Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


I am so glad (and relieved) to see you back. I figured it had to be something like extreme busy-ness or needing a rest. (And told myself, "No, nothing bad has happened to her or to those she loves." I am too good at worrying.)

And I hear you on the high school thing. (Though for me high school was actually a bit BETTER than junior high had been - I was sent to a prep school where at least 15% of the students were former-outcasts like me and we kind of banded together). I remember doing my own version of the "Be More Cool" list while in 7th grade -forcing myself to listen to Top 40 (which I hated) just so I could fit in.

I've come to the conclusion that people who revere their high school days, and make them the focus of How To Live their Adult Lives, probably weren't very happy as adults. Me, I've learned more about how to Live My Adult Life after the age of 30 or so, so I tend to discount those high-school "lessons."

By Blogger fillyjonk, at 8:33 AM  

Welcome back. You have definitely been missed. I am glad you have come through this spell and have gained some wisdom from it as well.

And by the way, you might not have been "cool" then, but you are the "coolest" now.

Thanks for putting our minds at rest and for your insightful post.

Oh, and Happy Independence Day!

By Blogger Carolyn, at 7:49 PM  

Hi Luv, just checkin' in, and glad to see a new post. I have been in those places too...generally in the midst of one of our long, dark winter days...but I understand. I was a geek in HS too, but found myself in university, then in marriage and now, again, as a widowed "empty-nester"...and we learn something new about ourselves from each of these phases of life, don't we?

Hugs to you for Independence Day!

By Anonymous Marg in Calgary, at 9:56 AM  

I've been missing you! Glad things are getting better...any trips to Richmond in your future? Have a good holiday, Jane

By Blogger jane, at 3:43 PM  

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Thursday, July 03, 2008  

Oh La. I hadn't meant to fall silent nor to stay so long in the blue pit of sadness. A few folk have asked, though, where I am and this is an edited version of the answer I gave them.

Where did June go?

I have been in such an unproductive place for quite a while and I am just now making the effort to pull myself out of it. Not that a little drift is a bad thing – it can relax you if you let it, and I have managed to relax a bit from time to time. But I have been a little too much of a target lately, not an arrow, and my goodness, it's so easy to just sit there and let life come at me; adapting, dodging, and ducking. And once I started feeling like life was buffeting me, it was hard to reach out to folk without sounding whiny.

I knew this spring would be demanding. Dealing with work, family and personal projects consumed me from the end of February through Memorial Day. It was a period of being at the top of my game and it was fun, hard and good. Then the oddest thing happened. I knew I was sort of tired and was thinking of taking some time off but before I could arrange it, a friend told me about her daughter suffering from bullying at school. She plays the cello and another girl crushed her finger so violently she couldn't play. She didn't tell anyone till her mother finally asked her why she wasn't playing and when it all came out, the school refused to support the daughter or to take any sort of stand about bullying. And while I know the story I heard came from a horrified mother's point of view – and I know that there could be more to the story - the fact of the girls injury, the type, and the way it was handled really bothered me. No. more than bothered, it hit me personally – some connectivity thing must have been going on. You see, I used to play the violin and injured my finger badly enough that I can't really play any more and I was reminded of my own loss when I heard about hers.

But I was also distressed about the bullying issue and society's intense emotional investment in the teen years - the absurd value people give them. Of course everyone wants to be popular and have friends and we all know there are “in” crowds and we wonder why they're “in” and we aren't when they aren't that different from us, when there is nothing identifiable that should make such a difference.

I remember when I was 15 vowing as a new year's resolution, to “Be more cool” and I listed the things I had to do to be cool. I remember one was to learn who the “cool” musicians were among the popular kids at school. I can't remember what else I thought would make me “cool” but I never did achieve that status, either. One can never “be more cool” by copying others. Coolness derives from within. Mind now, I wasn't reviled and there were no bullies that I was aware of at St. G. I just wasn't cool. I wasn't friends with the cool ones. They weren't curious about me and, honestly, when I think back on it – I wasn't curious about them.

