I’ll begin by informing you that I have a very literal mind when it comes to words. When people say, “you made your bed, now you have to lie in it,” I wonder why they think I will want to climb back into bed after having spent all that time making it! I am not that much of a clean freak . . .
So, when I think of the phrase “turning over a new leaf” I see an actual leaf flipping over in my mind. This image still means something to me, even if it isn’t quite the same meaning that other people have when they hear that familiar saying. Allow me to explain.
Looking at a leaf, the first thing most people (myself included) notice is the bright green (if we’re talking spring/summer) side. It’s colorful, it’s smooth, and it’s shiny. It’s kind of like a shield. It’s what people first notice because it is what the leaf wants people to see. How many of us work to show those around us only what we want them to see? How many of us hide a part of us that is truer to ourselves because we can’t bear the thought of others seeing that side of us, and rejecting it?
That deeper self, I believe, is the flip side of the leaf. When I picture the phrase, “turning over a new leaf,” I see that other side—the side of the leaf we usually see when they fall from the trees. This side is paler and full of the “veins” of the leaf. It’s the more vulnerable side of the leaf.
We have this side too. It’s the side of us that we only let out when we’re alone in our room, going nuts trying to finish a paper after hours of procrastination. It’s the side of us we only show to our siblings, when we dork out when we finally see them again during school breaks. It’s the side of us we introduce to our friends little by little, in small doses so they don’t freak out when they hear us speak in our Cookie Monster voice for the first time, or sing to a piece of chocolate. Yes, maybe this side of us is stranger. But isn’t it more fun to be strange and entertaining that to be cool and detached from everything around us?
So, this fall, I think we should all test these waters, as we still are getting to know each other and now have new sisters to befriend. Shouldn’t our sisters get to see us at our best, our craziest? Try turning over that new leaf and showing friends the more personal, maybe more goofy side of you. You may be surprised at how much people enjoy seeing you in this light. After all, we all want our friends to love us for who we are.