Jottings From Jazianzz : Embracing Who We Are

Greetings to you from both Jazianzza Azzaza Buzzabee and myself! 

We hope this finds you well and thriving. This month Jazi wants me to tell you about some of the guidance MamaQueenzieBee, the Queen of her hive, has given her that makes her a happier bee. MamaQB, as Jazi calls her, is a loving and wise bee who plays a big role in the upcoming book Bee-Coming Strong. She knows that Jazi struggles with being bullied and has self-esteem challenges. Her sage advice makes a big difference in Jazi’s life, and Jazi loves to share what she learned with others. This month she wants to talk about self-esteem – a lesson she reminded me about recently when I needed to hear it.

I suspect many of us had some issues with self-esteem growing up. It’s not uncommon for children and adolescents to wish they looked different. When I was young, I wanted to have blond hair and blue eyes. That’s what the most popular girls in my schools had, and I yearned to be like them. That was not even a remote possibility, however, because my genetics gave me brown eyes and curly brown hair. Not to be deterred, I set about straightening my hair. First, I tried applying chemicals to it and burned my scalp. Ouch. Undaunted, I switched to ironing my hair….and burned my face. Double ouch. My high school graduation photo depicts the solution I came up with; to hide the curls I cut my hair so short that I ended up looking like a boy! I just didn’t like who I was. Because of MamaQueenzieBee’s advice, Jazi learned to not be so concerned about how she looks. Somewhere along the line, I learned that lesson, too. Still have brown eyes and curly hair, and now it’s ok with me.

However, I have had a different issue arise, and Jazi has been helping me realize MamaQB’s wisdom applies here, too. During the last 20 years I have suffered five concussions which have affected my brain in different ways. Last summer a change in medication caused adrenal collapse which required a few months of deep rest. My wonderful brain decided it needed to check out during these months for its own healing. I was worried about getting Jazi’s story out, but she encouraged me to relax and let the healing happen. Turns out she has picked up a lot of wisdom in her young life.

The healing process is going well. However, I am still aware of the effects the concussions and illness have had on my brain. I’ve found myself comparing my brain to others, scrutinizing the way it works versus, for instance, those who can easily memorize material and figure out difficult things. The effects on my memory are acute. One of my friends regales me with stories about something we did ten years ago, and I have no memory of it.

Comparing my brain to others is obviously a useless pastime, but I catch myself doing it. The reality is, my brain DOES work – it just doesn’t have the same memory or speed, nor does it function with the same agility it had in the past. Dwelling on what it cannot do rather that what it can do is demoralizing.

This brings me back to Jazianzza and what she has been buzzing in my ear to tell you. In Bee-Coming Strong she feels bad because one of her sisters makes fun of the way she looks. She has a bent antenna from flying into the side of her hive when she was young before MamaQB outfits her with a pair of much-needed glasses. However, her glasses as well as her smushed antenna make her look different from her sisters. Her desire to look like the others leads to poor self-esteem, in large part because she feels she doesn’t fit in.

MamaQueenzieBee calls her over one day and gives her an invaluable lesson about the importance of self-acceptance, and the reality that we are all unique. It doesn’t matter if we have a bent antenna, or our brain doesn’t function the way someone else’s does. We still have a profoundly important place in the world, and we each have something beneficial to offer humanity out of our own distinct experience and outlook.

MamaQB said, “Just think about it, Jazi. Tree could never be Lydah Butter Fly, a rainbow could never be a flower, a leaf could never be a skunk, and you could never be Sisizza. Your job is to just be you. There is only one you in the whole world. That is why you are special, just you, as you. That’s why you shouldn’t try to be like any of your sisters, even if they tease you for being different. You are you, Jazianzza Azzaza Buzzabee! You weren’t born an acorn or a blade of grass. You weren’t born a worm or a two-legged. You were born to be the bee-est Jazianzza Azzaza Buzzabee that you can possibly be!
Jazi reminded me that I should quit comparing my brain to others, and just focus on what it can do. When I respect and appreciate all the good things it does for me, I feel better and my brain works better, too. It is an important thing to remember. Turns out MamaQB is one wise bee – and so is Jazi! She was very proud that what she learned could help me, and it did! Embracing who we are is a powerful practice, whether we are children, adults, or bees!

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

– Dr. Seuss
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