In fact, it seems to me that the real bullies are the controlling people who insist that the “cool” kids include the “outies” in their world. I mean, what right does anyone have to insist that someone else like them? One has the right to demand courtesy and even basic respect, but nobody has the right to insist they be part of someone else's group of friends. And of course, when someone, or some group, actively torments another, the adults should step in and stop it. But expecting other people to make you feel good about yourself is the worst form of abdication of your own power. If they really are mean - true bullies - why would you even want to be part of their group, why would you EVER give your power away to such people?

The main thing for me, though, was and is this cult of high school culture that seems to be so supported by adults – venerated, almost worshiped, as some halcyon period of importance and happiness. It is, on average, only 5% of your life. It's just another passage and in some ways, it's just something to get through. Why the years from 14-18 should stand out as something more important than, say, the years between 39-43, was a math equation I could never understand. I didn't intend to stop learning, growing, developing at 18 and I haven't. At that time in my own life I couldn't give it any more than 5% of my attention. I certainly wasn't going to give it my power – especially my power for happiness – not to just 5% of my life. If things weren't the best then, oughtn't I be looking forward to when they would be? Planning for that time, setting myself in the best position to take advantage of another time? Hope has to be better than despair and I certainly had experienced the truth that every year of my life gave me more freedom, more power to choose. It still does! So there is good reason for hope.

Anyway, hearing about this child's experience and how it was being viewed and handled by both her and by the adults in her life really hit me hard. I think this girl is a neat person and I hate like hell to think that she's giving away her power. And I brooded over it way too much – that popularity thing - because I, too, have felt the sting of being left out, of being disliked by someone for no reason other than .... I'm just not her type.

But once I began looking in the gloomy corners I found gloomy corners everywhere! I began to feel the loss of my aging parents and grow weepy – odd, since they were always challenging and difficult people – but they are gone now and in their place are two rather pointless sad huddles with whom you can barely have a conversation. The sound of an old bluegrass song that I used to sing to my cute little William only reminded me that he, too, is gone forever; grown into a man now, living far away. You can see where this is heading.

The man who was keeping William's hunting dog had to go in for neck surgery and we had to take that dog – making for a pack of 5 to care for. This completely rearranged our routines, because there are now two un-neutered males and they need to be dominated in a very dog pack sort of way or they will fight. This means lots of walks with leashes and lots of focus on the dog walk rather than the leisurely amble. So of course, just at this time, my own neck and arm issues flared up from their usual annoying tingling to a weekend of flat out exhausting pain. Hearing about Greg's surgery reminded me that I should take my complaints somewhere – and I did, mind you, and the doctor and I both agree that while surgery could be an option at some time, it's excessive interference at the moment.

But the fact that the idea of surgery with 6 weeks off for recovery looked appealing to me was a sign that I really needed take some time off. And I did, but even that didn't do the trick. My week became about 2 days of rest and 7 days of Other Duties.

And then, while walking with the dogs this weekend it hit me – I was giving away my power. I was giving it to “others” to “them”, to the bullies out there who didn't deserve it. In fact, they weren't even bullies. They were just other people, living their lives, feeling their desires, flinging their arrows without any specific intent towards me at all! I was not choosing, I was only reacting to other people's choices. I wasn't creating, I was adapting. And I remembered how much I enjoy creating. And I felt that surge of energy that comes when I am choosing and I am building and making and doing and loving and I remembered that every single day I can pick, choose, make, love. And the more I do that, the more all the arrows that come flying at me miss the target. They'll keep coming, they just won't hit me. Duh. And I knew that. I just forgot.

So. Now that I have remembered, I am more rested after a day of housecleaning and one Sunday off than I was after a whole week of vacation! And there is a 3 day weekend coming up that is full of opportunity! I wonder what I'll create today?

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posted by Bess | 7:04 AM