It was years and years ago when I first had the opportunity to do some “lite” lobbying in Sacramento, California, at the State Capitol. I still remember the amazing surge of being there — the unexpected excitement of the history of the building. I was humbled by the great people who had formed that state, contributed to the structure of all our lives.
It was thrilling, really.
It was only about five years later that I found myself in another capitol, lobbying again, this time in the State of Missouri, educating legislators that licensed Acupuncturists are articulate and trained professionals — so that they might spend time working on our acupuncture licensing bill. To do this, once per month — for a few years, during legislative session, it was scheduled to ‘Acupuncture Day’ at the State Capitol in Jefferson City. Signs were posted in all the elevators. My colleagues and I would drive from all parts of the state with treatment tables in tow. Onlookers would find us in business suits, dragging such tables up the Capitol steps, into the elevator and up to the third floor rotunda.
It was there that we would unpack and unfold the tables, set them up under the beautiful dome, cover them with sheets and blankets and wait for a session break — at which time senators and house representatives would line up for treatment of their left shoulder, their low back, their foot, their stress, whatever they needed…under that dome.
The year I was very pregnant doing this (yes, shlepping the big table up the capitol steps), I was dressed in a grey flannel maternity suit — as our lobbyist said –“the very picture of family values” and began to set up my treatment area.
Near the state seal in the center of the room I settled my table. I took out my linens and shook them — like a sail in the wind — politicians all around –when a modest, white pair of my lacy underwear flew, ever so delicately, high up into the air and landed on the marble floor, surrounded by the iconic Thomas Hart Benton frescos (and about a gazillion surprised lawmakers).
Usually I voted blue but that very moment I was bright red..
Teetering on my heels, I snuck over to the offending resting-place, trying to surreptitiously collect my contraband from under the eyes of the Speaker of the House.
Probably not the most embarrassing moment of my life — but certainly memorable.
It was, in fact, this very Speaker whose shoulder I treated, and not long after that requested a private audience with me, asked me where our bill was and upon hearing it, pushed it along to vote through the senate and verily it was signed by the governor soon after.
(Mr. Former Speaker, thank you again!)
But yet, there still was the matter of the underwear.
The poor white lacy offender.
It was the thing that was a part of me that I wanted almost no one to see.
Seen — in the third floor rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol Building.
It is my worst fear — the fear of being found out — being the imposter —
A fear that we all experience, one time or another..
Oh my gosh! Can you imagine? Not only to be amongst the politically powerful — intimidating — but also — to have your underwear fly across the room in front of them.
(Please note: it was clean — just a laundry mix-up…)
The things that people can find out about us — that we secretly eat chocolate — that we crave popcorn or fantasy football….
That we have a bunny rabbit.
That we cannot boil water — and won’t even try.
All these things make us part of who we are.
All our eccentricities are like lacy underwear that not-so-secretly flies through the capitol rotunda.
Embarrassing and human, they are funny.
They make a good story and they remind us that we are not perfect — and to strive for thus is just too much pressure. More pressure than we need to have on ourselves — considering the fact that we are just like everyone else.
Years ago, when I gave up trying to do too much, to please everybody — I said:
“I am sorry to say that I am no longer perfect — but I wish that y’all had known me then.”
But you know, perfect was never the thing of value.
The real deal is the imperfect. The beauty and the humor in the ridiculous.
I am ridiculous.
For I certainly was, am and will be ridiculous for a million more days, starting now. And in the same way that those lacy briefs flew up, up, in a perfect graceful arc before they landed oh, so softly —
I hope that all my gaffs will be funny and poetic.
(and maybe a bit lacy)