If I were asked to describe my character in five words, my list would be: shy; stubborn; trust-worthy; hard-working; and lazy.

“Shy” would get a snort of disbelief from the questioner. Nobody thinks I’m shy anymore. I talk all the time. I talk too much. I have a tendency to interrupt, or to talk over people. I know. But, I was painfully shy as a child, and I still feel shy. I spend a good deal of my alone time cringing and shaking my head over something I said, or the way some interaction went, and mumbling to myself, “stupid…stupid…stupid!”

“Stubborn” might not seem accurate to those that know me a little, but everyone that knows me well would nod solemnly in agreement. Thinking, probably, to themselves that “stubborn” might not be a strong enough word. Maybe “bull-headed” would be better.

“Trustworthy” would probably not be challenged.

“Hard-working” would be easily agreed upon by those who have seen me at any of my jobs.

“Lazy” is a puzzlement. How can Cindy be lazy?? She works all the time! And how can she describe herself as both hard-working and lazy?? Isn’t that a contradiction? Well, apparently not, because I am definitely both. Again, if you look to my family and friends and former partners, you would see lots of affirmative nods. And I’d have to agree.

I do work hard. In addition to jobs I hold to support myself, of which I often have more than one, I do volunteer work. I plant a big garden; I mow my large yard. I walk the dogs every day. I write and study and draw every morning. I publish a blog regularly. I exercise every day. Sometimes, I think I fill my days with work to challenge my firmly held belief that I am lazy. But there is truth in the adage that says, “You can run, but you can’t hide.”

When I was little, there was lots of evidence of my lack of ambition. I was a master at avoiding chores. Once, my mother noticed that, rather than bend over to retrieve something from the floor, I’d developed the ability to pick things up with my toes. “Oh, Cindy,” she grinned, shaking her head, “that has got to be the height of laziness!”

Fifty years later, I went on a weekend trip with my sister, Brenda. I mentioned that I needed socks because most of mine had holes in them. “Really,” she said, “I don’t think I’ve ever gotten holes in my socks.” “Hmm,” I thought, “must be that I work much harder, to wear out my socks.” Later, getting ready for bed, I watched Brenda lift one leg at a time, cradle each foot in her hands, and gently peel off her socks. “Wow,” I told her, “that’s pretty impressive!” “Why,” she asked, “how do you take off your socks?”

I demonstrated my method: step on the toe of the left sock with the heel of the right foot; pull the left leg firmly back, dragging the foot out of the sock; repeat on the other side. Brenda grinned, and nodded, and the look she gave me said 1) “No wonder you wear out your socks so quickly,” and 2) “That has got to be the height of laziness!” Yup, there’s no escaping it, the truth comes out.

6 responses »

  1. I grew up thinking I was lazy, maybe I was told that, and so that was often my response, but then someone said to me, ‘look at all you do’ and I was surprised to find that perhaps I was not as lazy as I thought.

    • Yes, that’s kind of true for me, too. I was told I was lazy as a child…and it was an accurate assessment. I grew up thinking of myself as lazy, and – even though I work hard – I feel like there’s still a lot of truth there. I gave a couple of silly examples, but I do often take the lazy way out, enjoy days when I do nothing, even if there’s lots to be done and shirk responsibilities when it affects no one but me. But, I’m okay with the label, too.

  2. I think the cause for holes in your socks (at least mine) are more a matter of toenails than the way you take them off. I guess where the holes are, would be the determining factor.

    • The holes in my socks are on the heels, so I don’t think I can blame my toenails, but good thought! There is also the possibility that I buy cheaper socks. I just thought it worked to pull the story together. Thanks for reading, Bob, ad for your comments!

  3. We get holes in our socks all the time, too. Mostly because of our rough basement floors tearing holes in the fabric. It’s so interesting about how we get labeled in childhood sometimes sticks. I’ve never been called lazy, so never think of myself in this way. But I do spend long hours doing nothing productive. It’s been one of my heartfelt goals–to feel okay with myself when doing isn’t involved. So much to think about.

    • Yes, it’s kind of tongue-in-cheek when I refer to myself as lazy…or shy, for that matter…as I know they are hold-overs from identities I took on sixty or more years ago. But, they still both feel comfortably a part of my personal identity, so I accept it. I do like being non-productive, too!

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