I am a Red Panda

Dear Darlings,

I’m a huge Ted Lasso fan (if you haven’t watched the show, you should. It’s fantabulous depiction of real life topics. Love, marriage, divorce, suicide, panic attacks, doing the right thing, doing the wrong thing and owning it…). I’m such a fan that I joined several Ted Lasso pages on Facebook, bought a tote that says, “Be a Goldfish. Happiest Animal on the planet,” a mug that says, “Boss Ass Bitch,” and another that has all the names listed, with a particular one scratched out, and so many “Believe” stickers. With all that being said, when someone posted about Rebecca, the owner of the fictional Richmond Football Club, I was hit in the face with a dose of reality. I am a Red Panda

And it made me realize how much like Rebecca’s character I am.

I’m not nearly as prickly nor am I as strong as she is, but when I feel threatened this is how I react. I get big and loud. I extend my claws. I yell. I react.

Recently, we had a family interaction that brought out the Red Panda in me.

You see, I’ve worked my entire adult life to build my brand. Inclusivity. There is always room for one more at our table. If you don’t have a place to go for holidays, our door stands open, our arms are waiting with hugs, and love abounds. It’s my thing. And I always thought it was something the kids loved about me and the house that raised them.

For my birthday one year Claire gave me a card with a wooden plaque on the front that says,

This is one of my most treasured possessions. it is proudly displayed in my office.

For Christmas of 2020 Zach gave me a book titled “You and Me, Mom.” It’s a back and forth of getting to know one another better. He started filling it out before he gave it to me. And this is one of the pages he filled out.

“And we’d always make sure to include everyone!”

Inclusion has always been my thing, because I was excluded, on the outside one too many times to ever intentionally exclude people. I do set boundaries to protect myself and our family, but my default mode is inclusion.

Which brings me to the family interaction that brought out Red Panda. We were told, in no uncertain terms, that certain people were going to be excluded from an upcoming event. Red Panda came roaring out. I felt threatened. It felt, to me, like everything I built, everything I gave to everyone was being thrown to the side. That my brand was outdated, antiquated, not wanted. “This isn’t how we do things in this family,” I said. “We include people,” I said.

Red Panda made her mark in the absolute worst possible way. Where I was trying to protect myself and my brand, I left others feeling threatened. I’m sure my red panda moments will still occur when it comes to protecting myself and my brand, but now I know and can work to correct it when needed.



2 thoughts on “I am a Red Panda

  1. Jenn, I am not above admitting there are also some Red Panda genes in my DNA. Interestingly enough, their expression comes through when a force outside myself seeks to exclude my input, consider my feelings, proven experience, and/or knowledge of facts/truths. When that button gets pushed is a time I would rather count to 10, exercise deep breathing, and seek to ask questions, rather than go into a default-like reactionary mode. The regrets that follow can be difficult to shake. More importantly, I so appreciate your sharing your brand and experiences, another teaching moment, which helps remind me to do whatever I can to embrace others’ feelings, experience, and truths. I do believe the more I understand of such encounters, the better person I will become. Making a reasonable exception for the sake of others, a time or two, can not only help keep the peace, but also serve to model the valuable roles served by one’s willingness to be flexible and even neutral during a potentially combustible situation. Famous last words, as our work on ourselves is never done.  Your supporter and friend,Kathryn💖 Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS


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