Should I Wear Shorts at this Resort?

I’ve worked with this particular company for about five years and this weekend was invited to a retreat with them at a lovely Miami resort, The Doral. After the work this morning, the company sponsored golf, tennis and swimming and I was flumoxxed. I really wanted to join the tennis tournament. But tennis would require shorts and for as many relationships as I’ve built, I wasn’t ready to show the burned leg. Swimming? Not so much. Too many explanations required. And that is the paradox of it all for me. It takes a lot of energy to explain the burns. If I don’t explain them, people stare and politely don’t ask. Which in many ways is worse. Trust me, I’ve dealt with it my whole life. I wonder a lot whether it makes the other people more uncomfortable or me more uncomfortable. I always feel that I am responsible to lead the discussion and put people at ease, which is in so many ways is exhausting for me. In any event, I always see it as a choice to make — do I share or don’t I? Does it put me too much in the spotlight instead of taking the time to focus on everyone else, which is largely easier? So, I opted for the facial. Private room, spa setting. No one is the wiser. It makes me feel disingenuous in a way — shouldn’t I just lay everything on the table and wear a swimsuit or pair of shorts? Just be confident and throw others’ opinions to the wind! But that would bring unwanted attention and possibly sympathy to me, sympathy that simply makes me uncomfortable. I have worked my entire life to NOT be defined by my burns. In the final analysis, I wasn’t ready to do it today. I wonder if other people here at Doral hide something of interest? I feel paranoid. I shouldn’t have to overthink like this. What lays below the surface. Has anyone ever felt the same?

Serendipity or Just Life

Heading to Miami for work this evening, I couldn’t help but think of my father, who absolutely loved Florida. He died in 1993 and I’ve been thinking about him a lot as I work on writing the story of my burns and how they were healed (physically and metaphorically). His favorite book was How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and right next to that was his dog-eared copy of Tom PetersIn Search of Excellence. By some small miracle, I was at O’Hare an hour before my flight and I ducked in to Barbara’s Bookstore in United’s Terminal B. Browsing along the small aisles, I hit the bookshelf with my bag and down fell How to Win Friends and Influence People, the special Anniversary edition celebrating the book’s over 70 years in print. Of course I bought it. Reading it on the plane explained a lot about my dad, who followed the Carnegie tenets to a “t”. I mean this was his bible. Now, I’d say I ran into some cosmic serendipity tonight. My friend and audio engineer Todd Hoyer would say, “Bah humbug, that’s just life, don’t make anything out of this.” So, I wonder dear readers — how do you distinguish when the universe is calling from when it’s just stuff that happens? Please tell me your experiences.