallup has proven it. It’s my woo. It’s gone. BUT WHERE DID IT GO????
Did adjusting to a new culture and then readjusting to an old one strip it away? Did learning a new language keep this blabber mouth shut? Is a tired and weary soul an inhospitable place for woo to reside? Could the biochemical lollapalooza in my body (and the meds we’re using to try to correct it) have sent that pivotal part of me into retreat? Was my woo polluted by my own foolish use of alcohol, chocolate, cheese and anything else I used as God knows what kind of crutch? Or maybe someone I loved and respected stole it from me while I let her routinely tell me that everything woo-ish inside of me was bad, even sinful.
Probably, it was a combination of all of the above. Some days, one reason will seem to weigh in more than the others. The next day it will be a different one that feels more at fault.
Recently I was berated by a woman who made great efforts to tell me I needed to grow up and move on, work a little harder at it and realize how easy I’ve had it the last several months. What this woman, and so many people have failed to understand is that I have moved on from what happened. I am now trying to deal with all the dust that hasn’t settled yet. And that’s pretty damn hard to do when you legitimately are not the same person you used to be.
Dealing with the shit that hits the fan is rough stuff some days. It is for everyone, no matter who you are. You deal with some heavy junk at least once in your life. I used to know how to deal with my junk. I was a woo and that was my foundational weapon for every scenario life had offer. It was my go-to.
And now my go-to is gone.
It makes me incredibly thankful for my friends who’ve been dealing patiently and lovingly with this woo-no-more. While others have expected me to come around, the old woo me to stroll around the corner any day now, my friends (and surprisingly even my parents) have understood that the me that shows up is all the me they’re going to get. They miss some of my woo and even worry when it seems to be completely gone. But they’ve been there to love me and help me figure out who me is. (God bless
Gallup for getting at least a little of it down on paper!)
Anyway…sappiness aside I think I want to have a funeral for my woo. I would love for anyone with memories of yours truly being her wooed out self to share. It would be a good reminder for me that my woo didn’t completely suck and that future attempts at woo-ness will not all be in vain.
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