Sunday, January 18, 2009

identities gained, identity lost

Married life kinda gave me a left hook.

Six months ago, I decided to take the plunge, not realizing it would submerge me into so many identities that I would feel as if I didn't have any. From one day to the next I went from Provo's patron saint of single life (they were building a statue, I swear) to a father of three and a husband of well, you know, her.

That girl that everyone talks about. That girl that laughs and you hope it is because of something you said. That girl that has her choice of guys. The one that knows how to play with you, knows how to talk with you, and knows how to live. That girl. Yeah. Go ahead and think it. I'm lucky.

So about that plunge and left hook. It isn't that I expected things to be perfect. I expected that things would change and change drastically. I just didn't expect me to seem less me.

So here's the scenario. I'm sitting with Dixie's family who(m) I finally (FINALLY!) feel comfortable with. I can laugh with them, I can listen--I've even performed a song or two. We're family. So I find it the strangest feeling when, that night, I don't have anything to say. I just sit there like a big doofus watching other people be funny and share and laugh. When I open my mouth, I hesitate. I'm like the guy that arrives late at a dinner party and doesn't know if the joke he opens his mouth to share was already told. I'm the guy who tries to break in with an "um," "well," "uh," but is just a step late, a step behind the flow of traffic. I'm the guy that thinks of something to say about one topic when the conversation is already two topics further down the line. It is then I realize that I don't recognize myself. I've never been that guy.

You see, as a single guy, I had all these conversations--ALL these stories. I was, and I hate how superficial this is going to make me sound, I was smooth.

(James Bond here pretty much represents my relative smoothness level at the time)

Oh yes, I could tell a story. Oh yes, I could be funny. Oh yes, I knew just how to relate to that group. I had read all the books they read and knew all the theories that they were learning in school. For Pete's sake, I was teaching at BYU and gave assignments in the stuff they wanted to talk about. So, as a result, I could command a crowd and lead a discussion. And all of this because I was so intimately acquainted with Provo single life. Wanna know something sad about me? While most Provo residents experience single college life for 2-4 years, I experienced it for twelve (I hang my head in shame).

But at least, at LEAST, I knew what the heck I was doing.

And now I'm here.

From one day to the next, I don't know what the heck I'm doing--although I will give myself some credit--I'm doing it all with gusto. I'm a repairman, a painter, a fort-maker, a grilled cheese flipper, a cockroach killer, a ward clerk (thanks a lot, Tony), a bedtime storyteller, and , of all things, a copier salesman. I mean, really, a copier salesman? Who wants to talk to me about copiers over dinner? "The Xerox 5225 comes with a 100-sheet duplexing automatic document feeder." Ugh. I bore myself.

And I'm constantly doing instead of thinking now. I'm picking up toys, running errands, taking Livy to school, packing lunches, making 50 phone calls a day to businessmen who don't want to speak with me. I haven't had a coherent thought in 6 months.

And why endure the shame of my uncoolness--my unsmoothness? Why in the world would I let myself get so punch drunk with left hooks?

Have I mentioned her?


  1. Very creative and humorous!

    Wonder what the next installment will be...

  2. Very smooth Shane! Maybe blogdom is where you will regain your "lost coolness." Just one thing......"she's there too." *wink*
    You're one of the best things to happen to this family. Love you lots...really.

  3. Don't worry, I've been in the family for awhile now and it's still impossible to tell a story or get a clever word in edge-wise with so many outgoing, outspoken and crazy personalities under one roof/party or dinner table. :) At least they're enjoyable to listen to when you want to just sit back and have a laugh. I'm happy you're here though. It's definitely hard to come to the place where your spouse grew up and then try to fit in and make your own friends and place in the crowd. "Where I came from everyone knew me...I was a SOMEBODY!!!" I can empathize with that for sure. Just know that you're doing great and that we still think you're interesting and smooth!!! :)

  4. Shane, so GLAD you FINALLY feel comfortable with the family! One thing you should know is that the scrutiny may be merciles BEFORE you're part of the family, but once the knot is tied, you're FAMILY, accepted with open arms and all the love any family can give! We're so GLAD you're a part of us. Just be happy that Dixie didn't insist that you take the Shumway name. Talk about NO identity there. I have a student whose mother has had two husbands who have BOTH taken her name. And she's such a quiet lady! Anyway -- Welcome and we hope you find your identity again soon. :)

  5. Honestly Shane and anyone else who knows I'm frustrated with Google and it's accounts, etc. The post above was by Dian... aka Mom Dian. I tried to do it as an open ID, but that didn't like that so I tried Google. Lo and behold, "Shane" came up posting my post. Anyway, I'll have to send this the same way because that's the only way I can get it accepted, but everyone please know it's really DIAN and not Shane that is posting.... Signed frustrated and tech. challenged. :(

  6. I hear you. The best part about finding the right person is you get to grow and change in ways you didn't think possible. (Some things I didn't even think were desirable. And now I wonder how I spent so many years without them!)

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  8. Brilliantly worded introspection!

    You are as funny and stealthy as I imagined.

    At work there are days I am on poop detail, Or suctioning someone's throat because they just had a radical neck surgery and now breathe from a tracheostomy. I think, Wow, I am cool.

    When I catch a decline in patient status, alert physicians to a pending crisis, or I respond quickly and deftly in a medical emergency, I am reminded, oh yeah, I am THAT cool!

    When I calm a troubled heart, wipe a tear, or pray with a dying patient. I'm reminded WHY I do what I do.

    Anyone who can sell a copier after crapping their pants, tops the stellar charts! Get hired for a job while looking like a pirate. Disassemble a motorcycle period, You Define Awesome.

    It is weird to find ourselves in circumstances where we are shy and awkward, when we are NEVER shy and awkward.

    Remember, even James Bond seems like he may not have the upper hand on occasion, but he is always victorious.

    When your confidence starts to waiver just remind yourself:

    Bond, Shane Bond!