I have heard of Type A personalities and Type B personalities, extroverts and introverts, the Myers Briggs personality test, the four temperaments theory, and tests that tell me I’m a turtle. Actually, I’m a turtle-monkey, at least according to one test that I took. I don’t have any real theories of what type personality I may be, or if one is better than another, but I once heard someone ask the question “What do you get when you squeeze an orange?” The correct answer: Whatever is in an orange is what will come out of it when pressure is applied.
I came to think about what I am like under pressure last week. As usual, I was pretty hard on myself, always thinking I could do more, I could have done better, that I have so much to do and I don’t want to let anyone down. I feel as though I have been AWOL from The Voice and from other fan sites and people who have become very special to me. My responsibilities at work, at church, in artwork commissions, with family responsibilities and deadlines all put pressure on me but in fact, no one puts as much pressure on me as I put on myself. This has not made me unhappy, just reflective. Life under pressure is normal and life under pressure reveals what is inside a person. Whatever is in me is what comes out when pressure is applied.
David is amazing under pressure. I cannot begin to fathom what it is like to have 729,938 people (at this writing) hang on your every tweet. He was thrown from a quiet existence in Murray, Utah into a world of decisions and expectations at the age of 16, and at the ripe old age of 17, he was signed into the business world of music. He carries a lot of weight on his shoulders, because, as he said in an interview with Ryan Seacrest, many of his decisions affect a lot of people. He refuses to take his family or his faith for granted regardless of the pressure for him to do so. One radio interview (not worthy of recognition) tested David’s integrity in every way, but he never allowed someone else’s behavior to determine his own. He handled it with dignity and grace and I was so proud of that young man! I was also “madder than a wet hen” (as we say in the south), but I decided to follow David’s example and let it go.
David has the generosity of heart to always see the worth of a person, to respect people for who they are without changing who he is. He never seems to harbor a grudge or carry the weight of anger. He cares about people. All of these amazing qualities come through that smile of his.
Occasionally, we get a glimpse into the fact that he feels the pressure like when he tweeted this face :/ when he was running late, or when we see the sleepy David trying to answer questions during an interview. “Who I Am” from TOSOD allowed us to see the side of David that feels the pressure. He may or may not have known about the upcoming release of Jive and management when he wrote this it, but the song was prophetic and gave us a glimpse of the traits I love about him. He has a quiet confidence in who he is, yet he knows he still has a lot to learn. He is grounded, yet capable of flying. Fresh from his tour in Asia, a huge undertaking, we witnessed again by tweets, videos and fan accounts, the way he handled the pressure of schedules, expectations, responsibilities and fan frenzy with astonishing composure.
I know it sounds as though I have put David on a pedestal. I haven’t really. I know he is not perfect nor do I expect him to be. I am grateful for him, for the truths that he has reminded me of, for the people he has brought into my life, and even for the pressure that being a fan has placed in my own life. Some people don’t understand…and I’m OK with that.
Thank you David Archuleta, for staying true to who you are, even under pressure. You have been an inspiration and an encouragement to all of us who stand behind you as fans. Thank you for reminding me to say hello or good morning to at least five people with the same enthusiasm as when singing in front of thousands while on tour in Asia. Thank you for being willing to take on the pressure of sharing yourself in a skeptical world. Wherever there is pressure, there is grace. We’re ready for the next step….when you are.